Archive for June, 2012
Radon is a radioactive gas that is naturally created in the soil. Uranium and similar elements in the ground decay, eventually generating radon as a side effect. Homeowners may not even know that they have a radon problem in their homes, since the gas is invisible and odorless. The United States Surgeon General has issued a warning that exposure to high levels of radon gas causes lung cancer; in fact, radon is the second most common reason why people have developed lung cancer in the United States.
Mandatory Radon Abatement Systems
It has been established that Colorado has some of the highest levels of radon gas reported in the United States. Homes in Ft. Collins, in particular, are exposed to extremely high levels of radon; three out of four homes in the city contain unsafe levels of radon. Therefore, the city is trying to make it mandatory that all new construction sites install radon abatement systems to protect the public.
This simply goes to show how important it is, if you own an existing house, that you take the appropriate steps to have your home tested for radon. You can do the test yourself by obtaining a kit from either the Ft. Collins Building and Zoning department or from the Senior Center. However, SWAT Environmental can perform a professional version of the test for you if you are uncomfortable about doing your own test or wish to ensure that the results are accurate. Their experts perform the test to the standard that the Environmental Protection Agency has established. They are certified by the state of Colorado and guarantee their tests’ results.
Testing Before Radon Abatement
Whether you choose to perform the test yourself or to have a professional perform it, it will take at least 48 hours before any results can be read from it. For the most accurate possible results, the house needs to be completely closed up for the entire testing period. A canister is placed on the lowest residential level of the home and recorded with the date, time and place. The canister needs to remain undisturbed for at least 48 hours, but no longer than five days. Once the canister is closed, the date, time and place are recorded again. The canister is then sent off to the testing facility; you should have the results by the next business day.
Types of Home Radon Abatement Systems
If the testing determines that it will be necessary to remove radon gas from your home, SWAT’s radon abatement specialists can help determine the best possible way to do so. Initially, the foundation needs to be sealed up tight from all cracks and leaks. If your home has a crawl space instead of a basement, it needs to be tightly covered in plastic membrane to keep the gas from getting into the home. The radon abatement system can then be installed to release the radon that is already inside, ensuring that your family is completely safe from this cancer-causing gas.
- Fort Collins, CO, 80525 USA
email@example.com • 970-669-6544
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is the byproduct of decomposing uranium underground. Since the gas is radioactive, it can cause cancer. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that radon is second only to cigarette smoking for causing lung cancer each year in the United States. According to official reports by the city of Ft. Collins, 70 percent of the homes in this area contain potentially dangerous levels of radon. Therefore, if you have not taken steps to protect your home from high radon levels, you could be at an elevated risk for lung disease. Radon is odorless and invisible, so the only way to know if it is present is to test for it.
Testing for Radon Levels
Ft. Collins residents can obtain home radon testing kits from the Ft. Collins Senior Center or the city’s Development Review Center. The test kits are inexpensive, and considering the risks, well worth their small cost. Two types of kits are available. One is a short-term kit that takes just a few days to create the sample. The other is a long-term test kit that may provide a better indicator of the level of radon in the home. Radon levels can vary throughout the year and no particular season or event triggers the release of the gas, which may make using a long-term test kit a better option. The kits come with complete instructions and directions for mailing. Interior air quality specialists from SWAT Environmental can also visit homes or buildings and conduct extremely accurate professional tests.
Radon Levels and Selling Your Home
You do not necessarily have to test your home for radon before selling it, although many buyers will want you to do so. However, anyone who sells a home in Ft. Collins must provide the buyer with a brochure from the city that spells out the dangers of radon, how to test for it and what to do about it. The brochure is available online at the city’s website or through its Natural Resources Department.
Controlling Radon Levels
In an effort to curb air conditioning energy waste, current construction techniques create tighter buildings. While this saves energy, it also creates more indoor air pollution, including radon, since less air enters or leaves a building. The new construction codes that Ft. Collins now enforces include requirements for passive radon reduction systems. Homes and buildings built after 2005 meet these code requirements, but the city still recommends that occupants or building managers still conduct periodic radon tests to assure their safety.
Homes built before 2005 may require the installation of specialized ventilation systems to lower their radon levels. Vents below the foundation can be used to exhaust the radon rising from the soil before it enters a building. Another way to reduce radon levels is to install a plastic pipe just below the foundation line, connect it to an inline fan, then direct it out above the roof. SWAT Environmental’s radon specialists can set up the best system to protect your home from high radon levels, ensuring that your family stays safe.