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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally 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.
In 2011 the federal government started a program to track the progress of the EPA and its partners. Their goal was to reduce radon levels in American homes across the nation. The Federal Radon Action Plan (FRAP) Scorecard was created to track which goals have been completed by February of 2016. Many of these goals included educating the public about the dangers of radon, especially in high risk areas such as Iowa. The EPA and its partners also worked with schools, daycare facilities, hospitals, and other public buildings to test for radon and mitigate if necessary.
As of February 2016 the Scorecard has been posted with the final results. The majority of their goals were completed. Each of these goals will help reduce radon levels in America and decrease future issues. The end goal is to completely erase radon gas levels, and the EPA is working furiously towards that goal.
The New Plan – National Radon Action Plan
The updated program (NRAP) aims to reduce radon in five million American homes and save 3,200 lives annually in the process. By 2020 they want to have this plan completely implemented. The EPA is partnering with the American Lung Association to fight avoidable lung cancer cases caused by radon.
Ameriserv wants to help fight high radon gas levels in America. We offer radon testing and radon mitigation services to Iowa homes and businesses. Contact us today to learn more about radon and what you can do to fight back, too. Not only will you be protecting yourself from the harms of radon gas, you will be helping the future generations. Give us a call!
If Having Children in the Home doesn’t Motivate Radon Testing, What Will?
The Dangers of Radon Gas
If your child was in danger and you could remove that danger in order to protect them, would you? A study found that some parents may not, especially in the case of radon. It has been found that many homes have or will fall victim to radon gas. Radon is a radioactive gas that is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers–this includes children. It is the second leading cause for smokers. The study conducted radon and secondhand smoke tests in 550 homes. At the same time, parents were asked if they were concerned about the long term affects of radon gas or secondhand smoke on their children. The study found that “having children present in the home [didn’t] appear to impact parents’ lung cancer worry.”
Spreading Radon Awareness
So, how can we get people to understand the very real danger of radon? We believe that awareness and education could be a step in the right direction. Many people do not even know what radon is or what it can cause. Radon is a gas that is created through the natural breakdown of uranium in the earth. It rises through the soil and into homes through small basement or foundation cracks.
When radon is outside in the air it is virtually harmless, but in a small, enclosed space such as a home, it can lead to a variety of health problems. This includes wheezing, coughing, lung infections, and even lung cancer. Luckily, radon gas must be present for a long time to cause these issues, so that is why it is so important to regularly have your home tested for radon gas. Contact us today to learn more about radon testing and radon mitigation–the solution for high levels of radon in your home.
Kids Work on a Bill for Radon Testing & Mitigation in Schools
It’s great to know that kids get it. Radon is dangerous, and they are trying to do something about it. The State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council help to champion a bill to make sure that Iowa schools are tested for radon levels. This group of students researched and learned about the effects of radon which is a carcinogenic gas that occurs in Iowa in levels you don’t see just about anywhere else in the United States. Every single one of the counties in Iowa are at an elevated risk of radon exposure.
Radon has been proven to be a problem in schools due to the way they are constructed. With students and teachers spending hours and hours a day in the school buildings, if radon is present they are in deep trouble. Sadly the bill did not advance even though the research showed the high levels of radon in Iowa and the danger the schools are in. As always, cost was a concern.
What Else can we do to Protect our Kids from Radon Exposure?
So make sure you are educating your children. The more people talk about radon and it’s dangers, especially to our children in their schools, the sooner it will get done. Also, contact your local government representatives and push for this type of legislation to be approved. Our kids tried to stand up for other kids in our state. Now we need to as well! If you have questions about radon, the dangers of radon, or if you want to have radon testing and mitigation for your school contact the team at Ameriserv Radon. We do radon testing and mitigation in schools. We are here for you Iowa!
Most homeowners know that testing for radon is essential, but aren’t sure when or how often it should be done. Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless, and radioactive gas that occurs naturally from the decomposition of uranium in the soil.
If your home or business has a high enough levels of radon it may cause health issues such as wheezing, cough, lung infections, or even lung cancer. Because Iowa is known to have the highest average levels of radon in the country, it’s best to know the facts about radon testing.
If you have never had your home or business tested for radon, you should try to get a test as soon as possible. Luckily, radon tests are inexpensive. If your home or business is found to have low levels, which are not dangerous, you will only have to test every few years. If your building is found to have dangerous levels (4.0 pCi/L) we here at Ameriserv Radon Mitigation of Iowa can help.
Radon Solutions for Iowa
Mitigation is a way to fix high levels of radon in a building. Radon gets trapped in homes when it enters through cracks in the foundation. A mitigation system expels radon by pushing it outside with a series of vents and fans. It also prevents high levels of radon in the future. We can also install mitigation systems in new construction, as well. This will prevent radon altogether.
Contact us here at Ameriserv today for all your radon testing and mitigation needs. Our service area covers a large part of Iowa, including Des Moines, Ankeny, Ames, and Carroll. You can also learn more about radon here.
Through the collaboration of a variety of groups including the American Lung Association, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Health and Human Services, Cancer Survivors Against Radon, and many others, the Radon Action Plan has been created. This plan was created to be a strategy for radon education and prevention.
Radon is a radioactive gas that is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. It is created through the decomposition of uranium that occurs naturally in the soil. The gas often seeps through cracks in your business or home’s foundation and can cause a variety of health issues if left to its own devices. The most serious of which being lung cancer. Radon is known to take the lives of 21,000 people every year. The Nation Radon Action Plan wants to drastically reduce and hopes to eliminate those numbers altogether.
Radon Risks and Prevention
Radon is known to be the second leading cause of lung cancer, right behind smoking. For nonsmokers it is the number one cause of lung cancer. In order to protect yourself and your family, your home may need regular radon testing. Radon testing is the only way to tell if your home has dangerous levels of radon gas. Testing your home for radon is cheap and easy, so there is no reason to not have it done. If your home is found to have high levels of gas, your home will likely need a radon mitigation system. This is a series of fans and vents that will rid your home of radon, therefore decreasing the levels of radon and protecting your business or home’s inhabitants from the health risks.
To learn more about the National Radon Action Plan, click here. For radon testing or radon mitigation services, you can contact us here at Ameriserv Radon Mitigation of Iowa. Because Iowa is known to have the highest average levels of radon in the United States, with the majority of homes having dangerous levels, radon testing is a necessity. We can provide you with both radon testing and radon mitigation services. Contact us today for more information!