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What is Radon?

What is Radon and how do I know if it is present in the home that I am about to purchase?

1. What is radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring, carcinogenic, radioactive gas that’s formed from the breakdown of uranium. It’s found in rocks, soil, and water.

You can’t see or smell radon. The only way to know whether it’s in your home is to test for it. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined, however, that radon levels above 4 picocuries per liter or higher [known as the action level] in the home – and the level at which attention, or “radon mitigation” is needed.

2. How does radon get in homes?

Radon gets in homes through cracks in the foundation and walls. Radon can also enter through openings around water pipes, gas pipes, sump pumps, and drains.

If radon is in a home, it’s generally in the basement or crawl space, and in lower levels. Radon risks increase in winter when homes are typically sealed up, keeping in any radon that might have entered the home.

3. What should sellers do to test for radon?

If you’re selling your home, it’s a good idea to test it before you put it on the market. That way, if your test reveals a radon problem, you can take care of it before it scares off buyers. Buyers should also test for radon when going through the inspection process. Many home inspectors provide radon testing services, so be sure to ask your home inspector if they can provide testing for you when inspecting the home.

4. What are some concerns sellers might have about radon?

If elevated levels of radon are found in the home, don’t worry, it can be fixed. Just look for local radon mitigation contractors in your area and obtain quotes on having the home mitigated for radon levels. This can cost anywhere from about $800 to $2,500.

Once you have mitigated and reduced the levels in the home, retest to document the new safer levels and be sure to inform potential buyers that you have mitigated the home for radon and the results of testing.

5. What should buyers ask about radon?

In many regions, such as up here in Northwest Montana [Kalispell and surrounding areas] it is common for a buyer to perform a radon test alongside the home inspection. If the home tests above the action level of 4 pc’s, then it can contingency of the purchase contract to have the home mitigated for radon or to possibly back out of the purchase deal.

6. What should buyers know before buying a house that tested high for radon?

If you found a house you love but it tested high for radon, ask the seller to mitigate the radon to acceptable levels and provide results.

The bottom line… The vast majority of homes don’t have a radon problem, but if a home does have a problem, well then the results can be quite serious to a persons’ health. It’s worth the small investment to identify any radon issues and address them in a timely manner.

 

Your Home Buying Checklist

House Hunting Checklist

House Hunting Checklist

Looking for a new house in Montana? Use this house hunting checklist.

Home Improvement Indoor Plants

7 Plants that Improve Your Home’s Air Quality

Clouds of dark gray smoke emitting from tall buildings, surrounded by a never-ending stream of cars and trucks. That’s the sort of image the average person will most likely conjure up when being asked to describe air pollution. While this image of air pollution is both truthful and threatening, many people don’t realize that it doesn’t accurately depict the worst air quality you are likely to experience on a daily basis.

So, where is the worst air quality? Maybe in your own living room. That’s right. Your own sweet humble abode could be contaminated with stagnant and poorly ventilated air. Trapped with nowhere to go, this air wreaks havoc on your home and your health with its invisible cloud of toxicity.

In fact, according to the EPA, indoor air pollution levels are generally 2 to 5 times greater than outdoor pollutions levels. Unsuspecting culprits such as furniture, candles, air fresheners, chemical-laden household cleaners, and even printers are all combining to make your home a pollution playground.

Depressing news: is there any way to remedy it?

Yes! It’s Mother Nature to the rescue.

As it turns out, there are several different types of plants that can act as natural air filters for your home!

How so?

When plants absorb carbon dioxide, they also do us a major solid by taking in some of the other nasty particulates from the air at the same time. Tiny microbes present in certain plant’s soil also work to clean the air, according to NASA.

Not to mention plants also make for some nice home decor.

Let’s take a look at the top seven plants that make for the best natural air filters.

1. Boston Fern

The Boston fern reigns supreme when it comes to tackling formaldehyde, a byproduct of chemical based cleaners and paints, among other things.

And it also does a pretty killer job at tackling benzene and xylene, pollutants that exist in car exhaust that like to creep indoors from attached garages.

These plants are a little high maintenance, but caring for them is definitely doable.

They love moisture and prefer to be watered on the regular. This can be daily, depending on the moisture and humidity levels in your home.

Boston ferns thrive in high humidity, indirect light, and a good soak down once per month.

2. Spider Plant

If you’re just starting to test out your green thumb, spider plants are a great place to start. Honestly, you kind of have to try to kill these plants.

Spider plants do a great job of combating some of the most common household air pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene, a solvent used in the printing, rubber and leather industries.

These plants are also pet-friendly and are just about as easy to regrow as they are to keep alive. All you need to do is cut off one of the “spiders” and place it in a new pot.

Spider plants love cool to warm temperatures, indirect sunlight, and dry soil.

3. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is one of those plants that has so many superpowers it practically deserves its own post.

This easy-to-grow succulent helps your home say goodbye to both formaldehyde and benzene.

It can do a lot more than just clean the air, however.

Aloe vera can also help heal cuts and burns, soothe skin irritations, alleviate constipation, moisturize the hair and scalp, aid in digestion, and boost the immunue system. All you have to do is crack open one of the leaves and make use of the gel inside.

