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What Every Buyer Needs to Know About Radon

Radon is a gaseous element that results from the disintegration of minerals in the ground. It occurs naturally, but can be more intense in different areas, even in neighborhoods, or house to house. It is radioactive, and is odorless, colorless and tasteless.

Radon comes into a home through a basement or foundation, seeping through floor joists, or cracks in the floor, cracks in the walls, and gaps around service pipes.

In Western North Carolina we have a higher than normal rate of radon in homes. Henderson and Buncombe Counties are definitely in the red zone (EPA map to the is here).

With Radon being the number two cause of lung cancer, I would advise any home buyer get the test done as part of a Home Inspection. If levels are low, you can move forward. But if testing is high, you will definitely want to get it fixed prior to moving in.

Most Home Inspectors are either qualified to perform a radon test, of work with someone who is. The cost is usually well below $100, so it is definitely worth the money. Testing should show levels below 4.0 piC/l. Anything below is fine. Anything higher should be addressed.

The fix for Radon is not that bad. The cost is around $1500. It involves venting the crawl space or basement through any number of systems. Correction is called mitigation, and you will want to look into mitigation systems

You can research systems for a better understanding of how they work. But basically, they work by pulling air from under the house, and releasing it out through a vent that is a bit higher than the peak in the roof of the house. If the home is a slab or has a basement with a cement floor, a hole may need to be drilled into the cement floor in order to pull air trapped below the home up into the vent. The best way to go is to hire a qualified Mitigation Installer to put the system in. They will install a system that meets the specific needs of the home you are buying, and it will have to be an EPA approved system. And it usually can be put in within a few days.

If you are the buyer, you may want to negotiate the system be paid in full or in part by the sellers. But you really should have the system completed prior to moving in.

What You Need to Know About a Radon Mitigation System

What is a radon mitigation system and how do you know if you need one?

If you have discovered an elevated level of radon in your home, either through the use of a radon detector you purchased, or a report from a home inspector that tested your home for radon, then you will need to either move out or have a radon-removing system installed right away. Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that is formed from the natural breakdown of uranium and radium in the soil, in rocks, and in water. It becomes quite dangerous when breathed in, causing many cases of lung cancer every year.

Unless your house had a radon mitigation system installed when it was built (some newer homes may), you will need to have a system retrofitted – or put in after the house is already completely built. Although more expensive than installation during the initial construction process, a system is necessary because it is critical that the inhabitants of your home are not exposed to dangerous levels of radon gas.

Since cost can vary widely from one source to another, be sure to do your homework when researching your options. A great place to start is to ask your trusted home inspector whom he recommends. You can also learn more about various systems online. Be sure to check out warranties thoroughly so that you are comfortable with your purchase. Is your local contractor willing to install a system you purchased elsewhere? That is a great question to ask that will impact your decision.

Even though you have important decisions to make – who will install your radon mitigation system, what company you will purchase from, and what kind of warranty you can expect, be aware that time is of the essence. You don’t want to expose your family a moment longer than necessary to this deadly toxic radon gas.

Do your research, talk to someone you trust, and make your best choice quickly. And if you haven’t had your home tested for radon in the last 3 years, make plans to find out your home’s radon levels as soon as possible. Your health and life just may depend on it.

Li Thomas educates homeowners about radon and related health issues in the home.
Learn more about a radon mitigation system by visiting her site today.

Radon From Granite Causes Cancer

The allusion that seems to be made, that natural stone installed in your home is dangerous to your health is raised repeatedly on the website and in a recent local Houston TV news program.

It’s interesting to note that the two major contributors of this non-profit organization are manufacturers of engineered stone. One of those contributing manufacturers has a marketing executive on the board of directors of this particular organization.

From what may be perceived on the surface as perhaps another “going green” ad campaign, seems to be a different slant on the ongoing battle of the engineered stone manufacturers against natural stone.

