anyone know anything about radon gas?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by twoodcc, Oct 4, 2007.

  1. twoodcc macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #1
    at my parents home, my dad says that there is radon gas in the basement.

    my question is, would it be bad to run computers down there?
     
  2. Veritas&Equitas macrumors 68000

    Veritas&Equitas

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    #2
    Unless you want the computer or its users to get lung cancer, I'd stay out.

    Lung Cancer - Causes: Radon gas. Radon is a gas given off by radioactive materials. A radioactive material is a substance that gives off radiation and turns into a new substance. Radon gas is often formed in rocks that contain radioactive materials. It escapes from those rocks and gets into the air. It is often found in the basements of homes, office buildings, and factories built over such rocks. A person who smokes and is exposed to radon gas has the highest risk for lung cancer.
     
  3. twoodcc thread starter macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #3
    yeah, after reading some on it and talking to my dad more.....looks like if i ever did anything would be a file server down there.....but i don't think i'll even do that now.
     
  4. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

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    #4
    Well those gasses will probably find there way up to the living part of your house. Additionally, if you ever want to sell the place it won't pass inspection.
     
  5. twoodcc thread starter macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    the EPA says you have to do something if the reading is 4, and about a year ago the reading was 2. but when tested in the basement with the windows closed, it was like 30! :eek:
     
  6. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #6
    This really explains your posting history twoodcc ;)
     
  7. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

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    #7
    how did you manage to get that much Radon in your basement?
     
  8. thebassoonist macrumors 6502a

    thebassoonist

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    #8
    AGH! That's awful! You need to get that checked out! :(
     
  9. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #9
    Most likely it's just coming off the building materials in the house (bricks, concrete etc) and/or the disturbed soil of the foundations. It usually accumulates when there is poor ventilation.
     
  10. Xfujinon macrumors 6502

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    #10
    I would get an inspection with an indoor air quality expert, or perhaps a building inspector specializing in these matters. There is an abundance of research that suggests that even moderate radon exposure (if prolonged) can result in an increased risk of lung cancer.

    The problem may be resolvable, but in response to the original question, I cannot imagine it would have any effect on a computer. Just your lungs.
     
  11. twoodcc thread starter macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #11
    what do you mean by that?

    it comes for the ground, i guess. they say from granite

    it's been checked since 1985. like someone else said, it accumlates with poor ventilation. we have basement windows that we keep open, so it's really not 30 all the time, just when the windows are closed.


    so you don't think it could rust a computer or something? i guess it doesn't matter, i'm not gonna go down there for any period of time
     
  12. phungy macrumors 68020

    phungy

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    #12
    Well if you have a professor you don't like...you could always invite him over...


    ...just kidding :p
     
  13. twoodcc thread starter macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #13
    true. but they'd have to stay awhile for the full effects......;)
     
  14. GroundLoop macrumors 68000

    GroundLoop

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    #14
    I actually am in the process of selling my home in NJ. I was required to get a radon inspection and had a reading of 4.2. So I needed to get a remediation system installed.

    Essentially, they drill a hole into the floor of the basement and install a 3" PVC pipe. Tat pipe is then extended out of the house and up the side of the house to the vent over the roofline. Then a fan is installed to suck the gases out from under the house. The fan will run 24/7 and cost about $90 a year in electric.

    After the system was installed, I had it tested again and had a reading of 0.4.

    Well worth the money ($1,500) for the health of my family.

    Hickman
     
  15. twoodcc thread starter macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #15
    thanks for posting :)

    i talked to my dad about this last night, and he said he was in the process of putting some sort of pipe leading out. maybe something like you're talking. but my dad is cheap, so i doubt he'll put a fan in there. and he definately won't run it 24x7.
     
  16. Sdashiki macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

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    #16
    Sounds like my grandpa.

    Only use it when the inspector shows up and dont use the basement much.
     
  17. twoodcc thread starter macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    lol, that's about right. oh, but it gets a lot worse.....i better not even get into it. i could be here all day...
     