In fact, people have been making use of the aloe vera’s magical powers for thousands of years. Egyptians even referred to it as the “plant of immortality.”

This hardworking plant loves the sun and makes the perfect piece of decor on a coffee table top or a kitchen window.

4. Peace Lily

Don’t be confused by its name. This plant is anything but peaceful when it comes to doing away with harmful air pollutants.

The peace lily is capable of removing three of the most volatile organic compounds (VOCs)- formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene, and it also does a pretty good job of fighting off toluene and xylene, compounds found in many household industrial products.

Another relatively low maintenance plant, the peace lily only requires some shade and weekly watering to thrive. What’s more, this plant gives you a friendly reminder when it needs watering by drooping its petals.

Be aware, however, the leaves can be poisonous to pets and children.

5. Chrysanthemum

Looking to give your home a splash of color?

Enter the chrysanthemum. A pretty plant that’s not afraid to go to town on some formaldehyde.

Choosy about the color scheme of your home?

You’re in luck with the chrysanthemum. This plant comes in nearly every color of the rainbow other than blue. Just double check when you’re buying that you’re getting the indoor variety and not the garden variety, as the garden one isn’t easy to maintain indoors.

These bright flowers are huge fans of bright sunlight and low humidity. Just make sure to water them under the leaves to prevent fungal infections.

6. English Ivy

Many gardening pros will warn to stay clear of the English Ivy for outdoor use, as it has a frightening ability to tear off gutters and damage your home’s exterior.

But bring it inside and it chills out. This plant can filter out formaldehyde and also reduce airborne fecal matter particles.

It’s ability to climb as it grows also makes it an excellent decorative piece.

The English Ivy loves moist soil and about four hours of sunlight per day.

7. Weeping Figs/Ficus

Native to Southeast Asia, the ficus also thrives indoors and can even grow up to 10 feet tall!

This plant helps fight pollutants that are typically found on carpeting and furniture.

The ficus prefers bright, indirect light, and can easily be transported outside when the weather conditions are warm enough.

Natural Air Filters, The Bottom Line

While these natural air filters can certainly make a dent in your indoor air pollution problem, it is always a good idea to invest in some man-made quality air filters as well.

Have you used any of the plants on the list as air filters for your home? Tell us about it in the comments below!

 

{source: articlecity}

Tankless Water Heater Systems

Tankless Water Heater Repair and installation For Your Home

We all know hot water is very much a necessity. Most of us have water heaters at home and do not give it a second thought, we just assume we will have hot water on a daily basis until…you are standing in the shower and the water goes cold because someone in the other part of the house decides to turn on the water, trying to get the dishes done after dinner and no hot water or we get ready for that therapeutic evening bubble bath so we can unwind or that morning shower to get us going and there is no hot water. If this sounds familiar it may be time to consider that tankless hot water tank.

Let’s discuss the advantage’s of replacing your old hot water tank with a Tankless water heater. Have you found yourself scratching your head when the electric bill comes, most of us have. Depending on your household size and use, your conventional hot water tank can even drive your electric bills through the roof.

Did you know that most conventional heaters make up for almost 20% of your household energy consumption. Think about this for a moment 20% is a lot of consumption when you begin thinking about the different household items that make up your electric bill…clothes dryers, stoves, heat, washing machines, lights, hair dryers and the list goes on. So when you think about it on this level 20% for the use of hot water is quite a bit of your electric bill. This is why if you are a conservative or a home owner that simply wants to save money and enjoy effective water heating consider switching to different system. It may be time for to try using a tankless water heater.

With electric bills soaring and people becoming more eco- friendly there are many people now considering having a tankless water system. Do you believe a tankless hot water system is right for your home? There is no reason why it should not be. The reasons for having a tankless versus not having a tankless system certainly outweighs the disadvantages.

Let’s review some of the reasons why installing a tankless heater could be very beneficial:

  • Tankless hot water heaters are energy efficient. You can cut your heating cost to up to 30%. Now think about this for a moment…If your hot water is costing you up to 20% on a conventional hot water tank and your saving up to 30% on a tankless hot water system and the tankless is also eco -friendly well, this sounds pretty beneficial.
  • Water Heaters” work differently from the conventional water heaters. With a Tankless water system the water is heated only when it is needed. When you turn on the faucet that is when the Tankless heating system kicks in and at the same time the water is heated (using a heating element). That is why a Tankless hot water system is also called “Instantaneous or Demand. “
  • With tankless water heaters there is constant flow of hot water, so this allows everyone in your home to have hot water at the same time, wow….no more being deprived of hot water in your home. It does not matter whether two or more faucets are running at the same time. But keep in mind speak to your professional plumber so they can advise you on what you may need as far as a whole house type of heater or what your options are by installing two or more of this type system to meet instantaneous hot water demand.
  • Tankless water heaters are safer because the system does not store water that can be a breeding ground for bacteria such as Legionella. Keeping the water temperature at an appropriate temperature is important to keep these type of bacteria’s from thriving.

Preventive maintenance is still periodic same as a conventional heater but the cost is lesser. The next great advantage of a Tankless water system if you do what the manufacturer requires, it can last up to 20 years and still maintain its efficiency.

{source: articlecity blog}