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  1. #1
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    Jun 2010
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    Radon

    Any fellow HVAC professionals offering radon services? I just received my state certification today.

  2. #2
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    Confused

    Quote Originally Posted by TimVogt View Post
    Any fellow HVAC professionals offering radon services? I just received my state certification today.
    jeeeez that was big in the 80's then nothing, i guess it's making a come back!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimVogt View Post
    Any fellow HVAC professionals offering radon services? I just received my state certification today.
    We put in a few radon fans per year. Do you do the testing or sell them a kit?

  4. #4
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    My certification is for testing and mitigation. I decided to try it after hearing a neighbor's house tested high and testing my own. After my results showed high levels, I found out no one in the area offers the systems. The closest mitigator is 35 miles away.

    I currently rent two continous monitors.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimVogt View Post
    My certification is for testing and mitigation. I decided to try it after hearing a neighbor's house tested high and testing my own. After my results showed high levels, I found out no one in the area offers the systems. The closest mitigator is 35 miles away.

    I currently rent two continous monitors.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimj View Post
    Tell us more!
    I hope there will be much to tell!

    It will take advertising to raise public awareness, but I feel it will be a needed service to provide. The EPA is discussing a plan to test/mitigate all government buildings and start a public awareness campaign.

    According to the EPA 21,000 people in the US die each year from radon caused lung cancer. I don't know how they determine this.

    Radon testing and mitigation seems to be a natural fit for HVAC pros.

    We will see.

  7. #7
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    Over here in Eastern PA, where the radon hype started when a TMI worker set off contamination alarms going "TO" work, the radon business has dropped off to nothing.

    If your house is not under a negative pressure and not sealed too tightly, radon won't come into the house because it is an heavier then air gas. We have to pull radon into the house, which is why testing can vary by massive amounts just from opening a door or window.
    Government is a disease...
    ...masquerading as its own cure…
    Ecclesiastes 10:2 NIV


  8. #8
    Thanks all,

    i didn't know i was actually in a "high conc" zone

  9. #9
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    I used to be in the radon business, but I got out. I could write a book on why, but the bottom line is that I didn't believe I was providing any value to my customers. I had a run-in with EPA at a school where they wrote a letter that was in direct opposition to their published material that scared the school and parents enough that they *removed* free-standing HEPA filtration systems in classrooms.

    The alleged death statistics are from models. One synopsis I read of the causes of lung cancer managed to account for as many as 117 deaths for every 100 people who died. I guess they counted some people multiple times.

    From the public summary of the BEIR VI report: "Perhaps one-third of the radon-attributed cases (about 4% of the total lung-cancer deaths) would be avoided if all homes had concentrations below the Environmental Protection Agency's action gudeline of [4 pCi/L]; of these, about 87% would be ever-smokers. It can be noted that the deaths from radon-attributable lung cancer in smokers could most efficiently be reduced through tobacco-control measures, in that most of the radon-related deaths among smokers would not have occurred if the victims had not smoked." (From Health Effect of Exposure to Radon BEIR VI page 19.

    So if I can save 1/3 of the people who allegedly die by spending billions nationwide, or I can save most of 87% by convincing people not to smoke (or accept their risk if they choose to do so), what should I do?

    According to CDC somewhere between 100,000 and 365,000 people die per year because of obesity. I can save them money on food, make them feel better, and add more years to their lives if I can convince them to eat better and exercise more.

    The number that allegedly die from the flu is 35,000 or so per year. While not a scientific study, we noticed that student sick days dropped by over 50% in a December to December comparison without the HEPA filtration in the classroom during the first December, compared to with it the second December (which was a year full of news reports of higher than average flu cases).

    The guy I studied under for my radon certification and the state's government guru (who must both be very concerned about lung cancer, right?) went out to have a cigarette together during breaks during training sessions I attended.

    EPA's risk model assumes that you are exposed to the level of radon in question for 18 hours per day for 70 years.

    Bernard Cohen did a study to see if the "linear no threshold (LNT)" model EPA uses was valid. He concluded that it was not. In fact, he found that across the country counties that had above average radon levels had below average lung cancer deaths. Google radon and hormesis for some interesting ideas. Dr. Cohen did not claim any proof that radon was good for you, he simply concluded that the LNT model was invalid.

    Ultimately, after a lot of research, I decided that I was doing virtually no good for my customers.

    I am getting ready to install and ERV in my home with the exhaust coming from the bathrooms and the supply going into the living and/or sleeping quarters of my home. My intent is to balance it so that I maintain a very slight positive pressure in my home. I will lower CO2 levels without as large an energy penalty and prevent soil gases of any kind from entering my home. Anything that does sneak in will be diluted. I personally am convinced that this will do far more for my health and comfort than any traditional radon mitigation system.

    See what I mean about a book? And I left a butt-load of stuff I'd like to say out...

    An Ex-Radon Guy

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirkRoper View Post
    I am getting ready to install and ERV in my home with the exhaust coming from the bathrooms and the supply going into the living and/or sleeping quarters of my home. My intent is to balance it so that I maintain a very slight positive pressure in my home. I will lower CO2 levels without as large an energy penalty and prevent soil gases of any kind from entering my home. Anything that does sneak in will be diluted. I personally am convinced that this will do far more for my health and comfort than any traditional radon mitigation system.

    An Ex-Radon Guy
    This is precisely what I plan on doing in the house I recently bought, only with an HRV because I am in PA.