Keep in mind that granite as does most natural components found in building material, allows vapors to pass through them that might contain trace amounts of radon. There are very small amounts of uranium found in trace minerals such as biotite in some natural stones. When quarried if a large cluster of biotite is exposed the result initially would be a radon reading. However, once a piece of granite or natural stone exposed to a large amount of uranium rich mineral in the ground is removed from the source and exposed to the air, the radon vapor transmission would weaken drastically and then dissipate. Simply put, think of natural stone as a very dense sponge that allows water, air and yes radon to pass through the stone. Once the stone is removed from the source of radon (the earth) the stone has no radon to filter through it.

We do endorse Radon testing but to allude that natural stone is a main contributor seems ludicrous.

Here are some facts about Radon:

WHERE DOES RADON COME FROM?

“Radon comes from the natural radioactive decay of radium and uranium found in the soil beneath the house. The amount of radon in the soil depends on complex soil chemistry, which varies from one house to the next. Radon levels in the soil range from a few hundred to several thousands of pCi/L. The amount of radon that escapes from the soil to enter the house depends on the weather, soil porosity, soil moisture, and the suction within the house”.

HOW DOES RADON GET INTO THE HOUSE?

“Houses act like large chimneys. As the air in the house warms, it rises to leak out the attic openings and around the upper floor windows. This creates a small suction at the lowest level of the house, pulling the radon out of the soil and into the house. (Just as natural stone filters radon emission as mentioned before.) You can test this on a cold day by opening a top floor window an inch. You will notice warm air from the house rushing out that opening; yet, if you open a basement window an inch, you will feel the cold outside air rushing in. This suction is what pulls the radon out of the soil and into the house. You might think caulking the cracks and the openings in the basement floor will stop the radon from entering the house. However, scientific studies show, it only takes enough unsealed cracks or pin holes in the caulking to equal a hole 1/2” in diameter to let all the radon in. It is unlikely that caulking the accessible cracks and joints will permanently seal the openings radon needs to enter the house. The radon levels will still likely remain unchanged.

Fortunately, there are other extremely effective means of keeping radon out of your home. Throughout the country, several million people have already tested for radon. Some houses tested as high as 2,000-3,000 pCi/L; yet, there hasn’t been one house that could not mitigate to an acceptable level. The difference in reference to natural stone is that one the stone slab is removed from the source and exposed to the atmosphere the radon is vented in the same way ventilation of a house mitigates the radon emissions in the soil.

Levels of radiation from granite products, which technically are measurable, are in fact, small fractional values of established thresholds for environmental safety. The truth of the matter is that granite is a safe product. It’s been used for thousands of years and the relationship between granite and radon has been studied for years and years. How safe is granite? There have been mathematical models developed that show that one could live in an all-granite home or building, including sleeping on granite, for an entire year and still be within very safe levels of exposure.

Calculations show that, if an average countertop, traps an average uranium concentration of four ppm (parts per million), the concentration of radon that is given off by the countertop into the household air would be 270,000 times less than the level of radon in the outside air. The maximum contact level that you would receive over one year if you were to sit on a countertop all of the time would be about one quarter of the annual radiation from all sources. If you were just a few inches away from the granite (such as when doing the dishes), the dose would be too low to measure.

To Quote Donald Langmuir, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Geochemistry, Colorado School of Mines, & President, Hydrochem Systems Corp.

“To show how laughable are the concerns of radon emitted from natural stone, the typical granite countertop in our example will release 7.4 x 10 -7 pCi/L of air. This corresponds to 2.7 x 10 -8 atom decays per second (dps). This represents 0.85 decays per year. In other words, less than one atom of radon is produced by the countertop in one year. This is hardly worth getting excited about. I would suggest that a good way to reduce our exposure to the radon present in outdoor air would be to build an air-tight house out of granite countertops! There are certain properties of rocks that can increase their radon emanation efficiency, or in other words increase the release of radon from a given weight of rock. These are rock properties that maximize the exposure of internal or external rock surfaces to water or air, allowing any radon gas to escape. The author of ‘Granite and Radon’ argues that such properties, which include rock porosity, fissuring and mylonitization, will increase radon releases. This is probably true, however, a granite with such properties would be too brittle to make into a countertop, and too open to take a polish, and so would not be marketable as a countertop – unless the rock pores were first filled with a chemical sealant. Such sealing would also eliminate any possible radon release problems.”

