Radon isn’t on most homeowners’ minds, except maybe when they go to sell a home.
“Most times home inspections test for radon for a house sale,” said Jacqueline Kochanowicz, office manager of Radon Protection Systems, Inc., and a partner with Steve Wesler in the Plumstead Township business.
But living with high levels of radon, a naturally occurring “noble” gas isn’t healthy and it isn’t smart.
There are six, naturally occurring noble gasses. They include helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon and radon.
But when radon builds to dangerous levels inside homes and office buildings, it becomes an inhaled health hazard. In fact, radon has been identified as the second highest cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking.
“We had a client who had high levels of radon and was also a smoker. Her radon levels were off the charts. We told her if she continued to smoke, she should not be doing that inside the house,” Kochanowicz explained.
Radon Protection’s mission is to help keep people healthy and their radon remediation firm is certified to measure and remove harmful radon gas from homes and buildings. Radon Protection stands by its mission and guarantees its work from two to five years, depending upon the soil, rock configurations and systems installed for remediation.
“Radon Protection Systems provided excellent customer service when I had them run a radon test in my home. They scheduled the test at a time that was convenient for me and they answered all my questions,” said Karen Hester of Riegelsville.
Taking the time to understand each and every homeowner’s concerns and situation best illustrates Wesler’s one-on-one approach to his work.
“Our home presented some challenges which they were able to overcome. They were professional, courteous, timely and most importantly they resolved our radon issue…Steve didn’t try to sell us. He educated us beforehand so that we could knowledgably choose the most effective course of action,” said Glen Shinners of Erwinna.
You can’t see, smell, hear or taste radon. It’s a naturally occurring gas and when it gets stuck inside building basements is typically when trouble begins. Because radon is naturally occurring in soil and southeastern Pennsylvania’s Appalachian Mountain range is among the most abundant radon rich areas in the U.S., chances are most of us live with some levels of radon inside our homes.
“I was extremely satisfied with the work Steve and his crew did at my home. They provided me with a replacement fan for my existing radon removal system. They were professional, on time, and efficient with the necessary installation,” said Monroe Barrick, Jr. of Philadelphia.
Kathleen Cranmer is a Realtor with Keller Williams Real Estate in Doylestown, and a Radon Protection enthusiast. Cranmer said she had issues with a home listing because of a failed radon remediation system already in place.
“Because a complete install was unnecessary I had difficulty getting a company to come out,” Cranmer said of the home she was trying to sell.
“Steve returned my call promptly, met me at the property and got the system operating resulting in a passing radon re-test several days later, all at a reasonable cost to my clients. As a real estate professional, it is important to have a list of contractors who can be counted on for their professionalism, responsiveness, and commitment to fair pricing. Steve is definitely on my list,” Cranmer said.
For more information on Radon Protection Systems Inc., log onto www.radonprotectionsystems.com.
Even without hands and feet, Gail is still able to live in her home thanks, in part, to a Habitat for Humanity program.
Best known for helping lower income people live the dream of home ownership through their mission to provide “safe decent simple” housing through its signature build programs, now home repair and restoration are part of its model.
A Brush with Kindness is the home repair program helping people remain in their homes by matching up eligible homeowners with its low-cost repair program.
“They helped built a lift on my front porch so I can get into my house,” said Gail of Richland Township, A Brush with Kindness recipient.
Since homeownership isn’t just about the purchase, Habitat recognizes that helping people remain in their homes broadens the non-profit’s mission, too.
For Dorothy, also of Richland Township, being able to stay in her home means everything. Dorothy got a new storm door plus other entryway improvements to her home. “It helps me to use my house easier, and they did a super job,” Dorothy said.
“Home repair is especially important for older and disabled adults; they are the group that often needs modifications to keep their home accessible and safe,” said Karen Reever, coordinator for the innovative home repair program launched a few years ago by Habitat. “Being disabled, even temporarily, can really change your world,” Reever said.
Reever said Habitat consults with an occupational therapist who is a “Certified Aging in Place specialist for its A Brush with Kindness to make sure the repair program aligns with client needs.
The home repair program, gaining traction in Upper Bucks, helps Habitat work in an area which often doesn’t have suitable or large enough land tracts for new home construction, like the unique Emerald Hollow development completed more than a decade ago in Trumbauersville.
From home repairs to rehabbing, which is another variation of the program aimed at rehabilitating existing homes using the Habitat model, more families in Upper Bucks can be served, according to Florence Kawoczka, Habitat executive director.
Habitat’s “sweat equity” model adjusts slightly for the home repair program, keeping in mind seniors or the disabled may not have the ability to hoist building materials or wield a hammer.
“Providing help from other family members, or refreshments” even offering to give press interviews counts, Reever said.
While a new home requires 200 hours of “sweat equity” Kawoczka said rehabs and repairs are scaled to about 100 hours and might also include volunteer time at the Habitat for Humanity Chalfont ReStore.
The repair and rehab projects are also quick turnaround, under often under six months, so as many as five can be turned around in a shorter period of time. “Helping the neighborhoods by fixing up potentially blighted properties” is also a benefit, Kawoczka said.
“We see a ripple effect with our families. Those who have bought into our volunteer program want to help others. There’s a sense of pride. They take great care of their houses and get involved in their communities,” Kawoczka said. Some clients may be eligible for low interest loans to pay for their share of repairs.
Penn Community Bank employees have embraced Habitat. In fact, Habitat is the bank’s most popular volunteer partnership. Supporting Habitat ties directly into Penn Community’s mission of helping people become homeowners. “One of the most moving experiences is the dedication, when the keys get passed to the new owners,” said Todd Hurley, Penn Community Bank executive vice president and chief relationship officer.
Habitat is a global non-profit with operating affiliates in about 1400 local communities across the United States and 70 countries around the world.
Habitat’s work allows Gail, and many others, to remain in their homes, despite disability.
About Habitat for Humanity Chalfont ReStore: For more information about shopping, donating or volunteering at the Habitat for Humanity Chalfont ReStore, located at 31 Oak Avenue, Chalfont, visit www.habitatbucks.org, or call 215.822.2812.
Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce
An economic development agency for Upper Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
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