  18. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #18
    Radon is an alpha emitter. Studies of its carcinogenicy were done on Uranium miners. (Radon comes from the radioactive decay of uranium. Uranium is found primarily in igneous rock. Granite and Basalt) They assumed that the cancer rates were linear with exposure. ie if 5 units of radiation gives a 5% chance of cancer then 1 unit gives a 1% chance of cancer(There are real units but I can't remember them and I have no clue as to carcinogenicy based on radiation exposure).

    A more recent study shows that the since the alpha radiation is so unenergetic that cells typically need to be hit twice by alpha particles to break (either die or become carcinogenic) and cancer forms exponentially with exposure instead of linearly. Meaning that with 1/5th the exposure the chance of getting is almost negligible. Still best not to take chances.

    Remediation techniques start with a fan and usually end there. There are some people who talk about sealing the floor, putting a ventilated gravel bed below the foundation and all sorts of wacky expensive ideas. Radon is significantly heavier than air and tends to pool in the basement. A fan to lift it up and out of the house should do it. If you have a gas or oil furnace in the basement that could easily clear it out when its running. A very effective "hillbilly" solution is a muffin fan and length of dryer hose. Running a dryer hose from the fan output of your computer out of the house might work as well.

    As for the effects of the radiation on the computer, alpha particles are very low energy. They are stopped by a sheet of paper. The black plastic is probably enough to the protect the chips and the hard drive is totally safe. Radiation can cause memory errors so you may see an infinitesimal increase in system crashes, but the increase is less that what you see on dry days versus humid.

    The lack of energy is why radon only causes lung cancer you actually have to breath it in and get it contact with live cells. The epidermis is thick enough to stop a lot of it.
     
  19. twoodcc thread starter macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #19
    thanks for the post :)

    one thing he did try to do was block off the stairs to the basement with foam. but then it was a hassle if you ever wanted to go down there.

    the only time i go down there is to lift weights......i'm only down there for like 5-10 minutes....but i guess i would breath a little heavier.....how bad do you think that is?
     
  20. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #20
    Blocking off the stairs is a Bad Thing™. The solution is good ventilation not bad.

    5-10 minutes a day isn't bad.
     
  21. twoodcc thread starter macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #21
    i think the idea was to keep the radon in the basement
     
  22. sonictruth macrumors member

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    #22
    You can buy continuous radon monitors for your basement for less than $50. If your father wants to take such a cowboy approach with a carcinogen in the home, then he should at least spring for a monitor so he can tweak his piece-meal 'treatment' system.

    FWIW, I am a geologist by schooling and I work as an environmental consultant. I used to have little respect for the treatment of radon on the basis that it is naturally occurring and has always been there. But then I've met people over the past 15 yrs that have had to deal with lung cancer, have never smoked, and have been exposed to relatively high radon for long periods of time. But, we all make our own decisions... your father is apparently making the decision for your whole family. Perhaps he should understand more about it.

    Your basement's not used, so whatever, but what's the concentration on the first floor, where your family spends a lot of time? If you've got 30+ down low, it's likely over 4 above grade. And if the solution is leaving the basement windows open, I wouldn't want anything electronic, much less paper-like, in a moisture pit like that.

    Sorry about the harsh tone, but, freaking cowboys. And installation of a radon system in the home I just sold was only $725, and a friend of mine bought a fan and PVC pipe for less than $300 and did the work on his house himself.
     
  23. twoodcc thread starter macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #23
    well, he said he had it checked a year ago, and it was 2 on the first floor (in the room with the basement). but 30 in the basement with the windows closed. the basement isn't a full basement.

    i'll be the first to tell how cheap my dad is. even though he has money. but he has done research on it, we have books here on it.
     
  24. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #24
    I really did learn something from this thread :eek: You'd think it'd be mandatory to fix this problem. Radiation in the basement? I'm scared and I don't even have a basement!
     
  25. twoodcc thread starter macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #25
    yeah right after i posted this i did some research and learned quite a bit. and to think i've been living in this place for 23 years! :eek:
     

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