RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Building in Radon Resistant Features

May 19, 2015 12:50 am

Looking beyond what may seem like a "band-aid" tactic of testing for radon, I went looking for information about how the building industry is responding to radon risks.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, many builders are adopting Radon Resistant New Construction (RRNC) features in some of their homes. The EPA suggests that new home buyers ask their builder about these features, and if not provided, to ask to include them in the new home.

If a home is tested after buyers move in and an elevated level of radon is discovered, the owners’ cost of fixing the problem can be much more. On the other hand, constructing with RRNC in new homes can add value by protecting health and reducing costs for customers.

According to the EPA, while techniques may vary for different house foundations and building site requirements, the five basic features that builders should include to prevent radon from entering a home are:

Gravel: Use a 4-inch layer of clean, coarse gravel below the “slab,”or foundation to allow soil gases, which includes radon, to move freely underneath the house. Builders call this the “air flow layer” or “gas permeable layer." In some regions of the country, alternatives are allowed, such as a perforated pipe or a collection mat.

Plastic Sheeting or Vapor Retarder:
Place heavy duty plastic sheeting (6 mil. polyethylene) or a vapor retarder on top of gravel to prevent soil gases from entering the house.

A Vent Pipe:
Run a 3-inch or 4-inch solid PVC Schedule 40 pipe vertically from the gravel layer (stubbed up when the slab is poured) through the house’s conditioned space and roof to safely vent radon and other soil gases outside above the house.

Sealing and Caulking: Seal all openings, cracks, and crevices in the concrete foundation floor including the slab perimeter crack and walls with polyurethane caulk to prevent radon and other soil gases from entering the home.

Junction Box: Install an electrical junction box outlet in the attic for use with a vent fan, should, after testing for radon, a more robust system be needed.

Visit the National Radon Proficiency Program, the National Radon Safety Board, or your state radon coordinator for service providers in your area.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Get Smart about Credit Card Debt

May 19, 2015 12:50 am

Credit card debt is the third largest source of household debt, behind only mortgages and student loans. According to Equifax, the average credit card balance is about $1,224 per card.

“Credit cards are a significant source of debt for millions of Americans, and that’s why it’s so important to develop the knowledge and skills to manage them effectively,” says Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC). “In today’s fast-paced world, consumers need to be more credit card smart than ever before.”

Get smart when it comes to using credit with these tips from the ACCC.

1. Understand your credit card and any fees associated with it. It’s important to do your research to find the best deals and interest rates. Understand your annual percentage rate (APR) and how it is calculated by your provider. It can make a difference in how much you pay each month. In addition, be aware of any fees associated with your card, as these hidden costs can add up.

2. Pay on time. Problems can escalate quickly for your wallet if you miss a payment. Missing payments can lead to late fees and higher interest rates and can even cause a drop in your credit score. It’s worth contacting your credit card company and requesting that the late fee be waived if you have a good reason for missing the payment.

3. Don’t get hooked on minimum payments. If you only pay the minimum on your bill, it can take a long time and a lot of extra money to pay off your debt. For example, if you owe $5,000 on an account with an 18 percent APR and pay a minimum of 2 percent of the balance, it will take more than 7.5 years to pay it off. Just as bad, you will have paid $4,311.25 in interest. Paying even a little more each month can substantially reduce the time it takes to pay off the debt and decrease interest.

4. Avoid special services, programs and goods that credit card lenders offer with their cards. Most of these are extras – items such as fraud protection plans, credit record protection, travel clubs and life insurance. More often than not, much better deals on these services can be found elsewhere.

5. Never max out your card. You will be hit with over-limit fees. Keep in mind that it’s best to use only 30 percent of your maximum credit allowed. Using more than that can cause a drop in your credit score. In addition, be aware of unsolicited increases to your credit limit.

Source: ACCC

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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