Category: Radon Mitigation

radon gas poisoning complex

There are several substances that are known to lead to significant health risks if we’re exposed to them in large quantities, and one of the most significant such threats here is radon gas. This gas is so difficult because it’s impossible to smell, taste, feel or pick up with any other basic human sense — but if it’s present in large enough quantities, it can have a major impact on both short-term and long-term health.

At Absolute Radon Safety, we’re here to help stop this from happening to you. Through our combined radon testing and radon mitigation programs, we ensure that clients throughout Colorado are not being exposed to high radon levels in their homes or buildings on a regular basis. One particular concern that some people have with radon exposure is radon poisoning — but unlike other forms of poisoning that may take place, radon poisoning is a bit different. Let’s go over why this is the case, plus how to spot the symptoms of radon poisoning and why, even with the best information, this is a difficult area to assess — one where simply ensuring no radon is present is the simplest possible approach.

What Makes Radon Poisoning So Tough to Approach

When we think of most issues of poisoning, the setting is a lot different from radon gas. For instance, a chemical substance that poisons someone if they accidentally consume it will create immediate and obvious symptoms — the person may need to be rushed to the hospital, and furious efforts may be made to remove the poisonous substance before it’s too late. Another good example here would be a snake bite, where an individual clearly knows to get medical help right away.

Radon poisoning, by contrast, is a different animal. The first thing to realize here is that the symptoms of radon poisoning may not arise for many years, making the process much more difficult when it comes to detection and remediation — even though it’s really just as critical. While there are some radon poisoning symptoms that are very clear, such as chronic lung problems or even cancer, in many cases it may take years before any such side effects arise.

Radon gas is especially dangerous because of how difficult it can be to detect — after all, it’s a naturally occurring substance that doesn’t have any mechanisms for detection built in. So unlike a snake bite, where you’ll know right away if you’re bitten, the radon poisoning symptoms that arise may not be so easily identified.

With all this in mind, even the term “radon poisoning” is somewhat problematic — it’s not that the gas itself is poisonous, but rather the long-term effects. But since these can be so widespread and serious in terms of implications for health, it’s important to keep radon mitigation as an ongoing priority in your home or building.

Possible Symptoms of Radon Poisoning

Now, those who have been exposed to large quantities of radon — or “poisoned,” if you will — may still show some common symptoms. Many of these are similar or even identical to the symptoms of lung cancer, which makes sense given that radon exposure is so closely linked with higher risks of such cancer.

Particularly when associated with radon, these symptoms may include:

  • Wheezing and shortness of breath: This is because of the direct impact radon gas can have on your lungs, leading to both inflammation and other symptoms that inhibit lung capacity.
  • Coughing: Again related to your lungs and how they’re impacted by radon.
  • Chest pain or pressure: Lung damage often leads to intense pain in this part of the body.
  • Coughing up blood: This is much more rare, but it’s possible in certain cases.
  • Weight loss and fatigue: These are both fairly clear symptoms of lung cancer or many other health issues.
  • Frequent bronchitis, pneumonia or other infections: Again, this could be the result of lung damage in general, but it’s a classic sign.

Again, though, because these symptoms are so similar to other health issues and issues related to lung cancer, it can be very difficult to tell purely through symptoms whether you’ve been exposed to high levels of radon or radon poisoning. And because there are no medical tests for determining radon poisoning, many people do not even consider it when symptoms arise.

Importance of Radon Testing

All of the above leads us to a vital point: The single simplest and most effective way to determine whether you have been exposed to radon gas is to get a radon test in your home. This testing can be carried out at any point — and it’s best done on an ongoing basis, so that if high levels of radon are detected, they can be addressed as soon as possible.

This is truly the only way to confirm with certainty that you’ve been exposed to this gas, and it’s imperative to do so in order to mitigate any effects that may have arisen. A radon test will not only tell you whether radon is present, but will also note its quantity and allow you to work with professional radon mitigation experts to ensure that the levels are reduced.

As you can see, the realm of radon poisoning and exposure is a curious one — and one that is not well-understood by many people. But it’s important to keep in mind if you’re ever concerned about your health, or the health of your family members, as it can have such significant impacts. And with a simple radon test, you can know for sure whether you’ve been exposed to this harmful substance and have more information to work with.

For more on this, or to learn about any of our radon testing or radon mitigation services, speak to the staff at Absolute Radon Safety today.

rain snow radon mitigation system

Anytime you have any sort of device or system installed in your home for any reason, you naturally want to be sure that this setup will be protected from any elements or weather conditions it may be exposed to on a regular basis. However, there are many such systems where these concerns can be overstated, and a good example is with radon mitigation systems and certain forms of perceived weather threats.

At Absolute Radon Safety, we’re happy to install the very best radon mitigation systems in Colorado, assisting clients who have high radon levels — something that’s unfortunately very common in our state. However, one area you generally don’t have to worry about within this realm, despite some in the state sometimes expressing concern given our weather patterns: Rain, snow or ice getting into your radon mitigation system, particularly the main pipe that’s responsible for removing radon from the home. Here’s a look at how these systems work and why this sort of thing is not a real concern, plus a couple other related notes.

