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Always Check Your Sump Pump

Always check your sump pump for proper function. Especially when snow starts to melt and the spring rains come. This is why we install clear lids.

Here are some very important reminders when it comes to sump pumps. 1, always remove your small extension hose in the late fall. If you do not any water in the hose can quickly freeze and block any more water that may need to be pumped out. Even though we may have a thaw period or some rain. Many pumps will activate in the winter and if the hose is froze you will get water in your basement. The rubber coupler, or check valve can come off because of the back pressure created with the frozen hose. Just leave the hose off or put on a minimum 3 inch solid pipe for winter months.  2, make sure you have a way of checking the water level in your pit. We use clear lids so you can see in the pit. I don’t mean lift up the float and activate the pump, but just be able to check the water level in the pump. Especially when there is rain, or a winter thaw.  If the water rose enough to activate the pump and it is running without water being taken out you probably have a frozen pipe outside.

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Hire a Radon Company that knows the Codes

Hire a Radon company that knows the codes.

Just saw this system. Look at the two pics. The installing company did not know what the building codes are. We are not allowed to cut out the bottom of a joist. It takes away the structural integrity of the joist. The way it has to be repaired is to place a steel plate on both sides of the joist and then bolt them onto it. The will no longer allow space for the Radon vent. The owners, who are selling the home found this out upon the home inspection. The piping on the other side is now behind finished space, which means they have to cut that apart and repair it also to remove the piping. Then a new Radon vent has to be installed from scratch. All because the other company did not know what the codes were. This comes down to proper training when getting certified to install Radon systems. That is the beginning. From there one has to be trained on what they can and can not cut through. Do your research. Hire a company that has proper training. We at Radon Specialists of Wisconsin have. In addition to being certified for Radon I am also a licensed builder. We know the codes.

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Home buyers Beware of What Radon System You are Getting

Home buyer’s Beware!

This has happened more that past month or so, so I thought I should address it. The Realty market is hot, and contingencies are being thrown out the window, Radon testing being one of them. For those buyers that do get a test please, please stipulate in the offer what Radon company you want to install the system if the Radon test should come in elevated. And just a side note, my wife is a Realty Agent. Like all agents she works on commission. Most agents out there I believe do a good job. What the listing agent is dealing with, and they work for the seller, is someone who doesn’t want to have to pay for any repairs, especially a Radon system. They are getting no benefit out of it, except they will be able to sell the home. I have always told sellers to get a good system so the buyer is happy with what they end up with. Most sellers don’t do that. We lost a job recently, well it happens all the time, based strictly on price. The other company gave a very low price, which means corners will be cut as much as possible. To do it right and make a profit you can’t possibly offer the cheapest price. I wish I could. A good, fair price can be offered based on volume. Anyway, a few weeks ago a seller hired a company who offered a much lower price. Once the buyer saw what was done, they told their agent I am not going to buy the house with the way the Radon system was installed. Long story short we were called to rip out the first system and install a new one from scratch. We were able to use the existing fan though. I guess I should have titled this differently because the seller had to pay for a Radon System twice, and almost lost the sale of the home. Ask your agent to be able to chose the Radon Company, and don’t let the sellers counter out of it. If they counter and you accept be prepared to get the lowest quality system money can buy.

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Test for Radon Gas with New Home Purchase

Buying a new home? Make sure to test for Radon. Don’t get stuck with a home that has high Radon and then end up paying for the whole system.

With the hot realty market it has really been a sellers advantage. Multiple offers come in on new home, some higher than asking price and contingencies are being tossed out the window. Radon testing being one of them. Buyers don’t want to lose out on a home where there are competing offers. This last year we have seen Radon testing go down quite a bit because of this. I get this, but if you have recently purchased a home and didn’t ask for a Radon test remember to get one after you move in. It is easy to forget to test for Radon Gas after you move in. Unpacking, decorating the home. It’s all busy work and then your beat at the end of the day. Once your settled in get a Radon test. Don’t be the one to find out you have high Radon Gas ten years from now when you go to sell your home. Once the damage is done from Radon Gas it is irreversible. Radon Gas has causes Lung Cancer, Leukemia and has been linked to Skin Cancer. If people could see or smell Radon Gas it would be easy to remember. But we humans cannot sense it. Put a post it on your fridge to remind yourself to get the Radon test. It could save a life.

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Great Team for Wisconsin Radon

This is our great team.

2017 is almost at an end. We celebrated last night with our employees and a few friends. I don’t feel we have the best employees who work in Radon, I know we do. Every single one always wants to do the right thing, be upfront and keep our name spotless. Not one of them would ever do anything to compromise that. From our team to all our past, and current customers we want to thank you for supporting our business. And we hope that the upcoming year will be a great one for all of us!

Great Team

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Army Reserve Radon Systems

This is the Army reserve center in Neenah. Just down the street from our shop/office.

When the Army comes calling, you say “yes sir!”.  We recently had the pleasure of working for the Army and installed five active radon systems at the Army Reserve Center in Neenah. After coring through 3 ft. thick walls my guys were tired. But we finished the job. We are letting the active radon systems work for a few days then performing post mitigation Radon tests to confirm new levels. These pictures just show the dedication and skill that my installers have. I truly believe that we are the best Radon company in the country.

best radon company Appleton

 

 

 

 

 

best radon company Appleton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

best radon company Appleton

 

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Radon Fans Have to be Mounted Vertically

Just wanted to share a picture of a radon system installed in our area, by a certified radon company. Radon fans have to be mounted vertically. Otherwise, the inside fills up with water, which will end the Radon fans life early. Piping on the outside also needs to be vertical on a Radon system. A foot or two or horizontal piping is OK if really needed, but for the most part, it should go vertically up the side of the home. If the Radon vent pipe is run horizontally outside for a long run it too will fill up with water and become ice in the winter. By looking at the picture you can see that the area in the basement had to be finished off where they wanted to run the pipe. I get running it next to the chimney for aesthetics, but the method is incorrect. Sometimes tough choices have to be made. They could have run it vertically, then painted it to match. Once a Radon system is painted to match siding they blend in very well.

radon fans - certified radon company Wisconsin

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A Bigger Radon Fan? Bigger is Better Right?

A gimmick that has gone around 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 radon 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 best 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 homeowner and you have a 1000 to 3000 square foot slab in the basement and a Radon company is trying to sell you a bigger radon 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 bigger radon 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.

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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 a 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 radon levels in the home did not help and that they had lived there for 17 years.

We are installing a radon 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 cancer, there is another organization that can help. It is called Cansar. Their website 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, you are fine. If they come in high, a simple radon system can be installed for around $1,000. Then you can have the peace of mind knowing your home is safe when it comes to Radon gas.

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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 radon testing in a neighborhood last summer/fall. Some homes tested high for radon. We offered a discount, which we always do if multiple radon systems are 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. The owner said that he had called Radon Specialists of WI to do the radon system install, since we tested, gave them a proposal and did the other radon systems with his neighbors (he made an honest mistake and called the wrong company). The owners had checked us out and wanted to have us do the install. We had done all the groundwork. 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 radon 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.

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 radon 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 homeowner received.

Issues with the radon system.

  1. Most importantly, the homeowner 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 the 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 radon 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.
  6. 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 radon system to show you what it should have and what it should look like.

Consider what you have read and seen here when considering who you should hire to install your Radon system.radon systems Appletonradon systems Madison radon systems Green Bayradon systems Oshkoshradon systems Milwaukeeradon systems Wausauradon systems Neenah

 

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