Radon Gas Blog

Scary moments doing radon mitigation work.

Posted by Travis Jewell on Fri, Oct 28, 2011 @ 01:19 PM

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.

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Tags: Radon Gas, Radon Mitigation, Radon Lung Cancer, Radon fix, Radon Illinois, Radon Utah, effects of radon, radon entry behavior, radon contractor, Radon Crawlspace

A Quick Guide to Selecting a Radon Contractor

Posted by Travis Jewell on Tue, Sep 13, 2011 @ 01:49 PM

Radon testing and radon mitigation are highly specialized trades. Selecting the right radon contractor can possibly be a life or death decision. Radon gas is the second leading cause for lung cancer as it kills more than 20,000 people annually. High levels of radon can occur anywhere in the United States. Because radon is a serious and common issue, selecting the appropriate contractor is serious business. Here are six basic questions to help you select a good radon contractor.


6 Questions to ask yourself when selecting a radon contractor:


1.    Is the radon contractor licensed? There is not a national license for the radon trades. A client looking for a quality contractor should contact their State Radon Office to find out if there is a State specific radon contractors license. Many states do not have licensing programs for radon. If you live in one of these states, look to hire a radon contractor who is certified either by the National Environmental Health Association’s Radon Proficiency Program or by the National Radon Safety Board’s Certification Program.  It is also wise to ask if the installer/employee is licensed or certified. The company owner may have documents but the installers may be unskilled or inexperienced.
2.     Are they insured? Radon is risky business and radon mitigation systems sometimes require major alterations to the home. Make certain to check your contractor’s insurance certificate to be sure it has proper coverage and is up to date.
3.     What was your impression? Impressions are important and gut feelings can be a strong indicator. Did the contractor give you the impression that they truly care about what they do for a living? Were they presentable and respectful? In many cases if you had a bad first impression, you will likely have a bad last impression. A person’s demeanor can say a lot about the quality of their work.
4.     Did you get a firm price? Whenever dealing with any contractor it is important to agree to a firm price or written proposal before proceeding. Make sure the radon contractor provides a detailed scope of work and a contract before starting work. Do not pay money up front without a signed contract. If a radon contractor cannot provide a firm price to install a radon mitigation system it may indicate a lack of experience. An experienced radon contractor should know exactly the cost to install a radon mitigation system or perform a radon test.
5.     Do they provide a guarantee? The EPA recommends that radon levels be lowered below 4 picocuries per liter. Most quality radon mitigation contractors will provide a written guarantee of performance. Some contractors will have stronger warranties than others. A quality radon mitigation contractor should be able to install the radon remediation system with confidence that the radon levels will be lessened. If a contractor refuses to provide a performance warranty it may indicate a lack of quality and experience.
6.     Do they have references? Any good contractor will be more than willing to provide references to prospective clients. If a contractor side steps when you ask for references you may have to wonder what they are hiding. A past customer can provide you with details of how their experience with the contractor was. Ask the reference about cleanliness, quality, punctuality and overall satisfaction. Ask them if they have ever had any trouble contacting the contractor for service work after the job was completed. Checking references can be the strongest indicator of good versus bad radon contractors.

3 Final points when selecting a radon contractor:

•    Decisions shouldn’t always come down to price. A lower price can indicate low paid or unlicensed technicians and low quality parts. Too high of a price can indicate a lack of experience to quote correctly.
•    Radon gas is deadly. If you hire a radon measurement contractor who performs an incorrect test you could be living under false impressions. If you hire a bad radon mitigation contractor you may have a low quality radon system installed that doesn’t keep radon levels at bay.
•    It is important to question your radon contractor but if they are questionable people, you may want to keep shopping.

There are hundreds of good radon contractors throughout the country but as in every trade there are some bad ones. Recently a contractor in Colorado lost their license through falsifying radon test data and intimidating clients [ Bad Radon Contractor Colorado Story].  Don’t allow yourself to be subjected to low quality radon contractors, do you homework and you will find a contractor who will handle your radon testing or mitigation project with professionalism.

If you need help finding a quality radon contractor please feel free to contact us RadoVent™ Radon Mitigation Services.
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Tags: Radon Gas, Radon Mitigation, Radon Lung Cancer, Radon fix, Radon Illinois, Radon Utah, RadoVent, radon system, radon test, radon contractor, radon measurement, radon quote

Rental Properties and Radon Gas. Protect your Tenants.

