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snow capping and radon readings


John Dirks Jr
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It has been said that snow cover can cap the soil around a house and make more radon seep up into the house. My father has one of my monitors and he's been running it for several months and watching patterns. I've done it a little myself at my home too.

Neither of us have noticed any significant spike during snow cover, and we have had some very significant cover this year.

We do notice significant spikes when storm fronts (either rain or snow) come through. So, barometric pressure sure looks like it has an effect.

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Yes, barometric pressure does have an impact on the readings. Low pressure makes a house suck so to speak.

You can have snow on the ground and the soil might not be frozen. The snow that dumped up on the Wash DC area not long ago came down on warm ground that was not frozen. Then, the snow acts like an insulation blanket of sorts and keeps the ground from freezing solid.

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This is not a science fact! We have performed approx 4500 screenings in this area and found there is a relationship between snow cover and concentrations. Also there is a relationship between heavy rain and higher readings.

The whole idea of a 48hr screening is silly. The whole concept of closed house protocol is silly. I liken it to a person that asks if there is lead in his 50year old house. Not where the lead is, not how much lead there is, not why, just is there lead. My all time favorite is

Client - "Can you test this house for mold?"

Les - "Yes, we can test the house for mold."

Client - "If you find mold in that house, I can't buy it. I'm deathly sensitive to mold. You will guarantee there is no mold?"

Les - "Times are tough, but I really can't take your money. There is mold in that house. I think there is an inspector on the other side of town that will do the testing for $175.00 and the inspection for $149.99. His number is/was 777-212-8888."

real estate sales person -"Why can't he just keep his mouth shut and play fair!"

Les, later that night - zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

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Les,

With your extensive testing numbers, have you been able to quantify any kind of average spike percentage based on factors?

For instance, could a 2pCi/l turn into a 6pCi/l in a 48 hr test? 200% increase.

Or, is something along the lines of 20pCi/l becoming a 25pCi/l more likely? 25% increase.

I would imagine that the higher the overall content, the greater the percentage spike could be. Is that a fair assumption?

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The whole idea of a 48hr screening is silly. The whole concept of closed house protocol is silly. I liken it to a person that asks if there is lead in his 50year old house. Not where the lead is, not how much lead there is, not why, just is there lead. My all time favorite is

The sole purpose of the EPA is to propogate silly protocols, just look at the current lead rules.

Tom

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John,

The answer to your question would require some factor analysis and math skills I do not have.

The first issue is wheather the weather "spike" results in an avg reading higher than the action level. All spikes are not weather related, so some research must be done for the weather during that period of time. Then you must consider the accuracy of the device +-.25 or a percentage.

Then you must consider wheather the space is suitable for living or just an unfinished basement.

Point is there are spikes, the protocols can't accomodate spikes, and real science can't be distilled from crappy inputs.

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Good morning, Gents!

Radon readings and snow cover, is not just a simple yes or no answer. In some cases, snow cover will increase a radon reading (which doesn’t actually measure radon); in cases it can result in a lower reading, and in some cases there will be no effect.

Remembering that different monitoring devices look at different aspects of radiation associated with radon, and therefore, different devices will have different responses to snow cover.

But let’s just take a simple device, such a charcoal canister and use that as our example. The device, like all other devices does NOT measure radon. Also the device has a huge bias towards the last 12 hours of monitoring (if the SLRDs were higher towards the last 12 hours, the results will be biased high; if lower, the results are biased low) This is because the device does not truly integrate the “readingâ€

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