How Radon Mitigation Systems Work

To fully understand why rain, snow and ice aren’t risks to your radon mitigation system, it helps to know a bit about how these systems work in the first place. Radon is an invisible, odorless gas that’s present in nearly all soil. It typically enters the home through cracks in the foundation or other small openings, and once inside, it can quickly rise up and become trapped. Since it’s both colorless and odorless, the only way to know if you have a radon problem is to test for it — which we highly recommend if you live in Colorado.

If your test comes back showing high levels of radon, the next step is to call in a radon mitigation specialist like us. We’ll come to your home, assess the situation and determine the best way to remove radon from your indoor air. In most cases, this involves installing a vent pipe system that goes from your home up through the roof. This pipe is typically white plastic and is generally very unobtrusive, meaning it won’t be an eyesore on your home’s exterior.

The key part of this system is the fan, which is installed at the top of the pipe. This fan is responsible for drawing radon-laden air out of your home and pushing it up and away, preventing it from becoming trapped inside where it can do harm.

Fully Sealed and Glued

For anyone worrying about the possibility of rain, snow or ice getting into this system and causing problems, it’s important to know that the main pipe is both fully sealed and glued. In other words, there are no gaps or cracks that water could potentially get into. Plus, the glue used is of the very highest quality and is designed to withstand all sorts of extreme weather conditions.

For instance, even during a significant snowstorm this upcoming winter, you won’t have to worry about your radon pipe getting blocked by snow or ice. The same goes for any downpours or thunderstorms we may experience. Your system will continue to work as designed no matter what the weather is like outside.

Water-Resistant/Hardened Motors

In addition, while it’s highly unlikely that any water will make its way into your system, it’s important to know that the motors used in these fans are also water-resistant or hardened. So even if by some small chance water did get into the system, it would not cause any damage to the fan itself.

Slight Backslope

Not only are all of the above measures in place to prevent water from getting into your system, but the pipe is also installed with a slight backslope. This means that even if water somehow did get into the system, it would immediately start flowing back out rather than sitting inside and potentially causing problems.

However, as we’ve noted, this is rarely necessary. During normal operations, your radon mitigation system creates airflow when it pushes radon and other air out of the exhaust pipe — this airflow is usually easily enough to push any rain, snow or ice away from the opening without any concerns.

Keeping Pests and Birds Out

In other cases, clients raise concerns to us about the possibility of pests or birds getting into their system and creating problems. Once again, this is very unlikely to happen for a few reasons.

First, the exhaust pipe is typically installed with a screen over the opening to keep pests and birds out. Second, even if something did manage to get into the system, it would likely just get caught in the fan itself and cause no damage. Third, the system is regularly checked and serviced to ensure that everything is working properly, so any potential problems would be caught and dealt with right away.

Bottom Line

The most important takeaway from all of this is that you shouldn’t let concerns about the weather or potential pests deter you from having a radon mitigation system installed in your home. These systems are highly effective at reducing radon levels and keeping your indoor air quality high, and they can be used with complete confidence even in the most extreme weather conditions.

If you have any questions about this or any other home improvement topic, feel free to reach out to us anytime at Absolute Radon Safety. We’re always happy to help in any way we can, whether it’s detailing our services to you or carrying out radon testing, radon mitigation or other important programs on your behalf.

radon silent threat homes

There are a number of different potential threats to our health and well-being out there, and some of the most concerning in many cases are those that are extremely tough to notice no matter how hard we try. One of the single best examples of this concept: Radon gas, which is well-known for the fact that it gives off virtually no evidence of its presence — despite the fact that it’s a major threat that causes thousands of deaths per year.

At Absolute Radon Safety, we’re here to help. We provide the very best radon testing and radon mitigation services in Littleton and nearby parts of Colorado, helping our clients become aware of any radon issues that may be impacting their structures — and immediately remedying these problems so your health is not impacted negatively. If you’re just learning about radon for the first time, you may be wondering why it’s so often discussed as a “silent” threat (or even a silent killer, in some cases). Here are the qualities that make radon so tough to identify, plus which make it so dangerous.

Defining Radon

Firstly, before we move further, let’s take a quick step back and establish what radon actually is. Radon is a gas that’s part of the uranium decay process, and it’s all around us in very small quantities that aren’t cause for alarm. However, when these quantities become concentrated — typically as a result of being trapped in an enclosed space like your home — they can create a situation that’s very dangerous to your health.

Once radon is present in your home, it can quickly become concentrated to levels that cause major health concerns. In fact, the EPA estimates that radon is responsible for causing roughly 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States alone — and this is a conservative estimate, as it’s tough to attribute lung cancer fatalities specifically to radon exposure in many cases.

How Does Radon Get In?

There are two primary ways that radon can make its way into your home. The first has to do with the fact that, as we noted, it’s all around us in very small quantities. Soil typically contains trace amounts of uranium, which is where radon comes from, and this gas can seep up through cracks or other openings in your foundation and enter your home that way.

The second common entry point for radon is through well water. If your home gets its water from a private well, there’s a chance that this water contains radon that’s dissolved within it. When you use this water for cooking or bathing, the radon gas is then introduced into the air of your home.

Why Is Radon So Dangerous?

There are two main qualities that make radon so dangerous: The fact that it’s colorless, odorless, and tasteless; and the fact that it’s incredibly difficult to identify without taking special steps.

