Friday, November 28, 2014 / by Vanessa Saunders
OMG! And I never start a blog with an OMG unless it’s something REALLY OMG, something REALLY important. But this could be OMG earth-shaking. Literally!
I just read that granite kitchen counter tops in people’s homes emit…RADAR!
You heard me! Radar! Scientists thought they invented radar during WWII to shoot down German bombers over Britain, but they apparently DIDN’T invent it then, because this stuff actually occurs naturally in our nation’s sinks and counter tops!
Who knew? Maybe if I get granite in my kitchen I can shoot down German Bombers too, should they decide not to fly over Britain, and switch to upstate New York instead. Honestly, I don’t know how we could have spent all that money on a missile defense system to detect Soviet rockets when the answer to it was also a desirable feature in upscale suburban homes. To think the secret to our nation’s protection was sitting right in front of us while we scarfed down a breakfast burrito standing over the sink is astonishing.
Maybe if I get the right kind of granite, the kind that’s really powerful, I can get rid of the microwave as well! Just set down a couple of baking potatoes and a sirloin right next to the toaster and WHAMMO! “Honey, dinner’s ready!”
We could have home-size nuclear reactors right in the kitchen! No more heating bills, that’s for sure. And if they hook it up to my flat screen TV, maybe we could skip the trips to the radiologist for little Billy’s MRI’s when he comes home with another football injury! This could be HUGE!
I’m gonna look into this granite counter top thing a little more, because frankly, it could be the next Internet!
Wait a minute. It’s not radar… It’s RADON!
Sorry. Blonde moment…
Seriously, Radon gas is not funny for hundreds of thousands of home owners. Radon gas build-up in homes is the second most frequent cause of cancer in America. It is a colorless, odorless by-product of decaying naturally-occurring trace elements of uranium in our soil. Some areas have lots of it, others none, depending on the geology.
But granite counter tops, while containing and emitting Radon, are the least likely cause of Radon buildup in homes. I did some math and, after measuring my kitchen counter top, figured out that the cubic footage of a granite kitchen counter top is about .003 times the size of one-foot thick rock surrounding a typical 1,400 square foot basement. Radon IS dangerous if allowed to collect in an unventilated home or basement. But your granite counter tops are not a big factor in this build-up. There is far more rock surrounding a Radon-affected home than could ever be significantly influenced by the minimal amount of granite in typical counters and bathroom vanities.
And Radon is easy to mitigate. We did it in a home we owned in New York several years ago. It’s a simple fan that pumps air out of the basement, evacuating radon and probably a lot of moisture as a side benefit. It cost us less than five hundred dollars and guaranteed that no Radon would ever build-up.
If you’re worried, have a test done, again for a few hundred bucks. The inspector will place a small box in your basement or wherever you are worried about the gas. In a few days, he will return and have the box examined for Radon contamination. If it turns up positive, call a professional Radon mitigation specialist (your inspector will know one and so do we.) Install a blower, and you’re done.
Radon gas can be life threatening. The hazard is in not knowing what you’ve got. Better than a squadron of German bombers overhead, that’s for sure. But that’s the British in me perhaps.