Archive for June, 2012
Understanding the importance of radon abatement is crucial for residents of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that may pose serious health risks — and it tends to be found in the Minneapolis area. Due to the danger of concentrated radon gas, both residential and commercial property owners should be aware of testing methods and radon abatement procedures. Redirecting or eliminating the presence of radon from the home, office or other residential buildings can improve air quality and help prevent several forms of illness.
When You Should Implement Radon Abatement Procedures
Any populated building in or near Minneapolis should be tested for radon gas. This includes homes, apartments, office buildings, restaurants, stores and other busy locations. Radon testing kits can be purchased online or from a local hardware store, and their instructions are fairly simple. If test results show that excessive radon gas is present, you should contact SWAT Environmental professionals right away. If you wish, you can have these professional contractors perform the radon test as well for a more accurate reading. They can then assess the situation to determine the most appropriate ways to install radon abatement equipment.
Prevention of Radon Gas
Since radon gas is a naturally occurring result of the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and other natural materials, it is not possible to completely prevent its presence. This radioactive substance has been shown to be the second leading cause of lung cancer, only after cigarette smoking. The only effective solution for unsafe levels of this gas is radon abatement. The radon abatement process can drastically reduce the radon gas inside homes and other buildings by redirecting it toward the outside air, thereby substantially diluting its potency. The specific techniques and equipment necessary for this process can vary from one building to another; SWAT Environmental’s specialists will be able to select the best options for your house.
Radon Abatement Equipment and Procedures
Optimal radon abatement will depend upon such factors as the age, integrity and structure of the affected building. Newly constructed homes are generally more energy-efficient, making them semi-airtight and not as susceptible to radon gas; however, if they do become contaminated with the gas, the problem can be more difficult to rectify. Owners of older homes built with a crawl space may require a process called submembrane suction. A heavy, plastic sheet is placed under the house to cover up the soil. A fan and ventilation piping system are then used to redirect the gas outside of the home. For buildings with no access beneath them, some type of similar venting system will likely still be necessary. Sealing the cracks that let the gas in may also help correct the problem, although only in conjunction with a diverse radon abatement strategy. After SWAT Environmental completes the abatement process, have your house retested periodically to ensure the system continues to function properly.
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Believe it or not, more people die each year in Minneapolis from high levels of a radioactive gas called radon than from drunk driving. You cannot see radon gas, and you cannot smell it, but it exists at dangerously concentrated levels all over the Minneapolis region — with potentially deadly consequences.
How Are High Radon Levels Dangerous?
Radon is a gas that originates far beneath the ground; it then seeps up through cracks and breaks in the bedrock into the ground water and into the soil. Eventually it can rise into a home through cracks in foundation, potentially reaching dangerously accumulated levels.
Like many gases, it is colorless and odorless, and once it seeps into the air and begins to decay it can be deadly. When radon decays it produces tiny particles called radon daughters that have been proven to contribute to lung cancer when inhaled.
How Can You Protect Yourself From High Radon Levels?
The best way to protect yourself from high radon levels is to have your house or business tested for radon regularly. Home radon test kits are inexpensive and easy to find. There are two types of radon level tests that you can use. The first is a short-term test, which is the fastest means of determining whether the radon levels in your home or business are excessively high. This type of test usually takes two to three days to complete, but could stay in place for as many as 90 days.
The other type of home radon test is a long term test, which stays in the home or business for longer than 90 days and is generally operated through electret detectors as well as Alpha track detectors. This type of detector gives a more accurate reading and is more likely to give a year round estimation of the radon levels in the home or business being tested. However, if you are not comfortable with doing your own radon test or wish to ensure that your test results are completely accurate, you can hire SWAT Environmental to complete a professional test for you.
Correcting the Problem of High Radon Levels
The Surgeon General has stated that radon has been determined to be the cause of over 21,000 deaths each year in the United States alone and is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Some scientists believe that children are more at risk to the effects of radon than adults. Because children tend to have a higher respiration rate (they breathe faster than adults) they tend to breathe in more radon than adults. Regardless, if your house’s radon testing results are dangerously high, SWAT Environmental’s experts can determine how best to correct the issue. This will generally require the installation of a custom-designed mitigation system to pull any radon gas your home contains outside so it can be replaced with fresh air. Serious though the problem of high radon levels may be, this type of system can prevent it from affecting your family.