These qualities make it impossible to know if you’re being exposed to dangerous levels of radon simply by being in your home — and unfortunately, the effects of exposure can take years or even decades to manifest, meaning that many people don’t realize they have a problem until it’s too late.

For instance, you may not start to experience symptoms of lung cancer until 20 years or more after the initial exposure to radon. This is one of the primary reasons that the EPA recommends all homeowners have their homes tested for radon at least once every two years: Because it’s the only way to be absolutely certain that you’re not being exposed to dangerous levels of the gas.

What Levels of Radon Are Considered Safe?

The EPA has set 4.0 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air as the “action level” for radon. In other words, if the level of radon in your home is at or below this threshold, no action needs to be taken.

However, if a test comes back with levels above this threshold, it’s important to take action to mitigate the problem as soon as possible. The higher the level of radon in your home, the more quickly you should take steps to address the issue.

In addition, there are many cases where the EPA will recommend or at least suggest radon mitigation if your home has levels of radon between 2.0 and 3.9 pCi/L. While these levels aren’t technically considered “dangerous,” they’re still considerably higher than what’s typically found in the outdoor air, so it’s worth taking steps to reduce your exposure if possible.

The Dangers of Inaction

If you’ve had your home tested for radon and the results come back showing levels that are at or above the EPA’s action level, it’s important to take steps to mitigate the problem as soon as possible.

The longer you wait, the greater your risk of exposure — and as we noted, the effects of this exposure may not be immediately apparent. So even if you’re not showing any symptoms now, that doesn’t mean that you won’t develop serious health problems down the road as a result of radon exposure.

Fortunately, there are a number of different ways to mitigate radon in your home, and most of them are relatively simple and inexpensive. For instance, in many cases, all that’s needed is the installation of a simple ventilation system that will help to remove radon from your home before it has a chance to build up to dangerous levels.

If you’re concerned about radon in your home, the best thing you can do is to have it tested as soon as possible. Contact our team at Absolute Radon Safety today for radon testing or mitigation needs anywhere in Littleton or nearby parts of Colorado; we can’t wait to help you make your home safer and free of these risks.

issues testing radon yourself

There are certain areas of our lives where do-it-yourself (DIY) approaches are quite effective and viable, but also others where they generally should not be attempted. Others also ride the line here, and a good example is radon testing — while it’s certainly possible to test for radon levels in your home on your own, there are a few important reasons why it’s typically not recommended.

At Absolute Radon Safety, we’re happy to offer the very best radon testing and radon mitigation programs available in Colorado, removing any risks that may be present for those attempting to DIY this important area. While at-home DIY radon tests do exist, here are some of the potential drawbacks that come with utilizing them — and some of the reasons why leaving these tests to the professionals is generally the prudent move.

Improper DIY Test Kit Placement

Most of the DIY radon tests you’ll find on the market require you to place them in a specific location within your home for an extended period of time — typically 2-90 days, depending on the type of test being used. The problem here is that many people do not realize how important proper test kit placement is, and as a result will often put their kits in places where they may not get an accurate reading.

For example, many people will put their test kits in their basements without realizing that the results may not be representative of the rest of the house if radon is only present in certain areas. Other common mistakes include putting the test kit too close to a window or door, where drafts can impact results, or in an area where there is a lot of background radiation (such as near an x-ray machine).

All of these factors can play a role in getting inaccurate results from your test, which in turn can lead to either a false sense of security or undue worry about the radon levels in your home.

DIY Test Kits May Not Meet EPA Standards

In other cases, the problem with DIY radon tests is not necessarily one of placement, but rather that the test kit itself may not meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for accuracy. The EPA has established very specific protocols that must be followed in order to ensure reliable results from a radon test, and many of the DIY kits on the market do not meet these standards.

As a result, these DIY kits may not be able to provide accurate readings of the radon levels in your home, which means you could end up either underestimating or overestimating the risk that’s present.

Impact of AC or Other HVAC

In some situations, especially if your test is placed too close to a vent or other opening, the results of your test may be impacted by your home’s air conditioning or other HVAC system. This is because these systems can circulate air throughout the house, which can in turn impact the concentration of radon present in any given area.

If you’re using a DIY test kit, it’s important to be aware of this potential issue and to take steps to avoid it if possible. One way to do this is to place your test kit in an area that’s as far away from any vents or other openings as possible, but this is often not practical or possible in many homes.

As a result, it’s often best to leave radon testing to the professionals instead.

Waiting for Results

With at-home radon test kits, you generally have to collect your sample, then send the results out to a lab to be analyzed. This process can take a week or more, which means you could be left in limbo for quite some time before you get your results back.

This isn’t necessarily a big issue if you’re just testing for peace of mind, but if you believe that there may be high levels of radon present in your home, waiting for results could put you and your family at unnecessary risk in the meantime.

Simply Less Accurate

And on the simplest level, even if you do everything properly with your at-home test kit, there’s just no getting around the fact that these tests are generally less accurate than ones performed by professionals. This is because professional testers have access to more sophisticated equipment and techniques, which means they can usually get more accurate readings.

