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A Bigger Radon Fan? Bigger is Better Right?

A gimmick that has gone a round for a while with Radon systems and companies trying to convince you to go with them is to up-sell you a bigger Radon fan. In our society bigger seems to always be better or the thing to do. Well, with Radon systems there is only a few cases when a bigger fan is the right move. First, if there is very tight soil under a basement slab such as sand and or clay then a larger vacuum fan can be needed. Extra vacuum power can move air in a tight soil condition whereas a high air volume fan, that is made for low resistance is not the fan to use. Second, when there is a very large square footage slab, and I mean large like more than 4000 square feet it might be a good idea to use a higher air volume fan. This is mostly in commercial applications. So, if you are a home owner and you have a 1000 to 3000 square foot slab in the basement and a Radon company is trying to sell you a larger fan to give you lower Radon levels you are being scammed. Radon does not work that way. You actually don’t need to move much air to lower Radon. You just need it to move from footing to footing. A regular air volume fan will more than do the job if installed properly. Think about it. If the Radon company really cared about you, wouldn’t they install the right fan to get you the best results right away? It’s easy for them to scare you to get a “lower Radon guarantee”, when it is not necessary. We offer a guarantee of 1.0 or lower for a little more money, but it does not involve a larger fan, and to be honest in most homes it’s not needed. It includes more diagnostic testing should the first post test come in above 1.  And I tell customers that. Most homes with the right fan and piping, and gravel and or drain tile system will get below 1 Pico curie right away. Instead of offering you a fan upgrade, why not ask that they just quote you the best system with the right fan in the first place.

The Hardest Part of Running a Radon Business

The hardest part of my day.

A few days ago I went to a home in Appleton to do an estimate for Radon system. This is part of my duties while running the business. After speaking with the owner for a while he let me know the reason I was there. His wife was just diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, which had spread to her brain. They had never heard of Radon gas. After they found out about her diagnosis they tested their home, and it came in elevated. Did Radon cause her lung cancer? We don’t know. We do know she never smoked and never worked in an environment where she would have been exposed to harmful items. I do know that having elevated levels in the home did not help and that they had lived there for 17 years.

We are installing a system for them this week. I could not charge them for the system knowing what they were going to be going through. It’s sad when I run into this situation, which is about once a month. Maybe this could have been prevented?  If you have lung caner there is another organization that can help. It is called Cansar. Their web site is www.carsar.org. Take a look, donate if you can. Help us get the message out about Radon induced Lung Cancer.

We don’t know conclusively that Radon caused her lung cancer. But for the little it costs to test your home for Radon, why take the chance? In only a few short days a test can be conducted. If your levels come in low your are fine. If they come in high a simple system can be installed for around $1,000. Then you can have the piece of mind knowing your home is safe when it comes to Radon gas.

They said “Go Hire a Plumber”

This just happened last week. I knew I had to post a blog about it.

Here goes the story.

Long story short (if that’s possible). We did some testing in a neighborhood last summer/fall. Some homes tested high. We offered a discount, which we always do, if multiple systems were to be installed. No pressure, no obligation. We offer that  so people can save money and it helps our business. It makes sense. One home that tested high was a home that I personally visited, nice people. They waited awhile to decide what to do. When they decided to get a system installed they thought they called us up to schedule the system. When A1 Radon & Vacuum showed up the owner asked them what they were doing at his home. He said that he had called Radon Specialists of WI to do the install, since we tested, gave them a proposal and did the other systems with his neighbors. (he made an honest mistake and called the wrong company) They had checked us out and wanted to have us do the install. We had done all the ground work. The person who arrived from A1 then told them “Oh, Radon Specialists is so busy they subbed this job out to us”. Let me be clear. I would never, ever sub a system install out, to anyone. I would never risk my name going on their work. I would not want the liability. How someone can lie like that to get just one job and live with themselves is beyond me. They knew they had never tested this home or provided them with a proposal. They should have been honest and backed off, that’s what I would have done. How do I know this took place? The homeowner called me, he had an issue with his backup pump system. Part of the system included a new sump pump and sealing the pit. His existing backup up pump needed to be included with the new pump install. When he looked down into the pit through the clear lid he noticed that the backup float was wedged between the pipes for the main pump and backup pump. He knew it would not function properly. I told him that I was sorry, but we never installed his system, that whoever did should be called and go back to take care of it. He then said that we did, that we subbed it out. I explained that we would never do that. He must have called A1 by mistake. After he realized that he did he apologized and called A1. A1’s response was, “we are not plumbers”, “we will not come back to your home, go hire a plumber”. Really? after they just did the install for them? The owner called me back to tell me what they said. I felt sorry for them so I told them I would come over and fix it for them.

