Radon levels at home can be reducedHave you tested your home for radon? Do you know what your results mean or what your next steps should be?
Have you tested your home for radon? Do you know what your results mean or what your next steps should be?
Radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and one of the greatest causes of lung cancer among all people, second only to smoking itself. The Environmental Protection Agency predicts radon is a problem in nearly 20 percent of American homes.
Smokers exposed to radon are 10-12 times more likely to get lung cancer than are non-smokers similarly exposed. There is no known safe level of radon, but the risk can be reduced by lowering the radon level in your home.
Radon can enter any building, no matter its age or building material. It enters when air pressure inside the building is lower than the soil pressure surrounding it. This difference in air pressure causes the building to act like a vacuum, drawing radon in through foundation cracks, other openings or directly through concrete. There are several proven methods to reduce radon in your home, but the one primarily used is a vent pipe system and fan, which pulls large volumes of air from under the slab thereby changing the pressure differential. This system does not require major changes to your home and most homes can be fixed for about the same cost as other common home repairs. The average house costs about $1,200 for a contractor to fix, although this can range from about $800 to $2,500.
The cost is much less if a passive system was installed during construction — this is known as Radon Resistant New Construction. While fixing radon problems is effective and cost-efficient, lowering high radon levels requires technical knowledge and special skills. Be sure to use a contractor who is trained to fix radon problems. You can contact the Douglas County Department of Health and Human Services for a list of certified radon mitigators.
The Douglas County Department of Health and Human services urges residents to take action during National Radon Action Month by testing their homes for elevated levels of radon. During the month of January, test kits are available from the Health Department for $5 ($7 by mail to Douglas County Department of Health and Human Services, ATTN: Ken, 1316 North 14th Street Suite 324, Superior, WI 54880).
For more information on radon, testing and mitigation, see www.lowradon.org or call (715) 395-1304.