Re-Testing May Be Necessary

Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that even if you do get accurate results from your DIY radon test, you may still need to have the property re-tested by a professional later on. This is because radon levels can fluctuate over time, and what may have been a safe level when you tested may no longer be safe a few months or years down the road.

Go With the Pros

For all of the reasons we’ve gone over here, plus for simple peace of mind when it comes to something as important as your family’s health, it’s usually best to leave radon testing to the professionals. These trained experts have the experience and expertise necessary to get accurate readings, which in turn can help you make the best decisions about protecting your family from this invisible killer.

If you’re concerned about radon in your home, contact our team at Absolute Radon Safety today. We’ll immediately help you set up an appointment to test your home for radon and determine if further action is necessary.

questions answers radon mitigation maintenance

Maintenance is a key factor for any kind of mechanical or related system in your home or on your property, and being cognizant of it in several different areas is important. This also goes for any new installations made within your property, and one good example here is a radon mitigation system that may be installed in your home to stop harmful radon gas from creating health risks to you and your family.

At Absolute Radon Safety, we’re happy to offer the very best radon mitigation systems and testing programs in Colorado, ensuring you’re not at-risk of any of radon’s health concerns. We’ll also assist clients with understanding the needs for maintenance of such systems — though as you’ll find out as you read further today, part of the value of our systems is how little upkeep they actually require from homeowners. Here are some of the most common questions we’re asked about radon mitigation system maintenance, plus the simple answers.

Do I Need to Perform any Radon Mitigation System Maintenance?

First and foremost, many clients are simply wondering whether they need to do any kind of upkeep for their radon mitigation system at all. The answer is yes — but in most cases, this maintenance is extremely simple and can be done without the assistance of a professional. In general, you’ll want to check the system’s components (which will all be clearly labelled) every few months to ensure that everything is still firmly in place and functional. If you do notice any issues, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

Let’s go over some further detail to help you understand.

What Are the Components of a Radon Mitigation System?

For those looking to fully understand their system and any minor upkeep needs that might be required, knowing about the simple components it uses can go a long way. Here are the basic components of a radon mitigation system and how they work:

  • A radon fan: The key component of most radon mitigation systems is a radon fan unit, which is installed to create depressurization within your home. This lowering of air pressure will stop radon gas from being able to enter through any cracks or gaps in the foundation — and it will eventually be released outside where it can dissipate harmlessly.
  • A PVC pipe: A PVC pipe is then used to transport this gas from beneath your home up to the roof, where the fan will be installed. Once the fan is in place, it will work to expel the gas outside instead of letting it remain trapped beneath your home.
  • A drain tile: In some cases (depending on the soil type beneath your home), a drain tile may also be used as part of the system. This tile is placed around the foundation’s perimeter and will work to collect any radon gas that might have seeped in before it has a chance to rise up through your home.
  • A power supply: In some other cases, a dedicated power supply may need to be installed as part of the system. This will be placed near the fan unit and will work to ensure that it has a consistent power source, no matter what the weather conditions might be outside.
  • Manometer device: Finally, a manometer device may also be installed as part of the system. This is a simple device that helps to measure the air pressure within your home, and it can be used to ensure that the fan unit is working properly.

As you can see, most of these components are quite simple — and they shouldn’t require any complicated maintenance or upkeep on your part.

Checking the Manometer and System

When it comes to system maintenance or upkeep for your radon mitigation system, there often isn’t much to do — as we’ve noted several times here, these systems are mostly self-sufficient, and should not require a ton of regular attention. However, the one area that you will want to check on a semi-regular basis is the manometer, which (as we noted above) helps to measure the air pressure within your home.

Specifically, your radon mitigation system installer will tell you the exact readings you’re looking for from the manometer — and which readings might signal a problem, such as an issue where your fan has stopped working for some reason. Nearly any issue that might arise with your system will show itself through the readings on the manometer, so it’s important to keep an eye on it. If you’re unsure of what to look for or how to interpret these readings, don’t hesitate to give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

In general, you should only need to check on the system every few months to ensure that everything is still firmly in place and functional. However, if you do notice any issues, give us a call.

Ensure Continuous Power

In cases where your home’s existing power supply is being used to power the fan unit, you’ll also want to make sure that this power source is always working properly. The last thing you want is for your system to suddenly stop working because of an issue with the power — and in some cases, this could mean that harmful radon gas is once again able to enter your home unchecked.

For most people, simply checking on the power source every few months to ensure that it is still in good working condition will be sufficient. However, if you live in an area with particularly severe weather conditions (such as hurricanes or severe thunderstorms), you may want to check on it more frequently to ensure that everything is still in good working order.

For more on the limited areas of radon mitigation system maintenance you should know about, or to learn about any of our radon testing or radon mitigation programs, speak to our team at Absolute Radon Safety today.

radon knowledge identification matter

If you’re just learning about radon gas for the first time, you might be wondering what the big deal is. This is an odorless, colorless gas that you can basically never detect with simple human senses, so it really can’t be too much of a problem, right?

Wrong. At Absolute Radon Safety, we’re here to tell you that radon can be a major threat to your health and that of anyone else in your home or building. We offer robust radon testing and mitigation services to ensure this doesn’t become an issue for you — but this starts with you recognizing the importance of radon prevention and contacting our team for assistance. What is radon, why does knowing about it matter, and how can you tell if there are high levels of radon in your home or any other structure? Here’s a basic primer.