In a more recent study that was conducted by L. L. Chyi, a Ph.D. and professor of Geochemistry and Environmental Geology at The University of Akron, Akron, Ohio. Dr. Chyi studied 13 of the most popular granites used throughout the United States as determined by an industry-wide survey. Due to their popularity these 13 granites, are believed to represent up to 85% of the granite countertop market in recent years. The granite types are as follows:

1. New Venetian Gold, Brazil; medium grained, yellow-beige gneiss with many dark red garnets

2. Uba Tuba, Brazil; A medium- to coarse grained, olive-green granite

3. Santa Cecilia, Brazil; A coarse-grained, yellow-grey gneiss with up to pie-sized, red garnets

4. Tropic Brown, Saudi Arabia; medium-grained, brown granite

5. Absolute Black, India; black basalt

6. Tan Brown, India; A black-brown igneous rock with big, shapeless, brown-red feldspar crystals

7. Giallo Ornamental, Brazil; coarse-grained, brown-yellow granulite with some brown-red garnets

8. Crema Bordeaux, Brazil; Juparana Crema Bordeaux (Brunello). A coarse- to very coarse-grained, pink to red granite with areas of quartz, alkali feldspar and quite a lot of ore

9. Baltic Brown, Finland; brown-black granite

10. Giallo Veneziano, Brazil; medium- to coarse-grained, ochre-yellow to golden-brown, also light pink, gneiss

11. Dakota Mahogany, USA; medium- to coarse-grained, brown-red granite

12. China Black, China, a fine-grained plutonic rock

13. Yellow Star, China, a medium-grained yellow to pink granite

The testing methodology was designed to measure the amount of radon which each granite type would add to the interior of a 2,000 square foot, normally ventilated home with 8 ft ceilings. The results show that Crema Bordeaux (the most active in terms of radon emissions) would contribute a concentration component of less than 0.28 pCi/L, or less than 7% of the EPA’s recommended actionable level of 4.0 pCi/L. This radon amount is well below a level which might cause health concerns. Tropic Brown and Baltic Brown, second and third in radon emanation based upon Dr. Chyi’s testing, amounted to only 1% of this action level. The other granites tested added almost immeasurable amounts of radon to the house. Radon atoms in pore spaces and fractures are of minimal concern in the case of granite countertops

Bookkeeper Sunshine Coast- Advantages of Using a Professional Service

Introduction

If you are a smart business owner, you must know the undeniable benefits of hiring bookkeeping professional. It is impossible for a single person to measure the accurate amount of success and failure of business dealing. Therefore, it is important to take help from experts so you can achieve a better stance for your future financial transactions.

Some of the biggest benefits of having a professional bookkeeping service are:

Low costs

A professional bookkeeping service may lower your overall cost in multiple ways. Through them, you can save a huge sum of money on payroll taxes, employee benefits, and paid vacations. Moreover, a bookkeeping service will take less money than your average employee. All the issues and problems regarding your business financial situation will be solved effectively as these bookkeepers will act as a supervisory body over your company that is constantly on the lookout for cost-cutting prospects and latest financial developments.

Equitable Opinions

Hiring an expert bookkeeper can do miracles for your company. An internal bookkeeper is very much involved in the company in an emotional way. On the other hand, an external bookkeeping service like Bookkeeper Sunshine Coast is all about your business. They have amazing insights to offer and techniques to maintain the financial condition of your investments. The insights can be both positive and negative, but it will surely be a variable piece of information that must be under your knowledge.

Small Turnover

Having an internal bookkeeper can be an unreliable outlook. They may leave the job sooner or later due to boredom or other better opportunities. Such scenarios can turn out to be a very major financial chaos for you as well as your company. If there is no bookkeeper to keep track of business, everyday bookkeeping tasks will be delayed, the money will stop flowing, and all of our dues will not be cleared accurately. Bookkeeping services rarely leaves a client and like to make long term business affiliations and stick to their job right.

Focus towards Betterment

If you hire a professional bookkeeper, you will be able to give more time for yourself and stay focused on things that are important for you.  You can focus on generating more sales, check out the financial reports, and do an analysis of your business according to your inclinations.  You can be free of any worries regarding your business and even emphasis on things outside your office environment.

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