Posted by Travis Jewell on Wed, Aug 17, 2011 @ 03:38 PM

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
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Tags: Radon Gas, Radon Mitigation, Radon fix, Radon Illinois, Radon Utah, RadoVent, Radon gas basement, effects of radon, radon system, radon vent, radon entry behavior, Radon Testing

Passive radon systems. For better or for worse?

Posted by Travis Jewell on Fri, Jun 24, 2011 @ 04:36 PM

     Radon resistant new construction (RRNC) is quickly becoming a hot topic for new homes and buildings. Radon resistant new construction techniques control radon gas entry through the installation of a passive radon mitigation system. When installed correctly by a licensed radon contractor, passive radon systems can help to prevent radon gas entry without the use of a radon vent fan. These systems are more economical for consumers as the cost to install is typically less than retrofit applications and compared to active radon systems the electrical and heat energy savings are great. Many states, municipalities, contractors and architects are adopting radon resistant new construction codes and policies that are the correct procedure.

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Tags: Radon Gas, Radon Mitigation, Radon Lung Cancer, Radon fix, Radon Illinois, Radon Utah, RadoVent, Radon gas basement, effects of radon, radon system, radon attic system, radon vent

High radon levels? Should I Move?

Posted by Travis Jewell on Thu, Jun 16, 2011 @ 10:26 AM

It's a peaceful day in suburbia the sky is blue and the birds are chirping while the kids are playing in the yard. Enjoying the view you think how grateful you are of your beautiful new home. You notice the postman delivering the mail to your neighbors and make your way to the street to greet him. The postman hands you an envelope from the radon testing company, the results are in and the radon levels are surprisingly high! You look back at your new home and suddenly fear takes over, “how can this be?” “What do I do now?” “Do I have to move?”

You don’t have to move and even if you did, high radon levels can be found in any home. You can easily correct the problem through the installation of a radon mitigation system. Within 24 hours of a system installation, radon levels can be reduced by up to 99%. These soil gas ventilation systems can be hidden within the house and won't break the bank.

What’s the problem with radon?

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Tags: Radon Gas, Radon Mitigation, Radon Lung Cancer, Radon fix, Radon Illinois, Radon Utah, RadoVent, Radon gas basement, effects of radon, radon system, radon vent, radon entry behavior, Radon Testing

7 benefits of radon systems installed through the attic

Posted by Travis Jewell on Tue, May 31, 2011 @ 04:29 PM

Radon Mitigation Systems can be installed through the exterior of the house or hidden within attic. Both methods are effective to reduce radon gas levels in homes. Exterior installed radon systems are most common across the United States but there are several benefits to the attic installation.

Seven benefits of radon systems installed the the attic:


  1. Hidden radon system components. Rather than having the fan and vent pipes installed on the side of the house, the only visible exterior component is the vent stack rising through the roof similar to an existing plumbing stack.
  2. Radon fans are better protected from the elements. Radon systems create condensation within the suction and exhaust pipes. In cold environments, this condensation can freeze and effect the life of the radon vent fan. Radon fans inside attic spaces are better protected from the freeze and thaw cycle.
  3. Radon fans and electrical components are out of reach. When installed through the attic space, the radon fan and its electrical components are located within the attic. This location is more innaccessible to children who may turn the fan off or play with the system components.
  4. Quieter radon systems. Although radon systems installed through the exterior are quiet, installing the fan inside attic space can prevent all noticable system noise.
  5. System performance indication. Most attic installations are routed through the garage. This method allows the installer to place the system performance gauge right in the garage. Every time you enter your garage you can make certain that your radon system is on and pulling vacuum.
  6. Radon in real-estate. Many people with radon systems are concerned about the effect of the resale value of their home. A radon system installed through the attic is more appealing to potential buyers as it is not a noticable component on the outside of the house.
  7. Radon reintrainment. Having the vent stack opening above the roof of the house makes it possible for the radon contractor to get the radon system exhaust further away from doors, windows and other openings. This will minimize the possibility of radon re-entry into the home.
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Tags: Radon Mitigation, Radon fix, Radon Illinois, Radon Utah, RadoVent, radon system, radon attic system, radon vent

What’s that smell? It’s not radon gas.

Posted by Travis Jewell on Tue, May 17, 2011 @ 03:50 PM

     If there is a strange smell in your basement it may be musty odors from a moisture problem, a leaky gas pipe from a combustion appliance or just your teenagers gym socks. It is not radon gas. Radon gas is odorless, colorless, tasteless and radioactive.

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Tags: Radon Gas, Radon Mitigation, Radon Lung Cancer, Radon fix, Radon Illinois, Radon Utah, RadoVent, Radon gas basement, effects of radon, radon entry behavior, Radon Testing