Category Archives: Radon Mitigation

Cold Weather is the Perfect Time to Test Your Home for Radon

Iowans are no strangers to winterizing their homes. Inspecting your roof, cleaning your gutters, pruning your trees, and improving insulation are great ways to prepare your property for the coldest months of the year. This year, add calling radon testing professionals to your winterizing list to ensure your home is the safe and comfortable environment your family deserves. 

What is Radon?

Radon is an inert, naturally occurring gas that is colorless and odorless. Trace amounts of radon constantly surround you in the atmosphere, but too much radon gas can pose severe threats to your health. Most radon exposure occurs inside buildings, including places like your home, workplace, or school. 

Why is Testing Important?

residemtial radon testing in winter

Over time, exposure to high levels of radon can cause lung cancer. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.” There are an estimated 21,000 radon-related lung cancer deaths annually in the United States. In fact, the EPA notes that “only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths.” 

You go to great lengths to keep your family safe. You weigh safety features in cars before making purchasing decisions. You make healthy meals to nourish your loved ones. Making sure your home has safe levels of radon is one more way to encourage health and safety for your family. 

Why Test for Radon in the Winter?

There’s never a bad time to test your home, business, or school for radon. However, experts recommend testing your home during the colder months. When the temperature drops outside, you shut your windows and doors to maintain warmth in your home. One way many Iowans prepare their homes for winter is to install weather stripping. While weather stripping is a great way to keep heat in your home, it also traps radon gas. With radon trapped in your home, it can accumulate to unsafe levels. 

The longer your home, school, or business remains shut, the higher the levels of radon will be. Prolonged exposure can be a health hazard, so testing to determine how much radon you and your loved ones are exposed to is crucial to maintaining safety. 

Radon Mitigation Systems and Keeping Your Home Safe

When you need radon testing, you need a company you can count on for accurate results. Not only can AmeriServi provide you with accurate test results, but we also offer solutions to help you lower radon levels if your home, school, or business is found to be unsafe. We have years of experience installing and servicing radon mitigation systems to help keep Iowa families safe and healthy. 

As you prepare to gather with family and friends during the holiday season this year, take the time to test your home for radon. AmeriServ offers convenient, affordable testing to give you peace of mind that your loved ones are safe in your home. Ready to get started? Give us a call today, or complete our online contact form and a representative will reach out to you soon.

Why Ameriserv is One of the Best Radon Mitigation Companies in Iowa

Why Ameriserv is One of the Best Radon Mitigation Companies in Iowa

At Ameriserv Radon Mitigation of Iowa, we are experts in radon detection, testing and mitigation for your home or business. We have over 75 years of combined construction experience and our mitigation specialists are professionally trained, certified and insured.

We are a company that stands behind our work and offers a 10 year warranty on radon mitigation systems, as well as free 2 year follow-up tests to ensure that the radon levels are still within a low range.

Our reputation for great customer service is evident in our reviews. We work hard to ensure that each system is designed to fit your needs.

We are so confident that we are one of the best radon mitigation companies in Iowa, that we provide a 200% satisfaction guarantee. What that means for you is that if we are not able to reduce the radon level below 4.0 pCi/L, we will not only refund the cost of mitigation, but also pay for another licensed mitigation company of your choice to fix the issue.

Amerserv takes pride in being members of DMAAR (Des Moines Area Association of Realtors), Central Iowa Board of Realtors, The Better Business Bureau (BBB), Angie’s List, and The American Association of Radon Scientists and Technicians (ARRST).

Contact us today for a free quote and find how we can help you make your home and business safe.

How Often Should My Home Be Tested For Radon?

How Often Should My Home Be Tested For Radon?

Radon gas is both colorless and odorless, which means that there is no way to tell if there are high levels inside your home without testing for it.  The danger of not knowing is running the risk of being exposed to elevated levels of radon for an extended amount of time, which can lead to lung cancer.

Change of Seasons

The change of seasons can affect the level of radon in your home.  If you previously tested your home in the spring or summer, consider testing it in the fall or winter.  Changes in temperature, as well as the opening and closing of windows and doors, can change the level of radon in your home.  Testing for radon in different seasons can help to determine if there are higher levels at different times.

Remodeling or Changes to Your Home

Changes to your home, such as remodeling your basement, installing new windows or getting a new roof are all projects that could affect how much radon is in your home.  These home improvement projects all change the amount of ventilation, which can alter the amount of radon that is trapped inside.

Living Condition Changes

If you have recently decided to utilize your basement as a bedroom or family room, now is the time to get a radon test.  Elevated radon levels can be dangerous and have a big impact on those that spend time in the basement, including pets.  Make sure that everyone is safe by having your home tested.

After Mitigation

Once a mitigation system has been installed in your home, it is important to have a radon test conducted to ensure that the system is working properly.  It’s also necessary to continue to have tests done at least every two years to continue to monitor that things are working as they should.

Test Every Two Years

The EPA recommends testing your home every two years, regardless of whether you have a mitigation system installed. AmeriServ Radon Mitigation of Iowa provides FREE 2 year follow up radon tests. Contact us today to schedule your initial test or free follow up test!

