Real Estate Radon Mitigation

Radon-Resistant New Constructions

Whether you are having a new home built yourself or are just purchasing a newly built home, you should consult with the construction team to see if your home is a radon-resistant new construction (RRNC). Because radon is so prevalent in homes and can cause great health risks, construction companies can now use specific techniques that will greatly reduce the amount of radon in your new home.

What Makes My New Home Radon-Resistant?

Building a RRNC doesn’t require a lot of fancy techniques. It just takes implementing a handful of safeguards that can ultimately make a huge difference in protecting you from the harmful effects of radon. A construction team builds a RRNC by making sure the following are in place:

  1. Residential Radon MitigationGravel layer below the foundation to allow radon to flow freely around underground and never get into your home
  2. Plastic interlayer placed on top of the gravel to use as a barrier when the concrete slab is poured to keep radon below the foundation
  3. Vertical PVC pipe that runs from the gravel layer up through the home and out of the roof to vent the radon out and away from the home
  4. Sealant to cover any cracks in the foundation floor
  5. Outlet to be able to plug in a fan, if needed, in the attic for further removal of radon

To be safe, you should always touch base with your home builder to make sure these are in place if you chose to have a radon-resistant new construction.

How Do I Know If My Home Is Radon-Resistant?

The only way to know for sure if your home is radon-resistant is to talk with your builders. Make sure they have a radon system installed, test the radon level in your home before you move in, and go over the results with you. Also, if your home is certified by NAHB, LEED, or IAP, you my have a radon-resistant home. You can always call the team at AmeriServ Radon of Iowa to help with any radon testing or mitigation, as well. We are knowledgeable, friendly, and passionate about keeping families safe from radon.

To learn more about the EPA’s recommendations for RRNC’s, visit their website.

Does Radon Affect My Pets?

The only ones who arguably spend more time in your home than you do is your pets. Many, in fact, consider pets to be an integral part of their family, just as important as a child or spouse. With that in mind, you may want to consider how radon can affect your pets. Unfortunately, the effects of radon are equally, if not more dangerous for your pets. The only way to protect your furry friends is to have your home tested for radon and mitigated right away if levels are higher than the EPA recommendation of 4 pCi/L. Continue reading Does Radon Affect My Pets?

How Does Radon Affect Real Estate Transactions?

With radon deaths at an all time high of over 20,000, radon testing and mitigation has become an integral part of real estate transactions. It affects all parties – buyers, sellers, and realtors. The best way to ensure that real estate transactions run smoothly is for all parties to understand the importance of radon testing and also their role in ensuring radon testing and mitigation is done.  Continue reading How Does Radon Affect Real Estate Transactions?

American Cancer Society Logo

What Does The American Cancer Society Say About Radon?

An excerpt from the American Cancer Society:

Being exposed to radon for a long period of time can lead to lung cancer. Radon gas in the air breaks down into tiny radioactive elements (radon progeny) that can lodge in the lining of the lungs, where they can give off radiation. This radiation can damage lung cells and eventually lead to lung cancer. Continue reading What Does The American Cancer Society Say About Radon?

4 Tips For A Successful Summer Radon Test

So you have finally decided to get your home tested for radon this summer – great start! Did you know, however, that many factors, such as open windows and doors, air conditioning units, and fans can alter the results of your test results? Before scheduling your summer radon test, keep in mind the following: Continue reading 4 Tips For A Successful Summer Radon Test

Why Radon Shouldn’t Be Ignored

It’s difficult to understand how something we can’t see or smell can pose such a risk to our health. What’s truly scary is realizing just how harmful to our health it can be, and unlike carbon monoxide, has no immediate symptoms of exposure. Yet, most of us have at least 1 carbon monoxide detector in our homes while not giving radon detection a second thought.

Radon is the number 1 cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. According to the EPA, nearly 1 in 3 homes in a seven-state region had screening levels over 4 pCi/L, the EPA’s recommended action level for radon exposure. Seven out of ten homes in Iowa have high radon levels and approximately 400 Iowans die each year from exposure to this naturally produced gas. Some scientific studies are now showing children may be even more sensitive to radon due to their higher respiration rate and their rapidly dividing cells. More and more families are also making their basements primary living spaces and bedrooms for their children.

The primary routes of potential human exposure are inhalation and ingestion. Radon in the ground, groundwater or building materials introduced to working and living spaces and disintegrates into its decay products. Inhalation exposure is typically more likely and more important than ingestion.

Dr. Peter Sandman, a risk communication expert, writes that Risk = Hazard + Outrage. With very little, if any, outrage over radon exposure our human nature perceives it as less of a risk. After all, it’s a naturally occurring gas so there’s no one to be angry with. Lack of outrage translates to lack of action.

Let’s flip things around a bit. What if your place of employment, your children’s daycare or school didn’t do radon testing. Or worse, what if they tested, levels were high and they didn’t disclose it. You’d be outraged…you’d demand ACTION. The risk would feel HUGE.

Radon mitigation or the process of “fixing” a home that has elevated radon levels is comparable to other minor home repairs and it’s invaluable simply for the peace-of-mind knowing you’re not exposing yourself or your family to this harmful radioactive gas.

FRAP Scorecard – What is it?

What is the Federal Radon Action Plan Scorecard?

radon testing in iowa, dangers of radon, radon mitigation

Since 2011, the federal government has been implementing the Federal Radon Action Plan (FRAP). In February 2016, they posted a Scorecard to report on the status of radon testing and radon mitigation activities implemented under FRAP. The scorecard records commitments based on their final status, green for complete and red for incomplete.

