Since radon is produced from soil, it is present nearly everywhere. Because soil is absorbent, radon gas is able to move up through the dirt and rocks, enters the home and moves freely throughout the indoor air in which we breathe. The further the gas moves through the home, the more diluted Radon will be in the air we breathe. If allowed to accumulate, radon becomes a health concern. The level of radon is often highest in the lowest part of a building.
Two components that affect how much radon will accumulate in a home are pathways and air pressure. These components will differ from home to home.
For more information, contact Public Health at 320-968-5087.
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While radon is present everywhere, and there is no known, safe level, your greatest exposure is where it can concentrate-indoors and where you spend most time-at home. For more information, visit our Radon Page.
High radon exists in every state in the U.S. In Minnesota, two in five homes have radon levels that pose a significant health risk, and nearly 80% of counties are rated high radon zones.
Benton County radon data from completed test kits:
For further questions, contact us at 320-968-5087.
Anyone can use a "do-it-yourself" test kit to check his or her home. There are short-term and long-term test kits available. Short-term test kits should remain in the home for two to seven days, depending on the device. Weather conditions and opening and closing of windows will affect radon levels within a home. Using the short-term test will give the homeowner a snapshot of the home's radon level. The long-term test (3 to 12 months), gives the user a year-round average level of radon.
The best way to estimate the year-round average of radon in a home is to test for a full year. Results from long-term radon tests can realistically be used to decide whether or not to mitigate a home. The EPA recommends that for homes, initial measurements be short-term tests placed in the lowest lived-in level. Short-term testing in closed building conditions helps residents quickly learn if a home has high levels of radon. Contact us at 320-968-5087 for more information.
Homeowners can contact a qualified radon reduction contractor if they are concerned about the high levels of radon found in their home. There are several things they can do; sealing cracks and other openings in the foundation is a simple way to start. This by itself will not lower the levels consistently or significantly. Venting units including fans and pipes, called sub-slab depressurization, is used most often and effectively to reduce levels of radon. The most efficient method will depend on the home's design and the specific cause of the problem. Contact Public Health at 320-968-5087 for more information.
The Minnesota Department of Health has this information on their website. Radon problems usually can be repaired for about the same amount as other common home repairs (washer or dryer, new hot water heater installed). On average, mitigation services will cost between $200 and $2,500. The price is largely dependent on your home's construction and the strength of the radon source. Call us at 320-968-5087 for more information.
Simple and economical techniques can reduce radon levels on average by 50%. Techniques used in safeguarding against radon may in fact also decrease the potential for basement moisture problems. It seems only logical that new homes use radon resistant techniques because of the reduced levels of radon and it is much more cost effective than retrofitting an existing home. This will add about $350 to $500 to the cost of the home. Ask your builder if they are currently using radon-resistant construction techniques. Contact us at 320-968-5087 for further questions.
Radon test kits can be purchased at most hardware stores and range in price from $5 to $25. For more information and options for purchasing, visit Minnesota Department of Health - Radon Testing.