Sunday, March 4, 2012

Radon: Have You Been Tested?

When we moved into Casa Pena 2.0 I purchased a Radon Testing Kit from Lowes.  It was very simple to do: set the test kit out, wait two days, then send it away in the self addressed envelope provided.  A couple of days later I got an e-mail with our test results and a radon level I wasn't expecting: 7.2.

Casa Pena 2.0 already had a passive radon mitigation system installed when it was built so I went into this test thinking it would come back well under the 4.0 level that the EPA recommends as a safe level.  So after I got over the surprise of the high level I set out to research radon mitigation and companies that do the work.  I started with the EPA website and 1-800 number they provide.  They were no help what so ever - go figure. 
I was able to find the National Radon Safety Board's website and through them I was able to figure out that I could have the passive system turned into an active system to bring our air quality back to safe levels.  They also have a great search feature to find companies that are certified in your area.
We chose to work with Affordable Radon Mitigation out of Baltimore.  We got several quotes, all around the same price, but I liked that all of their workers are certified and they have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. 
They came in, gave us a quote of $550 to install the Radon Away fan on the pipe in the attic that will take our already installed system from passive to active.   

They installed the switch in the attic to turn the fan on and off:

In the basement, on the same pipe, they installed a Manometerthat will allow us to monitor the airflow and ensure the fan is working properly.

My inspectors were here doing a very good job of watching and asking questions:

While the crew was here we had them install a new sump pump.  The old one was very loud and word on the street (aka homeowners association meeting) the builder didn't install the best model and they have been known to fail. 

The guys got to work taking the old one out and installing the new one.  The model they installed is a commercial grade Zoeller Sump Pump.  They also installed a clear plastic covering over the sump so we can monitor the water level.  Before it was just a black plastic covering:

Before: Black Cover

After: Clear Cover

Included in the price of the radon mitigation is a new test.  We had to wait at least two days after the work has been completed to get an accurate reading.  The company ensures levels below 4.0 and will come back out for free if your reading is ever above that.  Our new reading was 0.4.  Now we can breathe a little easier.

We will be testing our house once a year to make sure our levels are safe and highly recommend you do the same.

1 comment:

1House1Couple said...

lol! now you can literally breath better :)

Good idea to have a clear cover over the sump pump.