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Archive for Radon Levels

Whats a Free Test Worth?

We have a free test program for home owners to test their home for their own benefit or if they are selling.  And what is that worth?

When someone is selling their home, they normally are not going to call up a Radon company and ask to have a test. If they have never tested their home, then they have no knowledge of what their levels are, so nothing to disclose. It is the buyers responsibility to ask for a Test.

Sellers may ask what the motivation is when they find out a “Free” Radon test is being conducted on the home they are selling. So, take a look at the picture of where this Radon monitor is placed, for a Free test on a realty transaction. The home inspector sent it to me to ask if this was proper. The testing protocols require a test to be at least 12 inches from any wall to avoid what is called the “plate out” affect which could bias a test on the high side. Also, testers should not be in the utility area, but rather livable space or potential livable space, which would never be in the utility area.

What is this test worth?
Wrong Test Location

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Correct Location to Test for Radon

Not sure what location in your home should be best to test for radon? Watch this video below to learn why it’s very important to test your home in the correct spot.

I have some other good videos out there also on our website. Look under the video drop down menu on the home page. When it comes to testing for Radon you need to get picky. If a test is placed in the wrong area or level of the home you might be basing a mitigation decision on wrong information. Which, means a financial decision could be based on wrong information. So, to me, placing the test in the right location, the right time is the most important part of the whole process.

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Is You’re System Working

From time to time I will get calls from customers asking if there is anything they should do regarding their Radon system. The good news about Radon systems is that if they are running and quiet, there is not much to really do for maintenance. But you still need to make sure the system is working properly.

What should be done on a semi-annual basis though is to conduct a home Radon test, just to make sure Radon levels have not crept back up somehow. Most of the time levels will still be low, but there have been rare occasions when we had to go back and address an issue that a customer was not aware of to bring levels back down. Their system was working but, a crack developed in the basement slab or a gap opened up at the cold joint. One home owner had taken his sump pump pit lid off and forgot to put it back on the pit and re-seal it.

So, remember to do a Radon test every couple of years to make sure your Radon system is doing it’s job. Chances are the test will come back low. If it doesn’t then give us a call, whether it is our system or not we can take care of it.

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Another Example of What Not to do

Radon Levels and Your System

We recently were called to take a look at a system where Radon levels were not getting below 4. This was a realty transaction system, and again the seller was opting for the least expensive system, which they got from another company. When we arrived we noticed that the home was at least 50 yrs old. The sump pit was a retro fit, and there were no drain tiles routed into the pit. Only a few holes were drilled for water to passively drain into it. Also, the fan installed was the weakest fan possible, made for virtually no resistance situations. With no drain tile and assuredly only clay under the slab (no gravel) the system was worthless being routed off the pit. Not to mention the electric was improperly installed, no bracing/clamps on the pipe in the basement, no disconnect on pipe in basement in order to get into pit, no cosmetic ring around the pipe outside and lastly the vent was not 2 feet above an upstairs window that was within 10 feet of the discharge. Did I mention that this was installed by a certified company? We gave the proper fix for this. Dismantle the system, install a new one from scratch and use a proper high vacuum fan, with possibly two suction points. Buyers are not too happy, and neither is the agent.Off pit, no bracingNo cosmetic flange - ringNot 10' away from windo

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Proper Test Placement

Every once in awhile I get a call regarding proper test placement. I do have protocols on the web site explaining the protocols. I had forgotten that we did a few experiments earlier this year with test placements. One in Particular really showed why it is so important to place the test properly. A Radon test needs to be a minimum of 20 inches above the floor, as part of the test set up. There are other items to adhere to also, but I just want to cover the height with this post. I am going to paste a test printout that shows results as the monitor sat on a stool, which was about 24 inches above the floor, and then was moved and placed onto a carpeted floor. Now in this test they would have probably still test high. But what if they were in the 1-3 Pico curie range? Having the test on the floor would have greatly skewed the results. When it comes to Radon testing, make 100% sure that the test is being placed properly.

