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||What is radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas created by the natural decay of uranium in the soil. It is odorless and invisible; therefore, you may not know that it exists in your home.
Why should you be concerned about radon gas in your home?
Radon gas has caused thousands of cancer deaths each year. In fact, it is reported by the Surgeon General that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. If you smoke and you are exposed to high levels of radon, your risk of lung cancer is dangerously high. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has considered levels higher than 4.0 pCi/L (Pico curies per liter) to be "high", thus action should be taken to reduce the level.
Colorado has one of the higher levels in comparison to many other regions of the world. Three out of every four homes in Fort Collins alone have shown levels of 4.0 pCi/L or greater. This is important information for you as a homeowner, buyer, or seller. In addition, the City of Fort Collins is reviewing an ordinance requiring mandatory installation of radon passive reduction systems on all new construction to go into effect in the near future.
What can you do to find out if you have a radon problem in your home?
The first step is to test. Radon tests can be performed by a qualified test company, or you can perform your own test. If you wish to perform the test on your own, tests kits are available at the Fort Collins Senior Center and at the City's Building and Zoning Department. If you wish to use a private test with guaranteed results, Aspen Construction is Colorado State certified and performs tests that meet EPA requirements.
How does the testing work?
Radon tests take a minimum of 48 hours to perform. The house being tested is to remain under closed conditions. The canister is placed in the lowest habitable level of your home (or first floor if over a crawl space). The test will be conducted for a minimum of 48-hours, no longer than five days. The time, date and location upon opening the canister will be recorded, as well as when the canister is closed. Results are usually back the next business day.
What should you do if your radon results are too high?
To reduce radon levels in your home it is necessary to install a radon mitigation system. To explain the system, it is best to explain how radon gas becomes a problem in your home. Radon exists in the soil naturally. Normally, the air can circulate around the surface and the gas can dissipate into the air. When a concrete slab is placed onto the soil (such as your foundation and slab), the radon gas is trapped. Since the air pressure in your home is lower than the pressure in the soil, your house acts as a vacuum, drawing the gas in through cracks and seams in the foundation. In order to be rid of the problem, all penetrations, cracks, and seams in your basement floor must be sealed. A hole is drilled into the concrete basement floor, then a vent system is installed, and a fan (if necessary) is placed in, to vent out the harmful radon gas.
If your home has a crawl space rather than a basement, it is necessary to seal the ground with a plastic membrane so that the gasses will not be pulled in. Then, a vent system can be installed.
Radon mitigation systems should be installed if levels exceed 4.0 pCi/L. It may be necessary to have the system installed if you wish to buy or sell a home. If you plan to stay in your home and your radon levels are high, you should consider installing a system for the safety of you and your family. Most systems take about a day to install.
What if you cannot afford to mitigate?
The City of Fort Collins offers a program called ZILCH. ZILCH is a loan program offered to homeowners who have radon levels in their homes at 4.0 pCi/L or higher. Inquire at the City Natural Resources Department (281 N College Avenue, 221-6312) to find out if you qualify for a zero interest loan, or stop by Aspen Construction and pick up an application.
Why should you choose Aspen Construction for your radon
Aspen Construction References
For more information on Radon, visit http://www.epa.gov/radon/
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