A Brief Overview of Radon

RadonJust like carbon monoxide, you cannot see, smell or taste a radioactive gas called radon.

Radon is naturally occurring and can be found in many residential and commercial properties; it is also the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, after only smoking. Radon negatively affects indoor air quality and the only way to be sure it is present is by testing for it.

Radon is a natural radioactive breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. From there, it seeps into structures and becomes part of the air you breathe.

As a highly gaseous radioactive element, it is nine times denser than air, which makes it the heaviest known gas. Radon can easily penetrate common materials such as paper, leather, plastics of low density, sheetrock and concrete block, mortar, tarpaper, wood paneling, most paints and most insulations.

The US EPA, Surgeon General and various health associations recommend you test your home for radon. The test is not obtrusive at all, and takes a minimum of 48 hours to get a reading. You want there to be no detection of radon, but if there is, you want the level to be below 4 pCi/l. You will want to have a system installed to remove the radon if the level is at or above 4 pCi/l.

Young children tend to be the most susceptible to radon damage as they have a higher respiration rate. To protect you and your family, one of the best ways to determine if a house has radon is with a home inspection. Any time you purchase a home, it is recommended by the realtor and the lender to have a radon test performed.

If you feel concerned about the chances of having radon in your home, contact First Choice Inspections today. We can help ease your worry as well as guide you in the process of removing radon from your home.

How Often Should you Replace Your Roof?

Roof Chicago is known as “The Windy City,” and indeed it is. Wind as well as the sometimes brutal winter weather can really take its toll on area roofs.

First Choice Inspectors often do roofing inspections in and around Chicago and Aurora, Illinois. After all, people need good roofs in order to live comfortably, without the harsh elements breaking into their homes through holes and cracks.

Roofs can be made of different materials and are often a product of the time and place when and where they were originally constructed. For instance, some people have wood roofs, while others have stone, metal, rubber or asphalt shingle roofing. First Choice Inspectors often get asked the question, “How often should I replace my roof?” The general answer is once every 20 to 50 years depending on the roofing material used.

For instance, most homes in the U.S. use asphalt shingles. These can last from 10 to 50 years, while most people end up replacing their shingle roofs every 20 years, on average. If you have a wood shake roof, that can last between 20 to 50 years, while tile or metal might last between 50 to 75 years. Some older homes using slate shingles should note that hard slate can last up to 200 years, while soft slate can handle between 50 and 125 years or so.

Oftentimes, how long a roof lasts depends on its thickness and the quality of its installation and materials.

A visual inspection of your roof is a good way to figure out if it needs a couple repairs or if it’s “too far gone” and needs a full replacement. It’s a good idea to have a professional from First Choice Inspectors come take a look at your roof and offer their expert advice on how your roof is doing currently and what challenges might lie ahead. The inspector’s knowledge of roofing can be very helpful to you when determining the answer to the question, “Is it time for a roof replacement?”

Call First Choice Inspectors at 773-429-9711 to book an inspection.