Archive for June, 2012
Radon is a gas that is created naturally in the environment from radioactive elements found in the soil. In the open air, the amount of radon present does not cause concern. However, the Environmental Protection Agency has set upper limits for radon exposure because, at sufficient indoor concentrations, inhaling radon gas can cause cancer. Radon can be found in the soil beneath and around houses and other structures. The gas seeps up into the structure through cracks and spaces in the foundation, becoming trapped inside. Contaminated well water can be another source of radon gas.
The Need for Radon Abatement in Waukesha
Radon abatement is the process of decreasing the levels of radon in a home or business. Which methods are necessary depends on the seriousness and source of the problem and the structure of the house. The radon gas issue is considered severe in the Waukesha area, which has been designated by the EPA as a “High Radon-Potential Zone.” When homes in the area were checked for the presence of radon gas, the results showed that over half of them contained higher levels of the gas than those recommended by the EPA. This makes radon abatement especially critical in Waukesha and the surrounding regions.
Radon abatement is important because the presence of radon can cause serious health problems. Breathing radon-contaminated air damages the lungs, and can even cause lung cancer. In fact, radon gas is considered the top cause of lung cancer among those who do not smoke.
Basic Methods of Radon Abatement in Waukesha
Ventilation is a key way to reduce radon levels. Unfortunately, simply opening the windows is far from sufficient to correct a serious radon gas problem. Therefore, if your house is found to contain dangerous radon levels, you should have SWAT Environmental’s radon specialists determine the best radon abatement systems to deal with your home’s issues. Often, this is accomplished through the use of specialized fans and heat exchangers that introduce outside air into the home, improving its circulation and reducing the amount of radon gas it contains. However, ventilation is often used in conjunction with other methods.
Since radon gas generally seeps up through the soil into the building, SWAT’s radon abatement professionals will likely also need to seal all openings and cracks around the foundation. In some cases, pressurization systems may also be necessary to keep radon gas from entering the structure.
If the radon gas is being introduced through the water system, it can be handled through a couple of different techniques. Filters or an aeration process can remove the radon gas before the water reaches the house. A device can also be installed on faucets to remove the gas as the water flows out of the tap.
Another method involves suctioning the gas from the soil itself to prevent it from getting inside. Suction methods include block-wall suctioning, sub-slab suctioning, sump-hole suctioning and perforated pipe suctioning. SWAT Environmental’s radon abatement experts can examine your home to determine which methods will be necessary to keep you and your family safe.
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Why You Should Check Your Radon Levels if You Live in Waukesha, Wisconsin
The Midwestern region and the northeastern coast of the United States tend to produce some of the highest radon levels found anywhere in the country. Radon is a colorless, odorless and radioactive gas that can cause severe health problems if its levels in a home are not monitored and corrected as necessary. Homes in the Waukesha, Wisconsin area often contain particularly high radon levels, averaging about 4.0 pCi/L even though the national average is about 1.3 pCi/L. The pCi/L unit of measurement is most commonly used to measure levels of radiation and radon.
Health Problems from Exposure to Excessive Radon Levels
Even though it can take years for illness to develop from radon exposure, the biggest risk of constant radon exposure over a long period of time is that of lung cancer. The symptoms of lung cancer caused by radon gas are no different from those for lung cancer caused by smoking. In fact, smoking is the only lung cancer cause responsible for more cases each year than radon in the United States. The long term risk of lung cancer, therefore, is not something to be taken lightly.
How to Tell if Your House Contains Excessive Radon Levels
If you are a Waukesha resident, the best thing you can do to protect yourself from this threat is first to have your home’s radon levels tested. You can purchase a home test kit to use yourself, or you can have SWAT Environmental’s professionals come to your home to perform a more accurate test. Currently, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends that action be taken to reduce radon levels in a home if testing shows that it contains more than 4.0 pCi/L.
What to Do if Your House Contains Excessive Radon Levels
If it has been determined that the radon levels in your home are excessively high, you will need SWAT Environmental’s radon mitigation experts to deal with the problem. A radon control system will need to be installed; this generally consists of a specialized pipe and fan network that can release the radon from the home back into the outdoor atmosphere, preventing it from being harmful. Simply sealing cracks in the foundation or basement can also help prevent the problem, although that alone is usually not enough to completely solve the radon issue. Of course, the specific steps that will be necessary to solve your home’s problem with high radon levels will vary based on a number of different factors, including the house’s size and layout and the sources of the radon gas.
The peace of mind that comes from knowing that the radon levels in your Waukesha home are within a low and acceptable range is priceless. The health of everyone who lives in your home is critical; that health can be safeguarded through proper radon testing and radon mitigation.