Radon Gas Blog
Radon mitigation is a service, a home improvement service, an indoor environmental service and most importantly service designed to reduce lung cancer risk. A radon mitigation system should provide you with the ongoing service of reducing radon gas levels. The key word is service. According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, service is: the occupation or function of serving or the employment as a servant. A servant is one that serves others. A commodity is defined as a mass-produced unspecialized product. In a world that revolves around the almighty dollar, sometimes radon mitigation companies confuse commodity with service.
Old man winter is knocking at the door and he might be bringing radon with him. In homes that are located in cold weather environments, radon levels can be a greatly increased during colder months. This often-overlooked issue with radon gas is potentially one of radon’s greatest threats.
Tags: Radon Gas, Radon Mitigation, Radon fix, Radon Illinois, Radon Utah, RadoVent, Radon gas basement, radon test, radon entry behavior, radon contractor, Radon Crawlspace, Radon Testing, radon measurement, Radon and real estate
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 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.
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
It’s Monday night and you just got home from work. You enjoy a nice meal with your family and step down to the basement to watch your favorite TV show or sporting event. The show breaks for commercial and you notice an advertisement asking: Have you have ever been exposed to asbestos in the work place? Do you know anyone who has died from or is suffering from mesothelioma? If so you may have a personal injury case, call the mesothelioma experts at…. Now you probably don’t take much notice after that, you work and have always worked in clean modern buildings and to your knowledge you have never been exposed to asbestos. So you and your family continue on with your evening in the basement TV room, watching your favorite programs. What you may not know is that your basement TV room may be far more deadly than mesothelioma and unfortunately there aren’t many TV commercials educating you about radon gas and its risks.