Tag Archives: family

Fun Family Activities to Enjoy in Kendall County, IL

Let’s take a look at some family-friendly activities to enjoy around beautiful Kendall County, IL. Nothing says summer like packing a picnic lunch, grabbing some comfy shoes and headed out with friends and family to enjoy our local scenery and happenings!

1.) How about checking out your local park district???

Being from Oswego, IL, I’m still amazed how our local park district has grown and the services they offer to our residents. We love taking a dip in the pool and can’t wait to check out the newly renovated Winrock location. The park district also boasts several running trail and local parks for your enjoyment.

2.) Your local library

Your local library is not just about checking out awesome books anymore, our daughter participated in a drawing/sketching class this summer, also got a chance to read to some therapy dogs, attend an arts/crafts event and more….all FREE!! What a great deal!

3.) Ellis House Family Fun Nights

Come out and enjoy Ellis House & Equestrian Centers the first Friday of each month (not available on 4th of July) for face painting, pony rides, good ol’ fashioned tractor hay rides, nature trails, bon-fire and board games. In addition, they offer summer camps for kids ($), Pony Birthday Parties ($) and of course riding lessons ($)

4.) Silver Springs State Park

What a beauty practically in our own backyards. Enjoy the many hiking trails, have a picnic, do some local fishing boating (no gas motors), canoeing and canoe rentals, hunting and even camping. Open year around, Silver Springs offers great amenities and has plenty of cold weather activities too like cross country skiing, sledding, ice skating and more.

5.) Raging Waves

Forget fighting traffic trying to get up North, Raging Waves right in Yorkville, IL offers family fun at any level. Enjoy the lazy river, get your thrills on the gi-normous water slides, rent a cabana and relax!! ($$) Be sure and keep an eye out for any Living Social and Groupon deals as they run then often to save some money!

6.) Splash Pad in Oswego

Kids and adults alike can enjoy a spray of cool water on those hot days. Did we mention this was FREE?? Stop in for a few, run ’em around and wear them out. Isn’t that our job as parents?? LOL. Love, love, love this place

7.) Skate Parks

Oswego offers Chesterfield Skate Park and PrairiePoint Skate park. It’s a BYOB, bring your own boards and safety gear and enjoy. Parks are open from the a.m. until dusk. 

8.) Keller’s Farmstand

What a gem to have right here in town! Keller’s offers wonderful produce in the summer months, is definitely a family destination in the fall during harvest season. Love the hayrides, pumpkins, corn maze and more. Keller’s also works with local school districts and preschools during the school year to accommodate field trips.

9.) Movies in the Park

Check out your what your community has to offer. Oswego provides movies in the park during summer months. This is offered by the Oswego Cultural Arts Commission and offers a full line up for the season. Check them out on line or at the Village of Oswego website. Don’t forget your popcorn, lawn chairs, blankets and bug spray!!

10.) A Whole Host of Festivals!!

Saving what we feel is the best for last….all of the local festivals that are offered in Kendall County, IL. Did you make it to PrairieFest this year?? Just keeps getting better and better and definitely a local favorite. Any plans to visit Yorkville’s Home Town Days – always loads of fun and a great place to run into someone you know! Let’s know forget the Kendall County Fair. We love the magic show, animals and exhibits, of course the rides and the atmosphere of the communities that so many of us call HOME!

Get our and enjoy your family, friends and neighbors and great happenings here in beautiful Kendall County, IL. Signing off for now….and if you haven’t yet, be sure and test your home for radon gas!

 

 

Radon Mitigation

Radon Testing Options

Radon testing is big business in Illinois. On January 1, 2008, the Illinois General Assembly enacted the Radon Awareness Act. This was a huge step for the State getting the word out even further regarding the dangers of Radon gas. The law applies to residential real estate transactions on properties with no less than one and no more than four residential dwelling units. Of course as with anything, there are exceptions to the rule:

 http://illinoisrealtor.org/iar/newsreleases/releases/radon.html (easy to read press release!)

Although Guardian Radon Mitigation is not authorized to do radon testing (as it is a conflict with the State), our services very often go hand in hand with the testing profession. There are times when homeowners are conflicted with testing. They are unsure what is expected, how to go about it and the interpretation of the results. Well here goes some tips for having a radon test performed.

