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Jerry Harcek
Working to make Golden a fun place for my kids to grow up.
Working to make Golden a fun place for my kids to grow up.



Bathroom and laundry exhaust fans help remove moisture from the air when hot water is run for washing clothes, or when taking baths or showers. Older houses generally rely on windows to vent this moisture, but during cold months, the windows are not opened, so this moisture can build up and cause damage. Examples of this damage can include stains, bubbling paint, and mold.

These types of fans are not expensive (prices range from $20 - $200). Prices vary based on the fan's decibel level, features included, and quality. Some features available are built in lights, varying speeds, and humidity switches so that they turn on when only when needed. There are fans available that fit into the space of a can light fixture, so they can be swapped in where you already have a can light installed. I've installed one of these directly over our master shower, which works much better to remove moisture than the existing one installed in the toilet room.

Vent fan exhaust should be run as directly as possible, with as few bends as possible. Rigid ducts and insulation around the duct’s exterior reduce the amount of condensation trapped inside, which can lead to corrosion and other damage. These ducts should terminate at the home’s exterior. Terminating the ducts within the attic will not as effectively remove the moisture, and can lead to mold problems.

Is your current fan is noisy? This can be caused by worn bushings in the fan motor. Dust build up on the fan blades, housing and cover louvers can contribute to extra noise, while also reducing the fan’s efficiency and causing premature failure.

Installation is fairly easy, but if you aren't up for it, this is a job that a handyman should be able to perform.

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Maybe you’ve heard of your neighbors getting their homes tested for radon and wondered what is radon? Radon is a tasteless, odorless, and colorless gas that is emitted by the radioactive decay of radium, which is found in much of the earth's rocky crust. Exposure to high concentrations of radon has been linked to cancer. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Radon is the number one cause of cancer in non-smokers.

Radon is everywhere. All buildings in contact with the ground will have some amount of radon present.
The average concentration in outdoor air is 0.4 pico Curies per liter (pCi/l). The EPA recommended action level for homes is greater than or equal to 4.0 pCi/l, but as there is no known safe level of exposure, the EPA also recommends that Americans consider fixing their homes when the radon level falls between 2.0 and 4.0 pCi/.

So, what is a radon test? A radon test (short term) lasts a minimum of 48 hours, and takes an hourly sampling of the air in the lowest habitable level of the home, under closed house conditions. Closed house conditions require that the house is not aired out (windows closed; doors closed when not entering or exiting the house) and that no air exchange systems (besides existing radon mitigation systems) are in operation for the entire 48 hour period. The use of a furnace or air conditioner is okay. Evaporative cooler (also known as a swamp cooler) use is not allowed.
There are a few options for testing radon. Charcoal canister radon test kits are available through most hardware stores. Once the canister has been exposed for 48 hours, they are sent to a lab for analysis, and results are available generally within a week. This type of test gives an overall average radon level for the test period.

More detailed results are available from continuous radon monitors, which take hourly radon level readings. Results are available the day the test is completed, and include a graph of these on-the-hour samples, along with two averages - an overall and an EPA radon level. The EPA average excludes the first sample to allow the monitor to reach equilibrium with the ambient air.

What to do once you’ve gotten a test with elevated levels of radon? If you’re not purchasing a home, you’ve got more time to consider your options. The EPA recommends having two tests performed, and taking the average of those two test results. If your results are above 7.0 pCi/l, there is not much chance averaging it with a second test will bring that number down to acceptable levels, so mitigation is in order.

What does mitigation entail? In general, steps are taken to keep soil gases from entering the home. This can be accomplished by a combination of sealing off cracks in the basement or crawlspace floor and creating negative pressure underneath that floor. Caulk can be used to seal cracks in a concrete floor. In a crawlspace, heavyweight plastic sheeting is spread across the dirt, and sealed to the foundation walls. To create negative pressure under this newly sealed floor, a large diameter pvc pipe is run from under the floor, out of the house and terminates above the roofline. A continuously running fan creates a vacuum to keep those soil gases from drifting up into the house.

Need more information? I’m a NEHA/ NRPP certified Residential Radon Measurement Provider, and am happy to answer any questions you may have: cell: 720-563-1008
The EPA website is a also good source of information on radon:
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Plumbing leaks and ways to minimize risk:

Water damage due to plumbing leaks, whether catastrophic leaks or even small hidden leaks, can cost thousands of dollars in damage. How can you reduce the risk of water damage in your home?
Toilets, water heaters and clothes washer hoses are the worst offenders when it comes to leaks and damage, and it is recommended to turn off the water valves at these areas when leaving your home for an extended time.
Clothes washer hoses should be replaced every 5 years. Stainless steel reinforced ones are typically more durable. The fittings are just like a garden hose, so it’s an easy job once you have the washer moved back for access.
Sticking flush valves combined with a clogged toilet can quickly cause lots of damage. Toilets should be checked periodically to make sure the flapper valves are sealing properly, and be sure to check toilets that run longer than normal.
An average water heater holds 40 gallons, but in the case of a leak, water will keep attempting to refill the tank. The typical life span of a water heater is 8-10 years, however the amount of minerals in your water can reduce that number. Installing a water filter and / or flushing the tank annually are ways to minimize sediment build up and prolong the life of your water heater.
It is also a good idea to check under sinks periodically for moisture. Loose fittings at the supply lines or on the drain pipes are common, and when the cabinets are full of towels and cleaning supplies, difficult to detect. These fittings generally only need to be gently tightened in order to seal properly.
Monitors are available that will let you know when they detect water. They require sensors placed in the areas near potential leaks. The simplest of these alarms just emit an audible alert, so you need to be in the home to know if there is a leak occurring. More advanced versions of these alarms can alert you via the telephone, but that requires a phone line connected to the device. Another step up technologically, is an alarm that is connected to a home network which can send a message to your cell phone. There are also electronically controlled valves that can remotely shut off the water before the leak gets too far out of hand.
Being prepared can help protect your investment. Good luck!
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