Do you exercise in your basement? I do. I have been using a video workout series for the past 90 days. I have to keep in top radon technician shape. While working out in my basement every morning, I can’t help but to think of radon gas while I breathe heavily. I wonder how many people who exercise in their basements are being counterproductive to their health by exposing themselves to dangerous levels of radon?Read More
Radon Gas Blog
Tags: Radon Gas, Radon Lung Cancer, Radon fix, Radon gas basement, effects of radon, radon test, radon entry behavior, Radon Testing, radon measurement, radon mitigation cost, radon system price, radon health, lung cancer
Many people tell me that they never have heard about radon until recently. “No one talked about this years ago,” they say. “My real estate agent never told me that it might be a problem when I purchased my house!” So where did radon come from? Why is it all of the sudden a problem?
This time of year, many of us are focused on resolutions:
With new years, come new goals, resolutions and changes. Many of us choose to improve our health during the new year. We may set challenging weight loss and fitness goals. We may change our diet by decreasing junk food and eating more fruits/vegetables. During the turn of the year, the population of your local gym may double for a few months. Some of us may jog on the treadmill for so many miles that our lungs just cant take it anymore! Speaking of lungs, and speaking of health, it's time that more people think about reducing radon exposure.Read More
Are your kids exposed to radon?
If you are a parent like I am, your number one goal in life is to protect your children from harm. The day they are born, your world changes. You look into your child’s eyes and suddenly it all makes sense, this is what it is all about.
That first trip home from the hospital is the first time in years that you have driven 10 mph under the speed limit. You purchase a space age, video surveillance and audio system to watch their every move as they peacefully sleep in their crib. As they grow old enough to crawl, you install locks on every cabinet to prevent your bundle of joy from getting into anything dangerous. You check that your home is free of germs, chemicals and lead based paints. What about radon gas? Would you allow someone to smoke in a room with your child? According to the EPA, radon causes 7 times more lung cancer deaths than second hand smoke.
Has something scary occurred to you while on the job? With Halloween around the corner, I thought it would be fun to discuss scary moments on the job.
Some of us believe in the supernatural and others do not. Some have elaborate stories about ghostly encounters or others have just had to deal with an unusual client that gives them the creeps. In the radon mitigation business, we have seen many unusual situations. Radon mitigation system installers are in hundreds or even thousands of homes every year. Some homes are new and some are very old, some homes are in suburban neighborhoods and some are at the end of a long dirt road. For a radon mitigation technician, the consensus probably is that crawlspaces are the scariest places for us to work in.
Some homes are built above dirt or gravel crawlspaces. Many people live in their homes without ever even entering these dark caverns that exist below the floor. Many crawlspaces are confined spaces that you have to crawl on your belly to navigate. Most have little or no lighting and all are just a slight bit scary for even the toughest among us.
In radon mitigation, we block cancer causing radon gas from seeping through the crawlspace to the livable areas of the home. We seal the crawlspace with a thick layer of plastic to create an airtight seal. After the plastic crawlspace membrane is in place, we install the radon mitigation pipes and fan to depressurize the soil below this membrane. When working on a crawlspace job, a radon mitigation system installer can spend up to two days crawling around in these dark spaces. For me, one of my scariest on the job moments happened while working in a dark, musty crawlspace with no light except for the headlamp around my head.
