Michigan Map of Radon Zones / Shower Problem / Roofing Membranes / Getting Hot Water Faster / Water Softener Problem

In Q&A on April 10, 2012 at 10:44 am

To all my followers: Please pass along my blog address to all your friends and family. I’d appreciate it!

Where can I find a map/survey of local Southeast Michigan radon levels? Some areas are apt to be lower/higher than others based on local geography.


Go to www.epa.gov/radon/zonemap.html. The color-coded map divides Michigan into three-color zones. The zones are based on aerial radioactivity, soil, geology and existing indoor radon measurements.

Zone 1 counties have predicted indoor radon averages greater than 4 pci/L.

Zone 2 has predicted indoor screening levels between 2 and 4 pci/L.

Zone 3 is averaging less than 2 pci/L.

It is important to understand that thousands of homes in zones 2 and 3 have elevated radon levels and that all homes should be tested for radon.


We have a home built in 2002 that has Moen fixtures. The full bathroom with a shower/tub combination seldom gets used, but when we went to use it found out that the shower could not produce cold water (only hot) from the tub head. What could be causing this problem?

First, check the coldwater shut-off valve to make sure it is open. If you still have a problem there could possibly be a chunk of solder or minerals that may be obstructing the inside of the faucet cylinder. Turn off the water disassemble the faucet and check to make sure. Shut-offs should be in the basement on the line going to the tub. If not, check the access panel for the valves.


What the heck are roofing membranes or ice dam membranes?

Roofing membranes are 3-foot wide rolls, which have adhesive on the entire bottom side. Membranes should be installed from the very edge of the roof, behind the gutters and back up the roof.

They are applied directly to bare roof boards. Shingles are nailed on top of the membrane and they seal tight around the nails. Ideally, they should be applied all the way up all valleys, around all vents, chimneys and skylights. While minimum code requires only 3-feet past the exterior walls, it’s best to go at least six to nine feet, depending on the pitch of the roof.

The membrane protects against damage from not only ice dams but where applied, against water damage from missing or torn shingles.

Many manufacturers make the product and it is sold under many names.
Your roofer will know all about them, that I can guaranty.

I have a house that has a long straight run between the master bedroom and the kitchen. The water heater is right under the master bedroom. To get hot water to the kitchen I have to let the hot water run. Would I need to have an instantaneous hot water tank for the master bedroom and also one for the kitchen?

You have a couple of choices. You can install a tankless water heater, which provides endless point of use hot water near the kitchen. Or another solution is to install a circulating pump that circulates water from your hot water tank throughout the system. You’ll never have to wait for hot water since it will be instantaneous.

There are at least 2 manufacturers; Grundfos (www.grundfos.com and the other is AutoCirc2® www.autocirc.com.


I purchased a home with well water and after moving in I found that the 4-year-old softener was unable to exchange the water’s high-iron content so I installed an iron removal system. The system was installed with chlorine injection because of suspected iron bacteria. Prior to installation of the new system, I had the well chlorinated and all the plumbing lines were flushed. The iron removal system was installed in sequence with the softener unit, but preceding it. The new iron filtration unit has reduced the iron content, however, it still stains the tubs and sinks and anything else with which it remains in standing contact with. Can you help?

You may need a larger capacity water softener. Depending on the number of occupants living in the house, as well as visitors will determine the size needed. It’s not uncommon for discolored and smelly water from a well when the unit is too small.


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