It also discusses the six commitments that will be continued under the National Radon Action Plan (NRAP), which took over the FRAP plan after 2016. The three green-marked commitments will either be expanded to include new strategies or simply continued and tracked. The three red-marked commitments will be addressed under current  NRAP programs.

Six Commitments Tracked by FRAP

Following are the six commitments defined by FRAP and a brief discussion of their progress.

  1. Testing tribal residences and schools for radon and educating Tribes of radon risk –The Bureau of Indian Affairs, has done radon testing on about  30% of approximately 3500 residences and 500 schools for the presence of radon. The remaining 70% are expected to be completed by 2020 and will be tracked and reported.
  2. Deducting radon testing and mitigation costs with the Health Care Savings Accounts (HSAs) – Because radon can have significant health-related effects, the IRS is currently working with the EPA to determine which expenses related to radon reduction can be deducted as medical expenses.
  3. Providing a radon mitigation cost set-aside through the VA’s Home Loan Guarantee Program – Although the VA has considered this action, it has determined that it is not feasible under current budget limitations. It will continue to prioritize work with guidelines for new construction programs and Minimum Property Requirements (MRP), which will be tracked and reported.
  4. Testing for radon in HUD public and assisted housing – While HUD currently lacks funding to perform radon tests as a part of its inspections of public and assisted housing, it is committed make this a standard part of the inspection process and will continue to explore its feasibility under NRAP.
  5. Creating a website to Increasing overall public awareness of radon in homes – Currently the EPA, HUD, USDA and HHS are collaborating on a website that works with existing campaigns to increase public awareness of the prevalence of radon and known health risks of radon in homes. The launch date of this website is as yet not determined.
  6. Engaging with the philanthropic organizations to promote public awareness of radon – The EPA, HUD and USDA is working to develop public-private partnerships to support programs to increase public awareness and reduce the presence and risks of radon in homes. So far efforts have been largely unsuccessful.

For further radon information from government agencies and programs, contact Ameriserv Radon Mitigation’s link page.

Ten Myths about Radon

Ten Myths about Radon

Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs nRadon Testing Iowa, Radon Mitigation Iowa, Myths about Radonaturally in the soil and often leaks into lower levels of homes. Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, behind smoking, and leads to 21,000 lung cancer deaths annually. Because you aren’t able to see, smell or taste radon gas, it’s important to test the air in your home and fix any problems you find. Many people don’t believe their home is in area with radon, one of the common myths about radon.

EPA’s Common Myths about Radon

Recently the EPA has reported ten common myths people have about radon, which follow.

1. Myth: Scientists are not sure that radon really is a problem.

Fact: While scientists are not certain of the exact number of deaths due to radon, the major health organizations, including the Center for Disease Control (CDC), American Medical Association (AMA), and American Lung Association all agree that radon causes thousands of otherwise preventable lung cancer deaths annually, especially among smokers.

2. Myth: Radon testing is difficult and expensive.

Fact: Testing for radon is easy and inexpensive, either by testing your home yourself or hiring a qualified radon testing professional. It has been shown that long-term testing kits, for at least 90 days, are more accurate than short-term kits.

3. Myth: It is impossible to fix a home with radon problems.

Fact: Many homes have already been successfully fixed. The cost radon problems can be fixed by qualified radon mitigation contracts for about the same cost as other home repairs.

4. Myth: Radon affects only certain types of homes.

Fact: Radon can affect any type of home: old or new, drafty or insulated, and with or without basements. The primary factors that affect radon levels in homes are local soils, construction materials, and building methods.

5. Myth: Radon occurs in only certain areas of the country.

Fact: Radon levels do tend to be higher in certain areas, but they have occurred in all 50 states. The only way to be certain your house does not contain radon is to test it.

6. Myth: If my neighbor has/doesn’t have radon, it must be the same for me.

Fact: This is not true. Radon levels do vary greatly between homes. The only way to be sure your home does not have a radon problem is to test it.

7. Myth: Everyone should also test their water for radon.

Fact: Radon can get into homes through ground water, but it is most important to test the air first. While radon gets into some homes through water, it is important to first test the air in the home for radon. If your water comes from a public water supply that uses ground water, call your water supplier. If high radon levels are found and the home has a private well, call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791 for information on testing your water.

8. Myth: Selling a home with radon problems is difficult.

Fact: As long as the radon problems have been fixed, there is no problem selling a home. As a matter of fact, the added protection could be turned into a selling point.

9. Myth: It doesn’t make sense to check my home for radon because I’ve already lived here a long time.

Fact: Even if you’ve lived with an elevated radon level for many years, correcting it now will still reduce your risk for lung cancer.

10. Myth: Short-term tests don’t help determine whether or not to correct radon problems.

Fact: Short-term tests can be used to determine whether or not to reduce a high radon levels. If the short-term test result is close to pCi/L (pico Curies per Liter), it is difficult to determine whether the radon level is above or below that average throughout the years. Ideally, the level should be 2 pCi/L or lower to be safe.

For more information, refer to the EPA’s A Citizen’s Guide to Radon.

What If My Home Needs Radon Testing or Repair?

If you’ve tested your home and had a high radon level or want a professional in radon mitigation to test and/or repair your radon problems, contact the experts at Ameriserv Radon Mitigation of Iowa.

Don’t put you and your family at an unnecessary risk for lung cancer!