Option 1: You are not currently involved in a real estate transaction

As a homeowner your options are much more plentiful as you do not have the same restrictions that usually follow a real estate contract. 

Canister test: Canister tests are quick, economical ways for homeowners to test for radon. They are readily available at many local home improvement stores. Here is Kendall County, Il. they are offered at a discounted rate from the Environmental Health Division. For only $6 per test (current pricing as of June 19, 2014), you may purchase the test kit(s) and the subsidized pricing includes not only the actual kit, but also the lab results too. Another option for our residents in Illinois is to order one directly from the IEMA (State). They too offer reduced cost test kits from  various vendors. The item is shipped directly to your door and includes all material for testing and the lab fee too along with a detailed radon report. Here we’ve provided the link: 

http://www.state.il.us/iema/radon/MeasurementLabsPriceList.asp

**The one caveat we must mention ~ if you choose to utilize one of these kits, be sure and follow the instructions carefully. You cannot “set it and forget it” as they say. Radon has a half-life of approximately 3.8 days which means it continues to decay. Delaying the timing of your test kit will absolutely dilute the test results and provide too much margin of error.

Constant monitors: These monitors are really cool. They look very similar to a carbon monoxide detector and you just plug it in and let it do it’s job. I keep one of these plugged in at all times in my own basement. **I will add, I still have had my home tested by a professional to ensure I’m not getting a false reading. It has a numeric LED display, you can set it for short term or long term testing and it updates air samples once per hour. These run about $120 and can be purchased online. We’ve have not found any of them available at the retailers. Amazon offers many options here.Safety Siren

 

 

 

 

 

 

Professional Test (Continuous Monitor): Taking nothing away from this profession, hands down this type of test will provide you with the most comprehensive data and accurate readings for radon gas. The IEMA which governs the licensing of all radon testers and radon mitigators in Illinois go to extensive lengths to ensure that all testers are licensed, have accurate monitors (as they are required to be calibrated after so many hours of use), radon reporting standards and other compliance related standards. This ultimately protects you as the consumer.  These monitors take 4 radon reading per hour for duration of the test (never less than 48 hours). With the ample amount of data collected, you can be sure you will have accurate results. 

Option 2: You are currently involved in a residential real estate contract

Simply stated under these terms you are most likely dictated by the professional advice of your Realtor and/or Attorney. And I might add….listen to them! As a buyer you have the option of testing the home for radon gas. As mentioned in the beginning, the Radon Awareness Act dictates disclosure only, not requirement of testing. If you ask me, it’s pretty “cheap” insurance to have a test done in relation to the grand scheme of things. 

Often in real estate transactions, the verbiage will read “have the home professionally tested” and that is fantastic advice. It avoids any potential collusion or user error and gives you the information that you are looking for in an accurate and timely fashion. The radon report puts everything in perspective and your tester, realtor and attorney are always more than helpful interpreting the results. 

In closing, one cannot “assume” based on the home/structure whether or not the radon levels are elevated. Radon has been found in all 50 states. Testing is the only way to provide that information. Now that you are  “armed and dangerous” consumer, do your due diligence and don’t put off testing any longer.

**If you have enjoyed this blog, please consider sharing it on social media. Help Guardian Radon Mitigation get the word out about the dangers of Radon Gas. 

The Worst Excuses We’ve Ever Heard About Radon

Seems to be that the folks we talk to in the field fall into two categories. Believers and Non-Believers. Unfortunately many of us only learn about the effects of elevated radon gas when involved in a real estate transaction or personal tragedy. Then there is the rest of the world – and that’s a whole lot of people. Certainly everyone is entitled to their thoughts on the subject but today we thought it would be a good idea to share “The Worst Excuses We’ve Ever Heard About Radon.”

Excuse #1: “We’re okay because we really don’t even use our basement much.”

 In todays homes, there is duct work for the heating and air system. This duct work transfers the air around your home. In other words, basement air becomes upstairs air and vice versa! The best is when the person(s) of the home are very physically fit and we find all of this exercise equipment in the basement. Worse yet, that’s where the kids toy room is set up. You gotta wonder…..

Excuse #2: “My neighbors house tested fine, so we must be o.k.”

As logical as that may sound, radon may or may not affect homes around each other. The only way to know is to test your own home.