Click on the link below to open the printout of the test.

Test on Floor

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Radon System Display

Just to let everyone know we have a working Radon System Display of an inside and outside Radon system. We built this when we opened our office/shop in 2005. You can also see video clips of system installs under our media gallery.

I was told that this might be the first working Radon system display every built. We have shared what we did with other mitigators in other parts of the country so they could do something similar.

We are always working to be the leading Radon company.

Radon System Display

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The Radon T-Shirt That’s Traveled the World

Radon Specialists of Wisconsin.

Radon Specialists of Wisconsin with Radon T-Shirt

This Radon T- Shirt has traveled the world. It has been part of an awareness and fund raising campaign. We are proud to display it at our office and will be passing it on to the next recipient. There is very little funding for Radon awareness. So, we hope this Radon T-Shirt goes on a long journey.

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Unbelievable Day

Last Wednesday was an Unbelievable Day. I was asked to go look at a Radon system that was just recently installed. The new owner did not think it looked right. So, I went to take a look. Wow! I could not believe what I saw. This system was installed by a local, “certified” company. They broke about 6 or 7 codes and Radon venting standards. The biggest thing is that the Radon fan was in the basement. When you get certified, this is about the 1st thing you learn not to do. Among other things they did not install fire collars on the pipe in the garage, they used an electrical splitter on the single outlet for the sump pump to also plug in the fan. The flashing was not installed properly. The company then told the customer that it was  a “moisture” system, so they could put the fan where ever they wanted. (even though this was for Realty and the home had tested high for Radon) Best price? Yeah, they got what they paid for. Now the system has to be completely redone. What a great service that company is doing to the public, and they are certified. Wow, what an unbelievable day.

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Did you really check out that Radon company?

Two things happened within the last week. The first was an angry customer that called me complaining about the initial price quoted, and the final bill that he received.  Turns out he was calling the wrong Radon company. He explained how he was quoted a very low price, but by the time they installed the system, and upgraded his guarantee that his bill was much higher. He got his companies mixed up because we had quoted him a system also. Our final quote was $750. The other Radon company originally quoted $540, but by the time they were done the price was $900! If he had gone with us he would have had what he wanted with no price changes. Please compare quotes item per item, then make your decision.

The second thing that happened was we had to remove an improperly installed system in Green Bay. Have you seen the cable show Holmes on Homes? Well, we consider ourselves the Radon Gurus of our area. We have fixed and replaced many Radon systems over the years. What really irks me is a certified Radon company out of Green Bay installed the system we replaced. The customer paid us $700 to remove the existing system and install a new one, and patch their roof. We were able to reuse two of the holes cut, but everything else had to be changed. This customer paid dearly in the long run. Why was the other company hired? The person seemed like a nice guy and the price was a little lower. Check out the company you are going to hire, no matter what the work might be. Get references, check out their shop/business, and go see their work. Make sure they are following local laws and codes. Does their work vehicle even say who they are? Hiring a company that does anything on the side is a big risk.

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How Much Radon Exposure Is Safe?

Image of body expiring radon from lungs.There is no debate. All major national and international organizations that have examined the health risks of radon exposure agree that it causes lung cancer. In fact, it’s the second leading cause of lung cancer, preceded only by smoking. Second hand smoke ranks third.

You’re exposed to some level of Radon, no matter where you live or work, worldwide. But every home and building is different.

Your home’s Radon level could be 1 pCi/L (pico Curies per Liter), while your neighbor’s could be 10 pCI/L.

The EPA recommends that Americans fix their homes when the radon level is 4 pCi/L or more, and that you consider doing so at levels between 2 pCi/L – 4 pCi/L, especially in the area that you sleep in.  The World Health Organization recommends a level of 2.7 pCi/L or below.

Consider that exposure at a level of 4 pCi/L for eight hours per day is the equivalent of 200 chest x-rays per year! So a level as low as 2 pCi/L is like 100 chest x-rays of radiation to your lungs.

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