Does Radon Affect My Pets?

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.

Signs Radon Has Harmed My Pets

When you think about where your pets spend time in your home, there really is no limit. You may not live your life in your cold, wet basement or crawlspace, but your dog or cat may find that to be the perfect hiding spot. They aren’t the only ones hiding there, though. Radon emissions come from the ground, so while your cat is hanging out in the basement, it is very susceptible to breathing in the gas. Humans often don’t notice the effects of radon right away, some even not seeing signs for upwards of thirty years. However, our pets’ lungs are much smaller and have less capacity to handle harmful gases such as radon. If you have multiple pets at home that are experiencing the same symptoms, radon could be the culprit. In that case, take them to the vet right away.

Protect Your Pets from Radon

Many pet owners will go to great lengths to ensure their pets have the best life possible: giving them a warm home, feeding them pricey food, taking them to spas, and having surgeries done as needed. Protecting your pet from radon should be on this list, as well. The last thing you want is to take your pets to the vet only to find out that one or more has lung cancer that could have been prevented. Safeguarding your family and your pets from radon is as easy as making a phone call to AmeriServ Radon of Iowa. We will come to your home for radon testing, and if your home has dangerous radon levels, we will install a mitigation system.

How Does Radon Affect Real Estate Transactions?

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. 

Radon and Home Buyers

Home Buyers And Sellers Guide To Radon
Click above to check out the EPA’s revised edition of “Home Buyers’ And Sellers’ Guide To Radon.”

If you are buying a home, you shouldn’t assume that radon mitigation has already been complete. It is your job to ensure that you will be safe in the home by requesting radon testing. It doesn’t matter if the home is 5 years old or 50 years old. Radon should be tested in all homes every 2 years. Also, radon testing isn’t part of many standard home inspections. You will have to request this as an additional service. Keep in mind that radon is the leading cause for lung cancer, so just as you want to make sure the home you are buying is structurally sound, you also want to make sure the inside is livable. If the radon test shows a level higher than 4  pCi/L, you will want to negotiate with the seller to have a radon mitigation system installed.

Radon and Selling Your Home

If you are getting ready to sell your home, avoid delays during the selling process by having it tested before any real estate transactions begin. Be mindful, though, that you will be required to disclose the results with your realtor or the buyer if you are selling your home yourself. If the level is above 4 pCi/L, you will need to get a radon mitigation system installed. Although it is best to take care of the testing and mitigation (if needed) before putting your house on the market, the buyer still has the right to get confirmatory testing done as part of home inspection.

Radon and Realtors

As a realtor, it is your responsibility to advocate for your client by staying educated about radon and the importance of radon testing. You may have home buyers asking you about the dangers of radon, acceptable radon levels, or even how to go about radon testing. On the other side of the transaction, if a seller has already received radon results, they may have questions about disclosing that information.

At AmeriServ Radon Mitigation of Iowa, we offer a realtor relations program to help realtors navigate the complex issue of radon testing and real estate transactions. When you partner with us, we can provide informational materials and presentations to equip you with all of the information you need to be successful. Experience all of these benefits and more, and become an AmeriServ Realtor Relations Partner today!

American Cancer Society Logo

What Does The American Cancer Society Say About Radon?

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.

Cigarette smoking is by far the most common cause of lung cancer in the United States, but radon is the second leading cause. Scientists estimate that about 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year are related to radon.

Exposure to the combination of radon gas and cigarette smoke creates a greater risk for lung cancer than either factor alone. Most radon-related lung cancers develop in smokers. However, radon is also thought to cause a significant number of lung cancer deaths among non-smokers in the United States each year.

Some studies have suggested that radon exposure may be linked to other types of cancer as well, such as childhood leukemia. But the evidence for such links has been mixed and not nearly as strong as it is for lung cancer.

To read the full article – Click here.

4 Tips For A Successful Summer Radon Test

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:

1.    Keep a closed house.

With the blistering summer temperatures, many of us choose not to leave the windows and doors open anyway, but it is important to note that you must shut all windows and doors  at least 12 hours before the test begins and keep them shut throughout the test. You can still use your doors to enter and leave your house, of course, but otherwise keep them closed.

2.    Use central air conditioning.

Feel free to use central air conditioning to keep your house cool during radon testing. Be careful, though, when using window and wall air conditioning units, as no air from the outside should enter the house. If you are able, switch the setting so the units are simply recirculating the air inside the house, rather than bringing in additional outside air.

3.    Control indoor fans.

Keeping cool in the summer can be a chore, and although it can be tempting to run fans on full blast throughout the house, control the ones that are near the radon testing unit, by redirecting the airflow or simply turning the fan nearest to the testing unit on low. These units can be extremely sensitive and constant blowing air can throw off the test results.

4.    Plan ahead – take a vacation.

For some families, summer is the best option for radon testing, as one or more parent may be home from work. However,  children entering and leaving the house can make for faulty test results.  To avoid the heavy traffic, consider planning a vacation during your radon testing week. Your family will enjoy the time away and your radon technician will be able to conduct the test efficiently and effectively.

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.