Tag Archives: radon levels

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. 

Getting The Most Value From Your Radon Mitigation System

When it comes to radon mitigation systems, not all systems are created equal. Here is Illinois, radon mitigation is a licensed profession by the State of Illinois therefore mitigation standards have been set and must be adhered to. With that being said ~ a system may meet all compliance standards but not pass the approval of the homeowner(s). 

Starting with some basics, a radon system must have a few basic necessities to function properly. They consist of suction point(s), a minimum of 3 inch piping, the right amount of pitch, a manometer, commonly referred to as a U-tube,  a radon fan, sometimes plastic sheeting depending on the needs of the home and other small hardware items  to assist in mounting the system properly. Lastly, what I feel is just as important is the craftsmanship and aesthetics of the system and how it will coexist with your particular home.

So what does all of that mean? Well for starters, Guardian Radon Mitigation will not put a discount system on a higher end  house. For that matter, we won’t install a discount system on a discount house!! System location, having unnecessary turns, the use of white pvc pipe vs aluminum downspout for exterior systems will all have an effect of the overall look of your system. They type of radon fan used deserves its own mention. How energy efficient if that fan? How much noise will it make? What type of warranty is offered? You want to take into consideration how you are currently using your home and more importantly, how may the home be used in the future??

Let’s turn our conversation to meeting local compliance standards. Be sure and verify that your contractor has the proper insurance and bonding in place and is registered to work in your community (if necessary). Is a permit involved? If so, did the contractor disclose that to you? Have they pulled the necessary permit(s) for your radon system? Call your local Village office to inquire about this. What about if you live in a development that is managed by a home owners association? Has the HOA approved your installation and type of technique used? Will your contractor work with your HOA?

It’s a bit more involved than just “price shopping.”  Most system installs will range between $800 – $2500 nationally according to the EPA. Drilling down a bit more, the majority of systems will fall between $1000 – $1200 for homes that have just one “footprint” (i.e. just a basement, or slab only etc.).  The take away is, when you are making your buying decision, base your decision on the whole picture and the lowest cost of ownership as well as best results – not just price.

We leave you with this:  “Price is what you pay, Value is what you get!” – Warren Buffet

quote-price-is-what-you-pay-value-is-what-you-get-warren-buffett-26797

Radon Levels and Renters ~ What Every Tenant Should Know

Unlike homeowners, many renters do not have the professional guidance such as a realtor or attorney when they are looking to sign for a new lease. Renters therefore infrequently will do their due diligence with regards to having any home inspection performed, or environmental testing such as a radon test prior to signing their lease. Here lies the problem ~ as a renter you may be signing for lease unaware of any potential dangers in the home or apartment. As of December 29, 2011 approximately one-third of Illinois housing was being rented (Source: IEMA Press Release)

Illinois passed a  “new” law on January 1, 2012 to help renters learn more about Radon levels in their home.  If the building that you are living in has been previously tested for Radon, the landlord is required to inform you in writing that a radon problem may exist. Prior to signing your lease, be sure and ask about this. If the home or building has NOT been tested, then conduct your own radon test either with a home test kit or licensed testing company. The IEMA recommends that all homes be tested below the third floor. Because Radon is a soil gas, the highest levels are likely to occur in the lowest levels. 

What can you do if you find elevated Radon levels in your place of residence?

Because radon mitigation is considered a remodel project and requires repairs to the building, it is often the landlord or building owner that would have to authorize having the repairs done – not the tenants. If your home has high levels of Radon there are steps that you as the tenant can take to see that the problem gets fixed.

1.) Inform the building owner in writing that the home has tested elevated for Radon 
Gas. Be prepared to provide a copy of the radon results. Ask for details from the owner on how they plan on fixing the problem. 

2.) If you live in an multi-unit building, share your information with your neighbors and encourage them to do their own testing. Remember, just because your unit has tested elevated, there may be other areas of the building that do not. Once others have confirmed, we recommend the same steps be taken. Present the information in writing to the building owner. 

Useful Tenant Checklist:

*Check the building that you live in. Has it been tested for Radon? If so, ask for the results in writing. If it has not, perform a test yourself or hire a licensed testing company to do so. 

*If your radon levels are at 4.0 pCi/l or higher, present to the building owner in writing with a request for further testing and/or installation of a radon mitigation system. 

