Radon-Big problem, easy fixes

By
Real Estate Sales Representative with Adams Realty

There are some radon dangers most have not thought of.  While most houses in RI are tested for radon in the air, few are tested for radon in the water.  Radon can be a danger in water if the water comes from a well or a public supply that uses a well.  Both radon in the air and water are pretty easy to cure.  Radon in the air is usually cured by a vent pipe system with fan, which pulls radon from beneath the house and vents it outside.  Water radon can be cured by a system installed just before the waters enters the home.  Here is the link to the EPA report:

 http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/citguide.html

Another danger just recently discussed is from granite counters.  I never thought of this, but now that it has come to my attention, it makes sense.  Since granite is natural rock, it could contain uranium which is what produces radon gas.  This is the quote from the EPA, "At this time, however, EPA does not believe sufficient data exist to conclude that the types of granite commonly used in counter tops are significantly increasing indoor radon levels".  Here is a link to their report on this:

http://iaq.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/iaq.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=5103&p_created=1212758208&p_sid=qQmTaU9j&p_accessibility=0&p_redirect=&p_lva=&p_sp=cF9zcmNoPSZwX3NvcnRfYnk9JnBfZ3JpZHNvcnQ9JnBfcm93X2NudD0yMSwyMSZwX3Byb2RzPTM3MCZwX2NhdHM9JnBfcHY9MS4zNzAmcF9jdj0mcF9zZWFyY2hfdHlwZT1hbnN3ZXJzLnNlYXJjaF9ubCZwX3BhZ2U9MQ**&p_li=&p_topview=1

 So, the best advice is test, test, test.  Either hire a professional to test or purchase your own kit.  Don't take it for GRANITE:-)

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Rainer
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Bruce Breedlove
Avalon Inspection Services - Colorado Springs, CO

Before you do a radon-in-water test you should first do a normal radon test in the house. If the house does not have elevated levels of radon there is no pressing need to test the water for radon.

If the radon test indicates the house has elevated levels of radon you may want to consider doing a radon-in-water test to determine if radon from water is contributing to the elevated level of radon in the house. The rule of thumb for radon-in-water is a radon concentration of 10,000 pCi/L in water will increase the radon concentration inside the house by 1 pCi/L.

Knowing both the radon concentration in the air and in the water will help the owner decide where to start their radon mitigation. Let's look at some examples:

Example 1: A radon test of the house shows a radon concentration of 12 pCi/L. A radon-in-water test was conducted on the well water and showed a radon concentration of 10,000 pCi/L. The well water is contributing only a small portion of the radon in the house (about 1 pCi/L out of 12 pCi/L). So the source of the bulk of the radon entering the house radon is from soil gas. Mitigation efforts should begin with the house (i.e., install a mitigation system).

Example 2: A radon test of the house shows a radon concentration of 12 pCi/L. A radon-in-water test was conducted on the well water and showed a radon concentration of 100,000 pCi/L. The well water is contributing a large portion of the radon in the house (about 10 pCi/L out of 12 pCi/L). Mitigation efforts should begin with the well water. If the radon concentration of the well water can be reduced to near zero the radon concentration in the house may drop to around 2 pCi/L.

For homes with well water (or other sources of water that potentially contain high concentrations of radon) it is best to perform a radon test only when the home is occupied. Water can contribute radon to the house only if it is being used. In other words, if a radon test is conducted on an unoccupied house (with no normal water use) the results of the radon test results will include radon entering the house from the soil but will not include any radon contribution from the water.

How does radon in water get into the air inside the house. Primarily by aerating or agitating hot water, e.g., taking showers, washing clothes and washing dishes. (A LOT more radon is released from 20 gallons of water that is sprayed out of a shower head than twenty gallons of water sitting in a tub because millions of small droplets have a MUCH larger surface area - when added together - than the surface area of the water surface in a tub.)

Mar 04, 2010 05:32 PM #1
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Rainer
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Alayna Berek

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