Excuse #3: “I’ve been in this house so long – what difference would it make now?”

If you hadn’t  gone to see a Dentist in a few years does it make sense to never go again?? Of course not. You will reduce your risk of Radon related illness as soon as you have a system installed. Therefore your exposure rate is much less the remainder of the time in your home reducing your risk.

Excuse #4: “If it’s so dangerous, why haven’t I heard about it more?”

Simply put….the State has no money to promote it. They do what they can but the information must be sought out, it’s tough to come across it unless you are looking for it. There has been a big push from local counties on radon awareness and state education. Unfortunately there have been a series of famous celebrities that died of lung cancer as non-smokers. This gets the most media attention of all. Celebrity illness usually gets the word out for at least a while. Donna Summer is one of the casualties: http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/18/showbiz/donna-summer-dead/)  

Remember Dana Reeves? Superman Christopher Reeve’s wife? (http://www.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/03/07/reeve.obit/)

 Now, Valerie Harper is fighting the terrible disease – and YES she is and always has been a non-smoker. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/american-lung-association-teams-up-with-valerie-harper-and-kellie-pickler-to-launch-lung-force-national-public-health-initiative-to-fight-lung-cancer-in-women-2014-05-13?reflink=MW_news_stmp)

What do these three have in common?? All non-smokers and all affected by lung cancer.

Excuse #5: “Radon, Schmadon, cancer is everywhere anyways.”

This is the worst one by far. Information is available but it’s difficult to get people to read about it on their own. And yes, unfortunately cancer is always in the news making headlines. But does that mean you should throw in your towel? Do you wash your fruits and veggies before eating them? Do you not wear you seatbelt because it’s highly unlikely that you will get into a car accident? Of course not. We as humans still take logical steps to ensure our health and safety – why not test for radon in your home?

Excuse #6: “No one ever worried about it before and now that I’m selling my house, the buyers just want more money out of me.”

Real estate transaction as a buyer or seller is a very emotional time for most. The truth is Radon Gas falls under health and safety issues – much like mold. It’s pretty realistic for the buyer’s to ask for a remediation. It’s not the same thing as asking for new carpet or light fixtures. This is the time to separate fact from fiction. It doesn’t have to stop the transaction and like we always say – it is a fixable problem.

Help Guardian Radon & Electric get the word out about Radon Awareness. If you’ve enjoyed this blog then please, share it on your social media sites.

 

 

Radon Mitigation

Radon Levels and the Value of Time

When speaking with customers on a daily basis, they often ask about their radon levels and how long they’ve been exposed. One client asked “I used to ride my bike in my basement as a kid, then moved my bedroom down there ~ am I doomed??” Our advice is always, don’t throw in the towel just yet. As an advocate for Radon Education, we want to provide information in relative terms for everyday use – so here it goes……

When we hear of radon readings, in the terms of pCi/L and the “number” what does all that stuff mean?? All of the radon information that is produced in the marketplace takes into consideration that you are exposed 70% of the time. So, we know that we spend our hours sleeping in our home, spend time before and after work and school, and spend time on weekends and other occasions. This type of lifestyle represents 70% of our time being spent in our homes. So let’s use the example of 4 pCi/l – by now you may know that the level of 4 is equivalent to a non-smoker smoking 8 cigarettes per day. Let’s look at a few different scenarios and potential impact.

Scenario 1:  You have a home based business or you are allowed to work from home or are a stay-at-home parents or retiree. In this case a radon reading of 4 pCi/l is much, much more significant – because you are home in excess of the average 70%. In this case, you may leave only to do errands and everyday occurrences. Your relevant exposure is going to be higher in this case therefore potentially having a much bigger impact on your long term health.

Scenario 2: You have a job that requires you to travel for work the majority of the week such as outside sales, training or a consultant to name a few. This type of person is actually exposed less than the 70% average for the pure fact that they physically are not home as much. Make sense??

Wrapping it all up –

Your time exposed is multiplied by the amount of radiation –  which equals your dose. So if you live in a home with 1 pCi/l for 7 years, it’s the same as living in a home with 7 pCi/l for 1 year. It’s the same amount of exposure in both cases. If you are fortunate enough to live in a home where your radon reading is 1.3 pCi/l to 1.5 pCi/l then your home is considered “average.” Keep in mind other radiation exposure such as X-rays for medical/dental, cell phones, even Cosmic radiation emitted from the atmosphere. Radon is the single greatest contributor of radiation to the average person and accounts for more than 50% of your families total radiation exposure of their lifetime. As always….test, test, and test. Once this is done – mitigate as necessary. This is definitely something that you can control and provide protection for your loved ones!!