Radon Basics

As we noted above, radon refers to an invisible, odorless gas that is produced naturally as the uranium in the ground breaks down. While it’s not uncommon to find low levels of radon in the air we breathe every day, this gas can become a problem when it begins to collect in enclosed spaces like homes and buildings.

When present in large enough quantities, radon exposure has been linked to an array of serious health problems, including lung cancer. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that radon exposure is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths every year in the United States alone.

While any type of home or building can be at risk for high levels of radon, there are certain construction features and geographical areas that can increase the likelihood of this problem. For example, homes with basements or crawl spaces are more likely to have higher-than-normal radon levels, as are those built on bedrock or near bodies of water.

In terms of geographical risk factors, states like Colorado, Minnesota, and North Dakota tend to have higher average indoor radon levels than other parts of the country. However, high radon levels have been reported in every state, so it’s important not to assume your home is in the clear just because you don’t live in a “high-risk” area.

The Dangers of Radon Exposure

So, what exactly are the health risks associated with radon exposure?

As we mentioned, the EPA estimates that radon exposure is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths every year. In fact, the agency has classified radon as a Group A carcinogen, which means it’s known to cause cancer in humans.

Radon is believed to cause lung cancer by damaging the cells that line the lungs. As radon breaks down, it emits tiny particles that can be inhaled. These particles can then get lodged in the lungs, where they release small bursts of radiation. This radiation exposure is what increases your risk for lung cancer.

Notably, smokers who are exposed to radon gas are at an especially high risk for lung cancer, as they’re already damaging their lungs with tobacco smoke.

In addition to lung cancer, radon exposure has also been linked to other health problems, including:

  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Asthma
  • COPD

If you have any of these conditions or are a smoker, you should be especially vigilant about radon testing and mitigation.

Radon Testing and Mitigation

The only way to know if there are high levels of radon in your home or any other building is to test for it. Radon testing is relatively simple and straightforward, and it can be done with a variety of different devices.

At Absolute Radon Safety, we use state-of-the-art continuous radon monitors to test for this gas. These devices provide real-time readings of radon levels and can be left in place for an extended period of time to get an accurate sense of the problem.

If our testing does reveal high levels of radon, we can then develop a customized mitigation plan to reduce these levels and protect your family or employees from exposure.

Our team has extensive experience designing and installing radon mitigation systems, and we’re confident we can find a solution that works for your specific needs.

Other Ways of Limiting Radon Exposure

In addition to working with a professional radon mitigation company, there are a few other things you can do to limit your exposure to this gas.

For example, if you’re in the process of buying a new home, you can always request a radon test as part of the sale. This will give you some peace of mind and allow you to take action if high levels of radon are found.

You can also take some simple steps to prevent radon from entering your home in the first place. These include:

-Sealing any cracks or openings in your foundation

-Making sure your gutters are clean and in good condition

-Improving ventilation in your basement or crawl space

On top of this, anyone with prolonged exposure to radon should strongly consider stopping or reducing their cigarette smoking habits. This will help to protect their lungs from further damage.

The Bottom Line

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that can be found in any type of building, including homes and offices. Unfortunately, exposure to high levels of radon gas can lead to serious health problems, including lung cancer.

The good news is that there are ways to test for radon and mitigate its effects. If you’re concerned about this gas, we encourage you to contact us at Absolute Radon Safety today to learn more about our radon testing and mitigation services. We’ll be happy to answer any of your questions and help you keep your family or employees safe from harm.

elements radon mitigation process

For many people, including some first-time homeowners or certain others, the realm of radon mitigation can be both new and perhaps intimidating if you’re just entering it. Luckily, working with quality radon professionals will ensure that you know exactly what’s going on in your home or building with regard to radon, plus how it’s going to be remedied and any other relevant parts of this process.

At Absolute Radon Safety, we’re proud to offer the very best radon testing and radon mitigation services in Boulder and other parts of Colorado, walking home and building owners through every part of this process so they’re never confused and always know exactly what’s going on. What exactly is radon mitigation, and what are the important facets of the radon inspection and mitigation process? Here’s a simple rundown.

What is Radon Mitigation?

For those who have never dealt with radon before, it’s important to first understand what this gas is and why it might be present in your home. Radon is a naturally-occurring gas which comes up from the ground and can enter into homes or other buildings through cracks, gaps, and other openings.

Once inside, it can become trapped and concentrated, presenting a serious health hazard to those who are exposed to it over long periods of time. In fact, according to the EPA, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers in the United States, and it’s believed to be responsible for hundreds or even thousands of lung cancer deaths each year.

This is why it’s so important for all homes and other buildings to be tested for radon on a regular basis, and why those which are found to have high levels of this gas need to have effective radon mitigation systems installed as soon as possible.

Our next several sections will go over the general process used to identify and remedy radon issues in a home or building.

Radon Testing

First and foremost, homes and buildings should be tested for radon on a regular basis – at least once every two years, and more frequently if there have been any changes which might have affected the levels of this gas inside.

