Radon Information

Radon is a gas found in the soil that has radioactive properties which can cause lung cancer.  Radon in the ground is common through out Minnesota and higher levels are found from the Twin Cities metro area to the southern border.  The Minnesota Department of Health estimates that 2 in 5 homes have elevated radon levels, that significantly increases the risk of lung cancer.

Lung Cancer from your Home

Even though the ground seems solid, there are passageways for air to move in the ground.  These passageways allow radon gas to travel up and into your home.  The gaps and cracks in your homes foundation allow for the radon gas to enter your home.

These passageways allow radon to enter your home but there must be a force that draws the radon into your home.  There are three main causes for radon to be drawn into your home:

  • The most powerful is called the “stack effect,” which is caused by warm air in your home rising that finds its way out through gaps and cracks in the top of your home.  The air that leaves the top of your home needs to be replaced by air in the bottom of your home.  This creates a sucking effect on the ground, which can bring in radon.
  • The next most powerful is called the “vacuum effect,” which is caused by appliances that you run in your house blowing air out.  The most common are: furnaces, water heaters, clothes dryers, kitchen range hoods and bathroom fans.  These are important to keep your indoor air clean and healthy but at the same time it creates a sucking effect on the ground, similar to the “stack effect.”
  • The last cause is the weather.  There are two types of weather forces, first is the wind which creates the “down wind draft effect.”  Wind blowing over the top of your home causes air to leave the top of your home, just like the “stack effect.”  The other weather influence is ground pressure.  Ground pressure changes when the barometric pressure changes, which is the pressure that the atmosphere pushes down on the ground.

Reduce your risk of lung cancer

The main way to reduce radon in your home is to create a negative pressure under your home that is more powerful then the forces in your home.  By creating this pressure the radon will be vented outside safely.  The forces that used to bring in radon, will bring in fresh air from outside through gaps and cracks in your home.