The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

March 7, 2013

Radon mitigation is becoming big business

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MANKATO —

This simple fact of nature would be harmless except for the fact that radon can accumulate in dangerous levels in dwellings. The air pressure inside your home is usually lower than the pressure in the soil. This creates a vacuum effect, causing radon to push into your home wherever there is a crack or opening.

How much radon is in a house can vary from one house to the next. Your house may be safe while your neighbor’s house may have dangerous levels.

One thing the health department knows for sure: In Minnesota, the counties with higher levels of radon create an L shape on a map. Southern Minnesota is well within the area where higher levels are more common.

Determining how high radon levels are in your house depends begins with a test kit, which can be purchased at a hardware store or obtained through the health department. (In some cases, counties or county partnerships have made kits available to residents.)

Radon can come into your house in many ways: cracks in concrete basement slabs, spaces behind brick veneers, floor-wall joints, exposed soil, such as a sump pump or crawl space, mortar joints, drainage tiles, open tops of block walls and many others.

If the kit comes radon levels as high, then it’s time to contact a mitigation specialist, such as Kelley.

They’ll run their own tests and figure out the best possible course of action. Most cases, though, involve a radon-removal system. The systems run on a simple premise: Figure out where the epicenter of radon seepage into the house is and provide a place for it to funnel out of the house (with the help of a fan).

In Matthies’ case, getting the radon in her house down to safe levels will run her $1,380.

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