Since I was there I thought I would take a few pics to show the quality of work the home owner received.

Issues with system. Most importantly, the home owner said they did not have an electrician on site to wire the outlet. Their installer wired it himself. An electrician needs to wire a new outlet, this is the law in WI. 2. No disconnect on Radon vent pipe in basement. The pipe should be pre-cut and then reconnected with a rubber coupler. This makes it easier to get into the pit. 3. No clamps or J-hooks on piping. I could rip this system out with one hand if I wanted to. 4. They used the disc from cutting through the wall to support the top of the pipe from touching the foundation wall. 5. No Fire Collars on the penetration at the wall or ceiling. This is not a building code but a Fire Code. A code is a code. If there ever was a fire in the garage nothing would stop the fire from spreading to the dried wood on the other side of the drywall. Fire Collars can save your home and your life. 5. Virtually no pitch on the pipe in the attic and a few screws in the truss cross brace to help keep the pipe from moving. The pipe should have a proper clamp or J-hook to secure it. This is just poor quality work top to bottom. I posted pics next to their system to show you what it should have and what it should look like.

Consider what you have read and see here when considering who you should hire to install your Radon system.

 

Does Radon Cause Leukemia?

Leukemia and Radon

Based on research done by Gary G Schwartz and Marilyn G Klug and published by Future Medicine there is a strong possibility that exposure to radon increases the risk of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Check out their full paper on their research and their findings here.

Exposure to radon over a long period of time can lead to lung cancer, in fact after cigarette smoking radon exposure is the most common cause of lung cancer in the United States. Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that everyone breathes in on a daily basis. The health problems happen when the levels of radon we breathe in are at too high. This happens through cracks in floors or walls that allows radon to be released indoors (well insulated/tightly sealed homes or buildings) causing the radon levels to go up or your home was built on ground that has uranium, thorium, and radium in it.

In April of 2016, the American Cancer Society stated,”A new report from American Cancer Society researchers finds a statistically-significant, positive association between high levels of residential radon and the risk of hematologic cancer (lymphoma, myeloma, and leukemia) in women. “The overall lifetime risk of hematological cancers in the United States is about 2%, so even a 60% relative increase would still mean a relatively small absolute risk,” said Dr. Teras. “Nonetheless, radon is already associated with lung cancer, and if other studies confirm the link to blood cancers, we think it would warrant strengthened public health efforts to mitigate residential radon risks.” For more on that article click here.

With radon being a colorless, odorless gas, it is imperative that your home is tested to ensure safe levels of radon. You can check the risk of radon in your location by checking various maps like the one here –

Does-Radon-Cause-Leukemia

And this close up one of the Midwest –

Does-Radon-Cause-Leukemia

At Radon Specialists of Wisconsin, we are here to help you protect your family and your loved ones. Our contract guarantees to lower your Radon level to 1.9 pCi/L or below in most cases or 3.9 pCi/L or below on some homes, still the EPA recommended level. However, our goal with each system is to get you as close to outside air levels as possible, which is usually 0.4 to 1.0 pCi/L. We proudly serve Appleton, Fond du Lac, Oshkosh, Milwaukee, Green Bay, Madison and the surrounding areas with radon testing and radon removal. Call us today for a free radon test for homeowners.

You have got to be kidding

A potential customer called us a few days ago. He said he had a Radon system installed a few days ago. He has a home monitor. His numbers were still elevated. The company that installed it didn’t want to come back, so he called us. Take a look at this install.  I have seen old systems like this when most people were not aware of the standards. But this is brand new. 1209-bad-system 1209-bad-system-2

Again, this was just installed a few days ago. #1 fan is in the basement. #2 vent is under a window. #3 how they ran the vent is against code. You cannot block the electrical pedestal.  Installing company did not write who the installer was or their company name. I wonder why. The customer went with them because of their price. See my earlier posts regarding “price”

The system is not working because this is a duplex. The neighbors sump pit is about 7′ away on the other side of the wall, and it is not sealed. So, the system is just sucking air from the neighbors side. Who ever installed this had absolutely no idea what they were doing or how they were installing the system would affect the neighbors unit.

All I can say is that “you have got to be kidding”.

Remember Why

This time of year it is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of activities that happen. Remember to take a break and remember why this season is even here. I personally don’t like all the commercialism/materialism that is promoted. I am fine with giving gifts, but it should be about giving, sharing and families getting together to celebrate the birth of the greatest prophet, and teacher that ever lived. And then by sacrificing himself being placed on the right hand/seat of God. To remember his birth you have to honor his sacrifice.