It was a cold November morning outside of Chicago, IL. A fellow radon mitigation technician and myself were installing a radon mitigation system in a standard two-story house with a partial basement. We walked down to the basement and you could smell the musty odor emanating from the two-foot doorway that lead to the crawlspace below half of the house. The hinges of the small door let out a bloodcurdling squeak as we slowly opened it to see the unknown. As we shined our flashlight into the dark abyss, the wall of cobwebs was so thick that the light could barely penetrate. This was going to be one of those crawlspaces that us radon mitigators dread. This is an important part of the job so we proceeded to seal the crawlspace as we do with every radon system install of this kind. After several hours of placing a layer of plastic and sealing it to the wall I felt a tickle on the back of my head. I scratched my head thinking that it was just another wire or something dangling from the floor joists above me. I continued sealing the plastic to the foundation wall of the crawlspace when suddenly the headlamp that I was wearing ran out of batteries. This is not a good thing when it’s pitch black and you’re a five minute belly crawl to the crawlspace doorway! I yelled out to my fellow radon technician, who was working about forty feet away from me on the other side of the crawl. I knew it would take him about ten minutes to navigate the crawlspace to get me a set of batteries for my lamp so I sat there and waited in the dark. Not a minute goes by and I feel that tickle on my head again. I scratch it again assuming it was a cobweb or something. I continue to wait dark. Finally I see a flash of light, my co-worker was on his way with the batteries! He makes it about half way and I tossed him my headlamp to get it working again. He lights it up and tosses it back to me. I shined the light his way and he is looking at me. His face is pale and he looks like a deer in headlights! I look behind me, there wasn’t a ghost or anything so I look back and ask him what’s up? He immediately replies, “there’s a tarantula in your hair!!” I immediately flail around, brushing my hair with my hands. I could feel the weight of the thing as I flicked it off of my head. I shine the light down on the crawlspace plastic to be certain that it wasn’t going to crawl back and climb up my pant leg or something. I watch as the the giant spider scurries away! Who knows where it went but I'm sure it sat a watched me as I finished working the rest of the day.
Now this crawlspace hitchhiker wasn’t actually a tarantula but it was a massive spider! To this day, I do not enter a crawlspace without thinking about what might be living down there. I continue to itch, even as I type this blog, from the thought of that spider sitting in my hair while working on that crawlspace radon mitigation project.
What are some scary things that have happened to you at work? Do you have a job that is just plain scary? Comment about them, we would like to hear your scary stories.
While sitting down with the listing agent to discuss your options, reality sets in. The comps in the neighborhood are down, the furnace needs to be updated, the rooms have to be staged and your favorite cherry red accent wall needs to be repainted in a more “neutral” color. The fact is if you want your home to sell, the house has to appeal to a wide variety of prospective buyers.
Radon testing and radon mitigation are quickly becoming a common issue during real estate transactions. More and more citizens are being educated about the risks associated with radon gas. These radon-educated buyers are looking for a new home with low radon levels. Even if the buyers do not know about radon, many home inspectors offer radon testing as an option during the home inspection process and their clients choose this option often. A home with low or reduced radon levels will be more appealing to home buyers.
Homes with radon issues can be sold but homes with resolved radon issues are more sellable. Consider radon testing and radon mitigation as a part of preparing the home to be sold. I often recommend that listing agents advise their clients to test for and repair any radon issue before placing the house on the market. This can prevent any future roadblock or surprises that may occur after the home inspection. Imagine the scenario that most people fear about radon in real estate transactions:
After a seemingly endless parade of people looking through every room in your home for sometimes months on end you finally find a buyer who makes a decent offer which you have accepted. A few weeks go by and it’s time for the home inspection. Because of your diligence prior to listing the property the home inspector doesn’t find any major issues or visible problems with your house. But wait, the buyers have chosen to perform a radon test. The home inspector has found an invisible problem with your house. The radon test comes back showing that radon levels are three times what the EPA recommends. These buyers, having never heard about radon before, scour the Internet to find out that radon is the number one cause for lung cancer in non-smokers. Being health conscious people, your buyers refuse to live in a house that might cause lung cancer. The buyers are contemplating walking and canceling the contract.
Radon is not just a homowner's issue.I have been away from my radon blog for the last few weeks as I have been working in the field on a large radon mitigation project. This project is a townhouse style, low-income apartment complex. While working on this project I spent some time thinking about how great it is that the management company who hired us is taking action to protect their tenants from the dangers of radon gas.
I don’t know the details of why they decided to test for radon gas. The laws do not require landlords to test their properties for