    Thanks for some great information and resources. Much of what you posted, I did not know.
    Government is a disease...
    ...masquerading as its own cure…
    Ecclesiastes 10:2 NIV


  11. #11
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    I am also am an old EPA certified radon mitigator. Depressurizing slabs works for extreme cases.
    Pressurizng the basement with main floor air reduces infiltration from the soil into the basement in most cases.
    Using a ventilating whole house dehumidier with enough fresh to provide an air change in 5-6 hours and a 150 cfm of mainfloor floor is very effective at reducing basement radon levels while maintaining <50%RH in the basement and rest of the home. This concept provides extreme postive pressure and fresh air throughout the home.
    An ERV/HRV will make the home wet during wet cool weather and excessively dry during cold dry weather. An unbalance HRV will not maintain positive pressure in a basement with a strong stack effect during cold weather.
    I have had some good ones. The best was an 2,500 sqft. earth home in WI. We reduced 35 pc to 2-3 pc with continuous 175 cfm of make-up with a whole house ventilating dehumidifier. Plus we eliminated a serious mold problem.
    All that was missing from the radon problems where the bodies. Everytime, I here of lung cancer death of a non-smoker, I get the ich to go test the home for radon!
    Good luck!!
    Regards TB
    Bear Rules: Keep our home <50% RH summer, controls mites/mold and very comfortable.
    Provide 60-100 cfm of fresh air when occupied to purge indoor pollutants and keep window dry during cold weather. T-stat setup/setback +8 hrs. saves energy
    Use +Merv 10 air filter. -Don't forget the "Golden Rule"

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by teddy bear View Post
    Everytime, I here of lung cancer death of a non-smoker, I get the ich to go test the home for radon!
    Good luck!!
    Regards TB
    Also from the BEIR VI report:
    "The committee's best estimate is that among the 11,000 lung-cancer deaths each year in never-smokers, 2,100 or 2,900, depending on the model used, are radon-related lung cancers."

    I personally am convinced after spending a lot of time and effort learning what I can, that the threat is vastly overblown, and not just because agencies account for 117 deaths for every 100 that occur. One of the skeptics battle cries is "where are the bodies?" because when you add up the death statistics from all the things that allegedly kill people, it's a lot more than the actual number of deaths.

    EPA wants you to mitigate if your radon levels are above 4 pCi/L, and to consider it if it's over 2 pCi/L.

    In my own home, after my research, I would not consider mitigating at less than 20 pCi/L, and probably wouldn't even at 50 pCi/L, although I would refresh my reasearch. I might even charge admission (that's a joke, son) - try googling "radon spa" just for fun.

    I have known people (at least 1 friend and 1 customer who wanted to protect her young family from radon, which she assumed was what was killing her) who, to the best of my knowledge, have never smoked and yet died from lung cancer. That breaks my heart. But I have known more who died from auto accidents and other items on the list of leading preventable causes of death. I won't go so far as to say radon mitigation is always a waste, but I will express very strong doubts in many, probably most cases. At the same time I have met people in the business that I think were very sincere in believing they were doing something good.

    By the way, if anyone is serious about doing this work, PM me and I'll sell you my continuous radon monitor and if you're really serious, my radon progeny test equipment (ERPISU) as well.

  13. #13
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    Since none of the contractors I have worked with over the past decade do radon mitigation, and I had noticed that there is little being advertized about radon these days, I figured the radon scare had run it's course. Evidently, there are some out there who still have radon mitigation product to sell and so they are keeping the radon issue alive.

    One such company was represented at the Comfortech Show this year. I was curious as to how I could teach contractors the value of radon mitigation as another tool in their sales toolbox. As it is, I have been teaching the use of HRV's to keep the houses slightly under pressure to alleviate ever having a radon issue. Since reading teddy bears post, I will also add whole house dehumidification with outside air to that sales toolbox for preventing radon while ridding the home of severe humidification.

    Anyway, I stop by the booth for radon mitigation and explain that I consult with HVAC contractors on prevention of radon in the home by pressurizing the homes. The gentleman I was talking with even agreed that positive pressure resolves radon issues.....but....contractors should be selling radon mitigation instead of preventing radon issues in the first place.

    OK....the idea is for this person to sell radon mitigation systems and the idea behind my services is to get contractors to have more ways of making money, including dealing with radon. So I tell this guy that there does not seem to be much radon mitigation in my area, where the radon debacle started. He corrects me by telling me there are many companies doing radon mitigation in my area. I come back with the fact that my HVAC contractors do not provide this service, and that I am advising them to use HRV's to dilute the stale air in the home while pressurizing the home. He then tells me that the radon mitigation companies are home inspection and dedicated radon mitigation companies.

    Now, I have already told this person that I am already advising contractors to use methods of preventing radon. I have told him that none of the HVAC contractors in my area are doing radon mitigation. He is in a booth at an HVAC show. When I ask him to give me reasons to advise HVAC contractors to mitigate radon rather then to prevent radon, he starts telling me how to sell against what I am already advising.

    I finally just took as much information as I could and left. I don't think he ever got my point. I don't think he ever truly understood that I am currently advising ways for HVAC contractors to sell against his product, but am willing to also advise using his product if he could give me a way to approach it as a benefit.
    Government is a disease...
    ...masquerading as its own cure…
    Ecclesiastes 10:2 NIV


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