Radon

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Tim L, May 21, 2003.

  1. Tim L

    Tim L Second Unit

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    I am soon to be buying a new home and I just found out that he radon test we set up (cannisters) did not pass- the levels were at 6 (4 is considered ok- but not great) i was wondering if anyone has any experience with this- and what is the best remedy to lower the levels- or is it considered to much of a health risk and should I forgo the purchase of the house - since I plan on spending some considerable time in the basement (workshop-gym etc.) any information much appreciated
    TimL
     
  2. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    If the house has been sitting unoccupied for a few weeks or months, then this may be normal. Radon levels tend to accumulate in unoccupied houses because doors and windows stay shut, and the HVAC doesn't run.

    Still, it is wise to be concerned, especially if you plan to spend time in the basement. The city's housing inspection authority should be able to help you. Contact them and see what they advise.
     
  3. Tim L

    Tim L Second Unit

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    Yes the house is new construction- so its pretty much sealed all the time (unless the contractor is in there) also I've read about radon sealer you can apply to the basement- kind of like a concrete sealer I assume- has anyone had any expereince with this?
    TimL
     
  4. Michael Pineo

    Michael Pineo Stunt Coordinator

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    I recently bought my first house. The radon tests came back around 9 I believe. Since this wasn't a new home, we simply had the seller install a radon mitigation system. It is pretty unobtrusive and brought the radon levels down to .2. I'm not sure of the cost, but I think it ranged from about $800 to over $1000. We also spend a lot of time in the basement (kid's playroom and my new home theater [​IMG] ), so it was important to us.

    Good luck with your new home!

    MikeP
     
  5. Tim L

    Tim L Second Unit

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    Michael, does it consist of a pipe system running from the basement to the roof? It seems this is the most popular method I have been reading about- the thing I don't like is the added cost of running 24/7 and the filters and yearly maintenance- (its worth it though) . I was also concerned of how the thing looked? Does your run on the outside of your house- and does it take added space in the basement? sorry for all the questions
    TimL
     
  6. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    My understanding is that Radon is serious, but manageable for a reasonable cost.
     
  7. Michael Pineo

    Michael Pineo Stunt Coordinator

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    Actually, I was worried about how it would look, but it isn't bad at all. They installed in in the basement in a corner near the oil tank, so it is not in a "lived in" area of the basement and doesn't take up more than a couple square feet. It is just a white pipe(I guess that is called PVC?) that comes out of the foundation and disappears out of the side of the house. On the outside, the pipe goes into a slightly larger section that contains a fan, and then the pipe goes up the side of the house. It comes out of the house right next to the central air conditioner, so again, it is in the perfect spot to keep it out of sight.

    They also can have it go up the inside of the house (like through a closet into the attic) and vent it that way. Then all you would see would be a small pipe coming out of the roof. The downside to that is that you apparently can hear the fan going constantly. That wouldn't bother me (I find the noise of a fan to be soothing), but my wife didn't like the idea.

    From what I was told, the cost to run it is negligible, and the maintenance is minimal. When I consider how much time my 2 and 6 year olds spend in the basement, it is definitely worth it.

    I did a lot of reading about Radon when the results came back, and what I found was pretty vague. What it seemed to boil down to was that it is believed that it might contribute to lung cancer, but it didn't seem like there was any solid proof of that. So, I guess it is up to each individual to decide if it is worth doing something about. It was a no-brainer in my case, since it didn't cost me anything, and it really is very unobtrusive.

    Good luck. I hope you find an acceptable solution.

    MikeP
     
  8. Tim L

    Tim L Second Unit

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    Sounds like I may take that route- with going outside the house -unlike you I hink the fan noise would drive me crazy. I have a so-called expert looking into tuesday-hoefully this can be resolved- thanks again for your responses.
    Tim
     
  9. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    In my experience as a real estate atty, sellers are generally pretty willing to remedy a radon problem. Anyone savvy is going to test for it, and in many jurisdictions they have an obligation to inform prospective purchasers now that they know about it. So they're going to get stuck with it anyway and might as well keep you on the hook. Anyway, insist that a) the seller remedy it and b) you're involved in HOW it's remedied so they don't do a halfass job of it. Then have it retested to verify the remediation worked. If you don't have an attorney, retain one now and get this all in writing. Don't rely on the broker to do it for you; the broker is not working for you but is working against you.
     
  10. Jim_C

    Jim_C Cinematographer

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    There were unacceptable levels of radon in the house we bought. We had the seller put in a mitigation system. I believe it cost around $1500 here in MA. White PVC goes out at the rim joist to the exterior and runs up to the roof.

    FYI, I don't remember the exact issues with radon but I believe one of them dealt with the brain. I don't want to be an alarmist but you should take radon seriously and check into the issues.

    Don't freak out over this, it can be dealt with relatively easily. Do deal with it, though.
     
  11. Tim L

    Tim L Second Unit

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    Mark, I did insist that the contractor take care of this- he is dancing around the issue a little- saying he wants to conduct another test ( because during the first test there was a small hole in the floor for the water to come in) But I have talked to several people about this and they said it wouldn't matter- the contractor just doesn,t want to pony up the money- so we told him and documented it in a letter to his and our attorney.
    Jim- I am in MA also- seems like a common problem from alot of homeowners I have talked to around the area. thanks again
    Tim
     
  12. Jim_C

    Jim_C Cinematographer

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    I'm not sure but I remember being told that radon is an element and is a problem because it out-gasses from bedrock. NE is pretty damned rocky if I remember my Physical Geography classes in college. We have a lot of it in the very back of our lot so I imagine there is an awful lot of it under and around the house. We had a pretty high rating in our test.

    The contractor is full of it. Keep doing what you're doing, press the issue and document everything.
     
  13. Brian Kleinke

    Brian Kleinke Supporting Actor

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    We ran multiple tests including a continuous one before we bought our house, Our measurements varied from 16 to 32... quite a bit higher then 4 [​IMG]

    At the previous homeowners expense we had a sub-slab filtration system installed (the white pipe from the floor out the garage roof with a vacuum)

    It's definitely something that should be fixed, since if you don't fix it now you'll likely have to fix it when you sell the house. Radon is a single atom gas which can pass through concrete, walls, wood etc. Plastic and other sealants can seal it out. Also it's got a half life such that it's constantly being recycled ever few days which means if you can seal it out you will know if your successful soon afterwords.

    I'd take is seriously since it's the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer (if you don't smoke and you develop lung cancer the odds are good it was from radon). Even at the so called safe level of 4 it will still result in Lung Cancer for 2/1000 people who don't smoke and live it the house for a life time.

    The EPA has tons of good info, here's a great article about fixing radon http://www.epa.gov/iaq/radon/pubs/consguid.html
     
  14. Lee L

    Lee L Supporting Actor

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    Tim, stick to your guns. The contractor is certainly trying to get out of paying and if he doesn't pay to install a remediation system, you will or you you won't be able to sell the house, notwithstanding any health effects while you are there.
     

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