Category Archives: Guest Post

A Word on Radon Pressure Testing…

Does your home require radon pressure testing? Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and naturally occurring gas. Due to it being radioactive, it is considered to be the second leading environmental cause of lung cancer in the US. The first being cigarettes. Basic soil is the most common source, although, radon gas can also result from certain crushed rocks, or other sources under a home that allow radon gas to move.

Radon enters buildings through the ground via cracks and holes in concrete floors and foundation walls. The pressure of radon gas pushing up from the ground towards a structure can cause radon to enter buildings and homes. This is because the pressure of radon is greater than the pressure of the air in the structure (house, building, etc.) pushing down. Slight changes in air pressure, including barometric pressure and the action of exhaust fans, can affect radon levels; as a result, radon levels are always slightly changing. Once in the home, radon gas mixes with fresh air and is then distributed via the heating and cooling systems. Naturally, it mixes and flows with any typical air flow throughout the house as well.

According to the EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, radon mitigation should be done when radon levels in the lowest living space such as a basement (if it is used as playroom, office space, family room, etc.) equal or exceed 4 pCi/l (4 picoCuries per liter of air). Testing is recommended for the lowest living space for owner-occupied homes and the lowest space suitable for living in homes that are being sold. A basement can be considered living space if there is a playroom, exercise room or office in the basement. Again, the focus is livable space, a basement in a 19th century farm house with a dirt floor and five foot ceilings would not be considered livable space, given this example, radon tests would be conducted on the first floor of such a home.

Should a test conclude that radon levels exceed the acceptable amount, a mitigation system would be required. Radon Mitigation Systems consist of a type of vacuum under the home or building that pulls air away from living spaces and directs it up and outside. When installed properly, a mitigation system can reduce the amount of radon gas by 80-90%

The more you know, right?

Epoxy Flooring, A Highly Durable Flooring Option

Philadelphia epoxy flooring is a type of concrete floor coating mostly found in garages, shops, and basements. The chemical combination of a resin and a hardener creates a rigid plastic material that bonds to concrete, is strong, and extremely resistant to every day wear and tear.

Believe it or not, there is a difference between epoxy floor and an epoxy floor coating. The main difference is the thickness, or depth, of the epoxy. Anything less than two millimeters is generally considered an epoxy coating while two millimeters or more constitutes an epoxy floor.

Epoxy floors are incredibly strong that they can be used in the toughest of environments, including heavy duty work environments or even demanding industrial spaces. This type of flooring comes in a wide variety of colors and can even include flakes or colored chips to improve tractions and create a non-slip surface for improved safety.

While installing an epoxy floor or epoxy floor coating can be a DIY project, it is important to note that there is the possibility for failure. First and foremost, poor surface preparation can lead to a lack of adhesion. It is usually recommended to grind the concrete before applying an epoxy coating.

The environment should be clean, dry, and dust free before attempting to apply a coating to concrete surface that has been property prepared through grinding or shot-blasting. For basement applications, it’s extremely important to note that epoxy does not bind well in areas with high humidity. The area must be dry and free from leaking or dripping pipes.

The foundation, or substrate, that the epoxy is being applied to should be fairly strong. In older concrete surfaces, there is the possibility of the concrete breaking away from itself after the epoxy has been applied.

Using the proper primer is a must! Substrate that hasn’t been properly prepared or primed is an easy target for poor adhesion and general coating failure.

As always, there are loads of videos, articles, and information out there if an epoxy flooring is something you’re interested in, there is even a growing trend of interior application of this type of flooring for homes due to its high durability in heavily trafficked areas.

If this is beyond your DIY ability, there are many professional companies out there who handle these types of projects. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals or references!

Columbus Air Conditioning

Friendly reminder – it’s that time of year! Spring cleaning and Columbus Air Conditioning maintenance. According to Energy.Gov:

“An air conditioner’s filters, coils, and fins require regular maintenance for the unit to function effectively and efficiently throughout its years of service. Neglecting necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air conditioning performance while energy use steadily increases.”

One of the most important aspects of air conditioning maintenance is to routinely change your air filters. My husband keeps a small stockpile of new filters and changes them out regularly. He’s fairly obsessive about that and changing the batteries in our smoke detectors. I’m a lucky girl! 😉

Air conditioning units can be expensive to run. Where I live our energy bills in the summer can be several hundred dollars – and we’re not keeping the house at balmy temps by any degree! So, air conditioning maintenance isn’t just a good thing to do, it’s basic survival 101.

Keeping clean filters in place can reduce your A/C’s energy usage by 5-15%

But that’s not the end of A/C maintenance!

An air conditioner’s evaporator coil and condenser coil collect dirt over their months and years of use. If your A/C unit is outdoors the condenser coils are prone to collecting dust from the environment and any nearby plants and trees. Bottom line, these coils need to be checked annually and cleaned when necessary.

Then there are coil fins that can be bent or damaged and block airflow, condensate drains can become clogged and prevent a unit from alleviating excess humidity. Not to mention, if your unit is in a window, you need to check the seals for any moisture damage or leakage around the unit and window frame.

We usually have a certified technician out in the spring every year to go through our two A/C units and make sure everything is functioning properly. How’s it go? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? I’d hate to be sitting here in triple digit heat and have my air conditioning unit go out simply because I didn’t perform routine maintenance and have a technician check everything out.