*If your rented home or unit has elevated levels and you are in need of further assistance, contact the IEMA Radon Hotline at 1-800-325-1245

Lastly, with regards to Radon levels in any type of real estate transaction –  purchase, lease or rentals, Illinois has mandated a “disclosure law” only. Be sure and do your due diligence and protect yourself and your family. With this law now in effect, it is a step in the right direction for tenants in Illinois. 

*Special thank you to the IEMA for providing some of this content

Additional links:

http://www.iema.illinois.gov/HomePage_Content/PressRelease12_29_2011_RadonTennants.pdf

http://www.state.il.us/iema/radon/pdf/RadonGuideForTenants.pdf

 

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 Levels in Kendall County, IL

As  we’ve discussed many times before, Radon is a very real problem in many areas of the country. Today we want to delve in and look at our very own Kendall County, IL and learn about the current radon information made available to us and why this should be important to you and your family.

We have all agreed that Radon is a known Class “A” carcinogen and may lead to harmful health effects such as Lung Cancer. What becomes important is to have up to date information about your county and what to do about it if you should find that there is a problem in your home.

Graph of Radon in Kendall County, IL

Kendall County Radon Levels

The chart above demonstrates in the red section, that 52% of the homes within Kendall County have tested at 4.0 pci/l or higher, 20% of the homes read between 2.0 pci/l and 3.9 pci/l (yellow section) and lastly, 28% of the homes tested under 2.0 pci/l. For the average homeowner that is not under a real estate contract, most independent sources such as the EPA will advise mitigating your home if your reading falls within 2.0 – 3.9 pci/l. Remember, the lower your radon levels are, the lower your exposure and ideally your risk. **All of the radon information produced by state, local and national government assume a 70% exposure rate. That means, that you are in your home 70% of the time between sleeping, just being at home, weekends etc. 

*First an foremost, elevated radon is a very “fixable” problem.* If you have tested your home and discover you have a problem, the next step is to find a reputable Radon Contractor. Radon Mitigation as well as Radon Testing are highly specialized trades. Here in Illinois, Radon Mitigators and Radon Testers are required to be state licensed, however this is not the case in all states! With Radon being such a serious health threat ,selecting the right contractor is very important. Here are a few tips to consider:

Is the contractor licensed? You can find an Illinois state licensed contractor on the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) website.

Are they insured? Radon mitigation systems sometimes require alterations to your home. Make sure that the contractor’s insurance is up to date and they have the proper coverage for the scope of work.

Did you receive a written proposal and/or estimate before proceeding? You should always be given a scope of work, breakdown of pricing and any limitations or exclusions that may apply?

Did they provide a guarantee of their work? A qualified installer should be able to get to the root of your problem and address the issue at hand as well as have the confidence that the system will be functional and mitigated to the lowest levels achievable for your home.

Do they have references or reviews?? Be sure and do your homework!

**Are they experienced in what you need them to do?? This is a big one. Don’t fall for companies that will promote how long they’ve been in business or are a jack of all trades and master of none. The pertinent question is – how long have they been Radon professionals?? Do your homework. Although everyone needs to start somewhere, don’t get fooled with salesman talk.

Ask to see their license and know how to read it. For instance, my license number is: RNM2008209. That means, I have a Radon Mitigation Professional license, was licensed in the year 2008, and was the 9th person that year to be licensed.

How many installations have they performed? They should willingly provide this information to you and it can be validated with the Freedom of Information Act.

Have they pulled the appropriate permits to do the job? Radon Mitigation is not a “side job” kind of business. Any reputable contractor will have the appropriate permits for your install. If you are unsure if a permit is needed, call your local Village Hall to find out. 

Lastly, don’t make your decision on price alone. A lower price may indicate lower quality materials being used,  underpaid or unlicensed technicians working on your job and an overall lack of craftsmanship. 

Arming yourself with the right information and being a saavy consumer will put you in the lead. Don’t get caught by surprise. Please be sure and test your home. If you’ve tested in the past and it has been at least 2 years, test again. Staying “in the know” with your radon levels will provide the peace of mind for you and your family.

*Special thanks to the EPA and the IEMA for providing some of the radon facts above.

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.

 

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