There are two main types of radon tests which can be performed – short-term tests and long-term tests. Short-term tests take anywhere from 2 to 90 days, while long-term tests take place over the course of 3 months to a year.

At Absolute Radon Safety, we generally recommend that our customers start with a short-term test, as this will give you a quick idea of whether or not your home has elevated radon levels. Once the results of this test come back, we can then recommend either performing a long-term test or moving ahead with radon mitigation if necessary.

Radon Assessment

Also often called a radon inspection, this will be the first major step that’s carried out if elevated levels of radon are identified in your home or building by your radon test. It will involve certified technicians, like ours at Absolute Radon Safety, entering your home and performing a series of tests and inspections in order to identify the specific areas where radon might be entering.

This assessment will include several things, from determining the location of certain pipes and other potential entry points to measuring the levels of radon in different areas of your home. Once we have all this information, we can then develop a personalized radon mitigation plan for your property.

Radon Sealing

Another of the vital early steps in the radon mitigation process involves sealing any cracks in your foundation or nearby areas. This is important because these gaps can allow radon to enter your home, and they need to be properly filled and sealed in order for your mitigation system to be effective.

This can be done in a few different ways depending on the location and severity of any such damage. For foundations that are cracked, a special sealant can be injected which will stop gas and water from passing through. Walls can also be reinforced, and other areas can be caulked or otherwise filled as needed.

In other cases, such as for crawl space radon sealing, a specific vapor barrier material will be installed over the top of the soil in order to prevent radon from passing through.

Radon System Installation

Next up is one of the single most important parts of this process: The actual installation of your radon mitigation system, which comes in the form of a suction-based system that’s designed to draw gas out of your home and release it into the atmosphere above.

This system will be installed by our team of certified professionals, and it will be placed in the most strategic location possible in order to maximize its effectiveness. Installation will involve several things, including the placements of piping into the foundation plus extensions that allow us to route the gas up and out of your home.

Another important component usually utilized at this time will be the manometer, which is a device that we use to test the negative pressure inside of your system and ensure that it’s working properly. You’ll generally be shown where this manometer is and how to read it, including signs that an issue is taking place with your system.

Walkthrough and Long-Term Maintenance Tips

Finally, once your system is installed and everything has been double and triple checked for proper functionality, we’ll go over the entire system with you so that you understand how it works. This will involve an overview of all major components plus a few key maintenance tips to keep in mind.

In addition, we’ll often schedule a follow-up appointment for a few months later in order to ensure that everything is still working as it should be.

For more on the radon mitigation process and how it works, or to learn about any of our radon testing or mitigation services in Boulder or nearby areas, speak to the team at Absolute Radon Safety today.

homebuyer tips radon mitigation systems

If you’re in the process of searching the market for a home, there are a number of things you may see during a tour or inspection of a given home. How should you be proceeding if one such thing you find in a home you may consider purchasing is an existing radon mitigation system?

At Absolute Radon Safety, we’re here to help clients with every part of the realm of radon testing and radon mitigation for clients throughout Colorado. We even offer radon testing for real estate agents, as we know limiting the risks of radon is often a vital area of consideration for those looking to purchase a home. Here’s a rundown of what you should be thinking about if a home you’re considering already has a radon mitigation system, and how this may impact (or not impact) your decision to move forward.

It’s Not a Bad Thing

First and foremost, we wanted to get this out there up front: Finding a radon mitigation system active in a home you’re considering is not a negative thing. In fact, it can actually be seen as an indicator that homeowners in the past have taken steps to limit their risks surrounding radon and mitigate the risks of exposure to it.

That said, you do need to remember that the mitigation system may not have been installed very recently. Depending on when the home was built, and how frequently the homeowners have been testing and mitigating, there may be a good chance the system is no longer functioning as it should.

Many of our upcoming sections will focus on how to assess and value the radon mitigation system that’s present if you find one.

Qualities of a Properly-Installed Radon Mitigation System

As noted, one of the first things you should be doing upon locating a radon mitigation system in a home you’re considering is confirm its quality, both at installation and moving forward. Here are some signs that you’re in good shape:

  • Fan on the attic, roof or other exterior location: One important sign that a radon mitigation system is properly installed is the presence of an exhaust fan on the attic, roof or other exterior location. This is vital to making sure the system can remove radon from beneath the home and mitigate risks accordingly. This fan should never be located in a crawlspace, mechanical room or any other area that is only accessed during an inspection.
  • Noise levels: If a radon system is operating properly, there should be very little to virtually no noise present. While functioning, the fan should be running at a very low speed and may produce some noise, but this should not be a loud or obnoxious level of sound.
  • Airflow gauge: On the pipes inside the home, there should be an airflow gauge installed. This will help you confirm that the system is pulling the appropriate amount of air through to work as intended, and can also help you troubleshoot any potential issues with it down the road.
  • Hidden where possible: While certain visible pipes must be present in the home, both the mitigation system and its piping should be hidden from sight as much as possible. This will help limit the risk of damage, and also give you a sense of whether or not the system is in good shape moving forward.
  • Installer information: Maybe most importantly, you want to take note of who installed the radon mitigation system and make a point to ask about that company’s reputation. If you’re able to review past work or speak with the installer, it will help give you confidence in their abilities moving forward.

