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Key Terms Related to Radon Mitigation
Radon is a gas that is odorless, colorless and tasteless. It is considered to be a silent killer. Radon mitigation is something you should consider if you operate your own business or own your own home. You can hire a company or a contractor to do an inspection. The purpose is to test for harmful mold, chemicals and gasses. You can hire a specialist for the reduction and abatement of these harmful gasses. The following are key terms to help you when looking at radon abatement services.
ALARA - Acronym that stands for as low as reasonably achievable. This is the industry standard for the abatement of harmful molds and gasses.
Permeability - This is a measurement of how easily gas or liquid can flow through a porous surface. This measurement will determine the action the mitigation company will have to take to reduce the likelihood for exposure.
Ventilation Rate - A measurement of how quickly outdoor air displaces the air in the house. This is a test that the company will perform when inspecting your home. A house with a low ventilation rate is considered a tight house. Ventilation rate may also be referred to as the air exchange rate.
Infiltration - Unwanted air or gas that comes in through the cracks and pores in your home. This occurs with the windows and doors closed. It may happen through the seals of the windows and doors or through other pores and cracks.
Alarm - A sensor that notifies you of unsafe radon levels.
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Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas. It is formed when uranium in the soil decays and then seeps upwards. There is a tendency for radon to become trapped in buildings.
Because radon increases the risk of lung cancer, especially in individuals who smoke, the testing of homes is commonplace. Radon levels of above four picocuries per liter of air are considered actionable, whilst over eight suggests an urgent need for reduction.
Radon mitigation techniques are within the reach of the skilled DIYer and kits are available. However, for most home owners, hiring a contractor is the better option. A radon mitigation company will determine the best course of action. It is also important for schools and businesses. Commercial and industrial properties should also be inspected, and advanced techniques used.
There are several techniques used to abate radon. One is the soil suction method, which draws gas from the soil beneath the house and vents it outside. Another technique is to use a fan to increase the air pressure inside the building. Sealing cracks, such as around windows, can also help...and can help with heating and cooling expenses. However, radon remediation can itself lead to a problem. Certain techniques, especially pressurization or forced air, can increase the build up of mold. Radon abatement should, thus, be considered as part of an overall picture including inspection for mold. It is sometimes done in parallel with the removal of asbestos or other toxic chemicals.
Radon detection can be done over a short period of time, of two or three days, or over a ninety day period. The latter is more accurate in the long term. The EPA currently considers no amount of radon exposure safe and suggests all homes be tested. Companies also repair existing systems and offer the specialist equipment and supplies for installation.