*If you have found this content useful, please consider sharing it via social media! Help Guardian Radon & Electric get the word out!!*

*Special thanks to Radonawareness.org for providing some of the content above.

 

Radon Mitigation

Having Radon in your home – how dangerous is it really???

In our field of work, we’ve realized that most people have their first experience with radon when they are either buying or selling a home. Certainly, radon is a nuisance for sellers, and to buyers it’s a scary thought and many worry it will sway them away from the purchase of the home. Unfortunately, there is the rest of the world that won’t ever realize they have a problem in their home because there is  a lack of radon awareness in the market today.

Where does it come from?

Since radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas, you would never know it surrounds you unless you have a radon test performed on your home. Radon is a soil gas and it comes from the decomposition of Uranium in the ground below. It doesn’t matter whether your basement is finished or unfinished – really nice carpet or tile won’t stop it from coming in!

Radon may rise to elevated levels below any structure (i.e. home, building, school) and gets in through stack effect – very similar to how a chimney works. Areas of entry can vary. Perhaps is the cracks in your foundation flooring, drain tiles in your basement, your water supply, crawl spaces…and the list goes on.

Every area of the country has radon. Conditions and levels will vary from area to area so we cannot stress enough how important it is to test your home.

But we never use our basement….

Not using your basement as living space does not indicate that you and your family are “safe.” Most homes today are built with duct work.  As your furnace fan pushes the air of the home throughout heating and cooling – guess what happens to the levels of radon gas from your basement?? It’s being circulated to the living space of your home!

The most difficult part about all of this –  

In our field of work, we’ve realized that most people have their first experience with radon when they are either buying or selling a home. Certainly, radon is a nuisance for sellers, and to buyers it’s a scary thought and many worry it will sway them away from the purchase of the home. Unfortunately, there is the rest of the world that won’t ever realize they have a problem in their home because there is  a lack of radon awareness in the market today.

Where does it come from?

Since radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas, you would never know it surrounds you unless you have a radon test performed on your home. Radon is a soil gas and it comes from the decomposition of Uranium in the ground below. It doesn’t matter whether your basement is finished or unfinished – really nice carpet or tile won’t stop it from coming in!

Radon may rise to elevated levels below any structure (i.e. home, building, school) and gets in through stack effect – very similar to how a chimney works. Areas of entry can vary. Perhaps is the cracks in your foundation flooring, drain tiles in your basement, your water supply, crawl spaces…and the list goes on.

Every area of the country has radon. Conditions and levels will vary from area to area so we cannot stress enough how important it is to test your home.

But we never use our basement….

Not using your basement as living space does not indicate that you and your family are “safe.” Most homes today are built with duct work.  As your furnace fan pushes the air of the home throughout heating and cooling – guess what happens to the levels of radon gas from your basement?? It’s being circulated to the living space of your home!

The most difficult part about all of this –

To date, the efforts of the EPA, State Radon Programs, Radon Advocates and others have certainly gained momentum in reaching the public about the risks of radon gas in their homes. It’s remains difficult however to get people concerned that their home – their place of solace and security, is a potential source of this hidden danger. Furthermore, it’s very difficult to convince people that radon gas exposure is not a pass or fail type of issue. Risks exist with all levels of radon gas. Naturally, the higher the level, the greater the risk.

For more information –

Provided below are some independent links that can provide additional information for you ~

http://www.epa.gov/radon/

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/radon

http://www.state.il.us/iema/radon/RadonIllinois_nonFlash.asp

http://health.co.kendall.il.us

Guardian Radon Mitigation & Electrical Services, LLC is a licensed and certified Radon Mitigation contractor through the State of Illinois’ IEMA Division