Even if you find a radon mitigation system active in a home you’re considering purchasing, it should not dissuade you from moving forward. But it’s vital to know what to look for and how these systems can operate, so that you know whether or not the mitigation system is providing enough protection and value in the home.

As always, we encourage all interested parties to consult with professionals like us if they have any questions about radon mitigation systems.

Possible Problem Signs

On the other hand, here are a few possible signs that a radon mitigation system was not properly installed, or has had issues in the time since it was put in place:

  • Fan in wrong location: As we noted before, a major sign of a properly installed system is the presence of an exterior fan. If you find that fan in a crawlspace, mechanical room or any other interior location, it’s a cause for concern and may mean the system isn’t operating as intended.
  • Multiple fans: In some cases, two fans may be present in the home instead of just one. If they are, they should be placed in a balanced location and connected to the same piping, rather than located at opposite ends of the house. If you find multiple fans present in your home, it’s likely there is a problem with this system that you need to bring up before moving forward with the purchase.
  • No installer information: Finally, if you don’t see the information of who installed the system in your home, it’s a concern. An installer will be able to help fix problems with their own work, and should also be able to give you peace of mind moving forward.

Get it Tested

If you have any concerns or doubts about the radon mitigation system in a home you’re considering purchasing, get the home tested on your own. Our team of professionals can conduct a full test of both the home and the existing mitigation system to give you an accurate picture of what’s going on, and what needs to be done to mitigate risks as effectively as possible.

For more on how to approach the situation if a home you’re considering has a radon mitigation system already installed, or to learn about any of our radon testing or mitigation solutions, speak to the staff at Absolute Radon Safety today.

risks DIY radon mitigation

Major Risks of Attempting DIY Radon Mitigation

If radon levels in your home are higher than known safety thresholds, proper mitigation of these levels is of vital importance for the health of anyone who lives or spends time in the structure. Radon is a Class A carcinogen, one that causes some significant health issues in both people and animals, and quality must be ensured when protecting against it — which is why in many cases, DIY efforts down these lines are not recommended.

At Absolute Radon Safety, we’re here to provide the very best radon mitigation systems and equipment, installed by experienced professionals who know precisely how to trap radon at its source and stop it from existing in your air supply at dangerous levels. We strongly recommend leaving radon mitigation installations to our experts, as there are a number of risks you’re exposing both yourself and your structure to if you attempt this sort of thing without specific professional training. Here are some of these risks to keep in mind as reasons why you should call up the pros for this job.

Piercing Pipes

First and foremost, the installation of a radon mitigation system involves working with a lot of piping. Not only will we be installing new piping in your home or building to transport radon away from the structure, we may also be working near or around other pipes or systems.

As professionals, we know how to steer clear of these areas and take care with the installation so that no damage is done. If you’re not a professional, there is a very real risk of piercing or damaging other pipes in your home as you try to install the mitigation system yourself. This could lead to costly repairs down the line and create even more of a hazard from radon gas.

Backdrafting

Another major DIY radon mitigation risk is the possibility of backdrafting, or an issue where the radon system doesn’t only suck in radon, but also carbon monoxide from the furnace and water heater flues. This is a potentially dangerous issue that can cause serious health problems for you and your family.

Professionals know how to avoid this issue by ensuring the radon system is properly vented and doesn’t create a negative pressure in your home. If you’re not experienced in these matters, it’s very easy to create a backdrafting problem that could be hazardous to your health.

Radon Re-Entering

Maybe the single most common error made during DIY radon mitigation efforts: Improper sealing in any of the several areas where radon can enter the home again.

This is an easy mistake to make, but it can have serious consequences. Radon that has been sucked out of your home can easily re-enter if even one seal is not properly in place. This means that all of your mitigation efforts could be for naught, and you and your family could still be exposed to dangerous levels of radon gas.

Condensation

Radon mitigation systems have to deal with air that’s high in humidity on a regular basis, and care is required in their installation to ensure that water and condensation are directed away from the system and don’t cause damage.

If you’re not familiar with how to deal with humidity and moisture, there’s a good chance you’ll accidentally cause damage to your mitigation system through condensation. This could lead to a host of other problems down the road, including the growth of harmful mold in your home and even the potential for major flooding.

Sub-Slab Issues

Radon mitigation systems are known to work best when there’s gravel under the concrete slab at their base, but many homes or buildings have dirt or even clay as the base material. If this is the case in your structure, there’s a good chance that the mitigation system won’t be as effective as it could be, and you may still be exposed to high levels of radon gas.

Only a professional installer who understands the specific needs of your home or building will be able to install a mitigation system here, as this may require a redesign of the sub-slab for your structure. Without this knowledge, you could easily install a mitigation system that doesn’t work as well as it should.

Post-Installation Testing

Another benefit of working with our team of professionals is the range of post-installation testing and inspections that we provide. We want to make sure that the system is working properly and that you and your family are safe from the dangers of radon gas.

If you try to install a mitigation system yourself, you may not be aware of the importance of post-installation testing or even know how to conduct such tests. This could lead to dangerous levels of radon gas going undetected in your home, putting your family’s health at risk.