I also would like to challenge each of you who see’s this to check out Compassion International. It is a great way to share your wealth with a kid who needs help. Once you sponsor you get to write letters, see pictures and watch them grow up. Check them out online. It is well worth it. I visited their headquarters a few years back. They are a great organization.

Also, thank you to all of you who support our business and have used us over the years. We hope there will be many more to come.xmas-tree-blog

 

Another Improperly Installed Radon System

Received a call from a concerned customer who was purchasing a home. Turns out someone wanted the cheapest system money could buy for their buyer and that is what the buyer got. 1st, the electrical does not meet code. Improperly installed radon system – a fan located outside cannot be placed on a cord, unless it is UV rated, which this one is not. I have tried to find UV rated cords for awhile because if we had one and there was an outside outlet near enough to the fan, we could save the owner money. No luck on that yet. 2nd, the piping is actually blocking the bottom right-hand side of the window. With the system in place, that window can no longer be opened. A system cannot cause an obstruction. Now, this buyer may walk on the sale. Also, the system is routed off the sump pit and they left the pedestal pump in the pit so the system is sucking air from the home which is against standards. All this when the Radon system could have been routed through the garage and roof. Good idea to go with the cheapest system? Not even close. the buyer would have paid the difference to route through the garage if they had been consulted. My advice is to get the best system possible to make your buyer happy and consult them on placement so you have no issues regarding Radon when you go to closing.

 

New VP of AARST

I just returned from our industry’s annual Radon symposium in San Diego. Wouldn’t you know it; it hardly ever rains there and 2 of the 4 days we were there it rained. But, great news. Our industry who’s main organization is AARST which stands for the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists members voted me in as their next VP. It is a great honor to work in the Radon industry with all our great members and to represent them. I will now be part of the executive committee and help shape our Radon industry even more for the years to come. My goal is to get all homes tested for Radon and then to get the homes that test high for Radon to have Radon mitigation systems installed. I believe by doing this we can help save lives from needless, preventable cases of Lung Cancer. I am humbled to have this position and hope to bring it honor.

5 Things You Should Know About Radon

radon

1. It’s the leading cause of Lung Cancer in nonsmokers.

On average Radon is the result of 21,000 deaths each year.

2. It can be found almost everywhere in Wisconsin.

Radon is found in 5-10% of the homes in Wisconsin above the US EPA guideline of 4 pCi/L.

3. Radon is almost undetectable.

Radon is Tasteless, Odorless and Colorless.

4. Free Radon Tests are the only way to detect Radon in homes.

Click Here for More information on Radon Tests

5. Almost half of Wisconsin homes have Radon levels above the recommended safe level

The same glaciers that formed the great lakes is likely to be the reason for radon levels being so high. The Glacial Deposits left in most of the state is the main source for Radon.

CALL FOR YOUR FREE TEST TODAY!

Milwaukee Area – 888-826-2983
Madison & NE WI Area – 888-919-1817

www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/radon/index.htm
www.radonisreal.org
wi-dhs.maps.arcgis.com
wi-radon.info

New Pics of Poor Radon Systems

From time to time home inspectors will share pics of systems they see out there. Sometimes they will have questions about a system or just forward them to let me know what is going on out there in the Radon world. The first two pics are of Poor Radon Systems that was just installed by a competitor. Look at how the sump pump pipe was left. That check valve is ready to burst at any moment of use. The system has no clamps on it to keep it sturdy and no rubber coupling on it for a quick disconnect. The 2nd pic shows how the electrical work was left by them. No explanation needed on that one. I always get asked if we will match their price. I simply say, “no”. Their work is so poor that I would never match their price. Not with the quality of work we do. This is why I say being certified is just the beginning of starting a Radon business. Check out their work, references, web site before you hire. Don’t let price be the deciding factor. We lost a job to them today because of price. I told the customer good luck, your going to get what you paid for.

The last pic is of an older system. I just don’t understand what they were trying to do on this one. It’s a good example of how not to install a Radon system.  This is why I recommend to all customers, no matter what they are having done to their home, to get educated on how it should be done properly. Know what questions to ask, get it in writing and don’t pay till you are satisfied. These systems are to help protect you and your family. A Poor Radon System can actually do the opposite. It’s just not worth the risk to save a few dollars.

Poor Install - A1 Poor Install 2 - A1 What were they thinking