ROCHESTER, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Health believes people are being exposed to high levels of radon without even knowing it. Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that occurs naturally in the soil. It’s also the second leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking.
The MDH notes that awareness of radon has increased significantly and with that, more homes are being tested. Still, only 1% of homes in the state have tested for the dangerous gas. According to the report, 40% of those homes tested have dangerous levels of radon. That is three times the national average.
January is not only Radon Awareness Month, it also happens to be the best month to test homes because of the freezing temperatures.
“The ground is frozen around the house so any air changes in the soil, it can’t escape through the soil, it has to vent through the house,” explains Dan Hylland, a Radon Professional and owner of Athelon Enterprises in Rochester. “It pulls it in and you’re heating your house and warm air rises so to make up for that, the house usually ends up pulling air from the soil which has radon in it.”
The cold climate is one of the factors that makes homes in this region more susceptible to radon.
“Also the geology, we’ve got a lot of limestone and all those cracks in the limestone allow for a pathway for the radon to flow up into the house.”
Hylland says because of the time of year and region, folks in the area should get their homes tested. The tests are simple and inexpensive. The Minnesota Department of Health has short-term test kits that can be ordered online. It’s suggested you test your home every two years.
Another reason why this is an ideal time to check radon levels is because come January 2018, all Radon Professionals in the state will have to be licensed. That comes with fees that will add to the cost of radon mitigation systems. Hylland says if you test your home now, you’ll have enough time to resolve any radon issues before it becomes more expensive next year.
For information about radon test kits follow the link below.