Warranties

Another major benefit of hiring a professional for your radon mitigation needs is the warranty that comes with the job. Most professional mitigation companies offer a full warranty on their work, meaning that if any issues should arise after the installation is complete, you can count on them to come back and take care of it at no additional cost to you.

When you try to do the job yourself, you’re not likely to get the same level of warranty or protection for your home. If something goes wrong after you’ve installed the mitigation system, you’ll be on your own and will likely have to pay out of pocket to get it fixed.

Future Home Value

Finally, if you plan to sell your home in the future, having a professional-installed radon mitigation system will likely add value to your property. Many potential home buyers will be looking for a home that already has a mitigation system in place, as this is seen as an indication of a proactive approach to health and safety.

When you try to do the job yourself, you may not be able to properly assess the impact that a mitigation system will have on your home’s value. This could lead to you spending money on a mitigation system that doesn’t add any value to your property when it comes time to sell.

For more on why DIY radon mitigation efforts should typically be avoided unless you have specific professional training, or to learn about any of our radon testing or radon mitigation solutions, speak to our team at Absolute Radon Safety today.

basics radon manometers homeowners

If your home or building has high levels of radon that require mitigation through a pipe-based system that removes radon from the space so it cannot be a threat to health, there are a few important components that will often or always be included in this setup. One of these components that’s important for many homeowners who want to be able to monitor their radon levels in the future and ensure nothing goes wrong is known as a radon manometer.

At Absolute Radon Safety, we’re proud to offer the very best radon mitigation systems to clients throughout Aurora and nearby areas, offering the highest-quality radon fans and pipe materials to ensure this harmful substance is not present at high levels in any space we’re working on. Our systems stay out of the way and do not impact your day to day life, another major benefit.

What is a manometer, and what role does it play in a radon mitigation system? Here’s a basic rundown.

Radon Manometer Basics

Some people who have radon mitigation systems in their homes will already be aware of the radon manometer, which refers to the clear curved tube that’s often mounted near the top of the mitigation system’s pipe. The manometer has colored liquid at the bottom, and is attached to the pipe itself.

The purpose of the manometer is to display the level of air suction taking place within the radon mitigation system. The colored liquid represents atmospheric pressure, with the highest level of suction being at the top of the manometer and the lowest level at the bottom.

To be clear, the radon manometer is not reading the radon levels within your home – it’s simply measuring the suction taking place within the system. This information can be useful for homeowners who want to monitor their system and make sure it’s functioning properly, as well as for technicians who are working on a mitigation system to ensure everything is running smoothly.

How to Read and Interpret a Radon Manometer

As one of our installers will explain to any client who is having a radon mitigation system with a manometer installed, the expectation during normal operations is that one side of the colored liquid on the manometer will be much higher than the other. This indicates that suction is taking place and that the system is functioning as it should.

If the two sides of liquid are at the same height, however, this is a sign of a problem with the suction. It indicates that there is a low level of suction within the system, and could mean that the radon fan is not working properly. In this case, our team should be alerted so that they can investigate and take corrective action if necessary.

For homeowners who want to keep an eye on their system, it’s important to remember that a high level of liquid on the manometer doesn’t necessarily mean that the radon levels in their home are high. The manometer is simply measuring the suction taking place within the system – not the levels of radon present.

Manometer is at Zero

Next to the manometer is a number that indicates the level of suction taking place within the pipe — when liquid levels are far apart, as they should be, this number will be relatively high, and well over zero for sure.

When the liquids are even, however, this number will show zero. Here’s what to do if you notice this:

  • Verify tube connection: First and foremost, it’s possible your manometer reading is due to the flexible tube that connects the manometer to the pipe. Before doing anything else, check to see if this is the case, and try to pop the tube back in if possible. If you have a spare tube, try swapping it out and see if the problem goes away.
  • Listen for airflow: Another possible issue here is that the fan in your radon mitigation system has turned off, often due to a short-circuit or power outage. If you’ve ruled out the tube connection and you can’t hear the fan running, it’s likely that there’s a problem with your fan — you may need to reset a circuit breaker, for starters. It’s also possible that the system’s switch has simply been unplugged, so check around your house for anything that may have been accidentally bumped.
  • Low pressure: If the fan is on and you can hear it, but the manometer is still at zero, there may be a low-pressure issue with your system. This could be due to clogs in the pipe, a faulty fan, or other problems. In these cases, it’s time to call your radon mitigation partner for assistance.

Readings Changing With Time

Generally speaking, if your mitigation system and manometer were installed properly, the readings should not change all that much over time (minor alterations are expected). However, if you notice that significant changes keep happening, there are some simple troubleshooting steps to make sure the manometer is working properly:

  • Pull tube out: Pull out the flexible tube from your pipe, meaning the manometer is no longer connected to the pipe.
  • Take reading: At this point, the liquids should be even and your reading should be zero. If this is the case, your manometer is calibrated correctly.
  • If this is not the case, the liquid was likely “bumped” and the manometer may need to be re-mounted. Call our team for assistance here.

However, as we noted above, it’s common for readings to vary slightly through the year. Any changes under 0.4″ on your readings shouldn’t be much of a concern.

For more on radon manometers and how to read and interpret them, or to learn about any of our radon mitigation or radon testing services in Aurora or nearby areas, speak to the team at Absolute Radon Safety today.

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