Lung Cancer and Women

What does the word “Woman” bring to mind…..How ’bout partner, wife, mother, caretaker, lover,  schedule planner, gentle, fierce….I can go on and on. Women in general are so focused on taking care of others, they often put themselves last. Then why, oh why would you not test your home for Radon Gas – man or woman??? As parents and husbands/wives,  we buckle our children in the car, help them cross the road, wash their fruits and vegetables, make doctor appointments, dental appointments etc., etc., To all of the women out there (and men too) – we dedicate this post to focusing on YOUR HEALTH. Let’s take care of ourselves and in turn our families. Now let’s take a look at some eye opening information ~

Most people know that smoking can cause cancer, however many don’t realize that Lung Cancer can attack non-smokers too. In America between 16,000 and 24,000 people die of lung cancer each year. According to Cancer.org, if lung cancer in non-smokers had it’s own category ~ it would rank in the top 10 most fatal cancers in the U.S.

There seems to be an underlying perception that if one has been diagnosed with lung cancer, they must have smoked – right?? Well, not necessarily. And to top it off – why does it seem to favor women?? Let’s break things down and take a look –

  • Radon Gas – It’s the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers
  • Second Hand Smoke – According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 3,400 non smokers die of lung cancer from second hand smoke.
  • Gene Mutations – when gene mutation occurs, it contributes to the occurance of cancer.

**Since 1987 Lung Cancer has become the #1 Cancer killer of women in the United States. Alarmingly, 1 in 5 women diagnosed with Lung Cancer have never smoked. Lung Cancer in women surpasses breast cancer, ovarian, uterine, cervical, and vaginal cancers combined. According to Unitingagainstlungcancer.org among never smokers, women are more likely to develop lung cancer vs. men. It also attacks them at a much younger age.

That’s some sobering information above. Knowing that Radon Gas is a major contributor to the potential of lung cancer – why not test your home??? It really can be as simple as washing your fruits and vegetables! There is endless information about Radon Gas exposure and Lung Cancer. Call your local county, visit the Illinois Emergency Management Agency website (or just search Radon and your state). Get yourself educated and take any necessary action. Aren’t you worth it??

Christopher Bice, Founder of Guardian Radon Mitigation & Electrical Services, LLC is a licensed and certified Radon Mitigation contractor through the State of Illinois’ IEMA Division.

**Special thanks to  Uniting Against Lung Cancer and Cancer.org for providing some of this data

Radon and our children

In my many roles as a Radon Mitigation Professional, Radon Awareness Advocate, Blogger and Educator, my most important title is Father. From the day they are conceived to our last breath, they become our focus, our reason for everything and in my case, my greatest accomplishment! The tremendous responsibility that comes along with being a Father, a provider, a protector weighs on a heart. It was when my Wife was pregnant with our Daughter that I discovered Radon in my own home. Our home tested at 13.8 pci/L, that’s nearly 3.5 times the recommended action limit  – and from that day it changed my professional focus.

So are children at a greater risk from Radon? Multiple studies from the American Cancer Society, the EPA and the National Academy of Sciences tells us this, children’s’ lung shape and size differences may matter. We know that the respiratory rate for a child can vary greatly of that of an adult. With that being said, children are ingesting air at a greater rate than an adult. Studies argue back and forth with conviction as to the answer to this question. So let’s look at what we do know.

The science behind Radon Gas is the half-life of the radioactive element and thus the decay products that evolve. Half-life is described as the time it takes for the element to disintegrate to half of its original amount. Radon’s half life is 3.82 days and because the source of radon gas can be continually supplied, elevated levels may occur in homes and buildings. As radon decays it produces alpha particles.  Those alpha particles adhere to dust and as we breathe, we ingest these particles into our thin lung tissue.  In healthy individuals, our bodies will slough off the particles, cells split at a normal rate, but in some cases the alpha particles can remain and it continues to form radioactive decay causing tissue damage and abnormal cells. Over time, this presents the opportunity for lung cancer to develop.

That’s a lot of heavy science stuff. Your take away should be this. Radon Gas is a real problem in many areas of the country. Here in Illinois it is our Mother Nature burden to bear and can be found in every county. Remember it all starts with a simple test. If you learn of elevated radon levels in your home contact a Radon Mitigation Contractor for assistance. This is a fixable problem,  you do not need to live with elevated levels. Contact the State of Illinois’ IEMA division for a local professional near you.

Guardian Radon Mitigation & Electrical Services, LLC is a licensed and certified Radon Mitigation contractor through the State of Illinois’ IEMA Division.