The West Central Tribune recently interviewed Chappell Central’s Residential Sales Specialist, Randy Sather, about solutions for home radon problems. Here is an excerpt from January 28, 2012 West Central Tribune Extra! article by Ashley White.
A Silent Danger: In Minnesota, about one in three homes pose health risk
When left untreated, radon can cause serious and lasting health concerns. According to the EPA, exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking. Each year, radon accounts for about 20,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States.
In Minnesota, it’s estimated that about one in three homes has a high enough level of radon to pose health risks, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
Factors that contribute to this high rate include Minnesota’s geology and climate. Randy Sather, residential sales representative at Chappell Central in Willmar, said that radon is a common problem he sees when he inspects homes in the area for air quality.
“We have among the highest levels of radon in the state,” Sather said. “I would say the majority of houses we test have some form of radon. Some are easier fixed than others.”
According to Sather, radon, which originates in soil, can enter homes in any number of ways. Typically, it comes through cracks or openings in walls or floors, but it can also come from heated air rising; fireplaces, wood stoves or furnaces; clothes dryers; or exhaust fans in kitchens or bathrooms.
There are two ways that Chappell Central eliminates radon from homes, Sather said. If the house has a radon level under 10 pCi/L, they usually recommend an air exchange unit. This device ventilates the home, exhausting air from the inside and bringing in fresh air from the outside.
If the level of radon is above 10 pCi/L, Chappell Central usually installs a subfloor ventilation system with an inline fan, Sather said. This method works similar to a vacuum, sucking the radon out and ventilating it outside of the house, causing it to dissipate in the air. The fan is usually installed under a slab of cement in a basement or in an attic.
This month is National Radon Action Month, and Sather said Chappell Central is working hard to relay the message that everyone should have their homes tested for radon, and the sooner the better.
“Some people genuinely don’t want to know if it’s there, but even if you don’t like what you find out, at least you’ll be aware and can take steps to fix the problem,” Sather said. “Think of it this way: You can easily make a comparison between carbon monoxide and radon. The only difference is time. One of them will kill you quickly, while the other is a longer, slower death.”
For the complete article, visit the West Central Tribune website, “A Silent Danger: In Minnesota, about one in three homes pose health risk”, and Radon FAQ’s.
Reprinted with Permission from the West Central Tribune. Photo by Ron Adams.