What is radon and why should homeowners be aware of it?
Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that is produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. It is colorless, tasteless, and odorless, which means the only way to know if you’re being exposed to radon is to test for it.
To raise awareness about the dangers of radon, each January, health and safety organizations in the United States recognize National Radon Action Month. The end goal is to encourage homeowners to test their homes for radon and seek mitigation solutions when necessary.
Whether you’re a new homeowner or have lived in the same place for years, radon can enter your home through cracks and openings in the foundation. Once inside, it can accumulate to dangerous levels if the space is not properly ventilated.
The only way to know if your home has elevated levels of radon is to test for it with a radon detection kit.
Here are the simple steps that go into radon detection in your home:
Start by filling out the included information card
Hang the test kit at breathing level in the lowest used area of your home
After the kit has been exposed to the air for 3–7 days, record the required info and seal the test kit
Mail your test kit using the included prepaid postage. A 3rd party lab will analyze the sample
See your results at home using any smartphone, tablet, or computer
If the test results show that your home has elevated levels of radon, you can find mitigation services through AprilAire Healthy Air Professionals in your area. If you can’t find radon-certified professionals near you, reach out to us and we can connect you with someone who can help.
One example of a solution for radon in your home is a mitigation fan, which can be installed in new or existing homes to ventilate the harmful gas safely out of your home. AprilAire radon mitigation fans include monitoring devices that alert you when the system may need maintenance to continue keeping your home safe.
Whether you’re thinking of moving, settling into a new house, or enjoying your longtime home, radon testing and mitigation are not something you should neglect. Over 30 states across the country have elevated average levels of radon, but no matter where you live, it’s important to incorporate annual testing into your home maintenance routine.
If all this sounds confusing to you, no worries! That’s why our AprilAire Radon Control Professionals are ready to help, like Marcus Nelson, President & CEO of Harker Heating & Cooling, Inc. He’s here to answer some important questions about the entire process so you can stress less!
Thank you for speaking with us, Marcus. Can you start by telling us about yourself, your responsibilities at Harker Heating & Cooling, Inc., and what your business does for the community?
“I’m currently the president and CEO of Harker Heating & Cooling, Inc. and I’ve been working here for over 15 years, but Harker has been around since 1949. As the president and CEO, I oversee the day-to-day business operations.
Harker is a medium-sized HVAC company that currently has 50 trucks servicing all of Dane County, Wisconsin. We work in both residential and commercial buildings providing HVAC maintenance emergency service, HVAC equipment replacements, water heater and softener replacements, and radon mitigation. We’ve been working with and selling and installing AprilAire products for almost 30 years.”
At AprilAire, we recommend testing for radon annually. Can you tell us about the importance of ongoing testing and monitoring for radon?
“It’s one of those things that people think about when they’re buying a new house but then forget about and never revisit. I like to think of it as people that have a well are supposed to get their water tested annually. The same actually is true about radon. It can fluctuate over time, so it’s good to monitor any changes.
They say levels above 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) is considered hazardous. When my wife and I built our home back in 2019, we actually tested for radon when it was done. The levels came back over 12 pCi/L, which is three times higher than the hazardous level. And if you’re exposed to high levels of radon for an extended period of time, it can lead to lung cancer. Radon gas is the #1 cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers.
My wife said, ‘We shouldn’t move into the house.’ But since we had worked so hard on it, I knew that wasn’t the right plan. I got a radon fan installed to mitigate the radon levels, and when we retested, the levels came back below 1 pCi/L.”
Use this radon control infographic to properly use an AprilAire Short-Term Radon Test Kit.
If radon levels are high, homeowners will want to seek out mitigation services. Can you tell us how mitigation works and what the process looks like for your customers?
“We send out our radon professionals to meet with the homeowner and look at the basement, or the lowest livable space in the home where the test would be placed. Ultimately, what we’re trying to do is install a fan, either outside the home or in the attic and pipe it down below the slab of the house. That fan draws the radon gases that build up underneath the house up and out. The pipe discharges above the roof line so radon can rise away. From getting the test results to installation, the whole process takes around one to two weeks, with installation usually taking just one day.
Even with a fan installed, we like to remind customers about radon testing when they have us out either to do the furnace or the A/C. It’s still important to make sure that the fan is continuing to run properly.”
As real estate professionals, you know better than anyone that the homebuying process can be stressful and confusing for homebuyers and sellers. You can alleviate some of this stress while helping ensure your clients have a safe and Healthy Home by offering guidance on radon testing as they work toward sealing the deal. We outlined some frequently asked questions about radon testing and mitigation that can help you and your client get through the homebuying process with ease.
What is Radon?
You’re probably familiar with the dangers of radon, but your clients might not be. Radon is a radioactive, odorless, colorless gas that can enter the home through cracks in the foundation. Radon is the #1 cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and can become harmful even in relatively small amounts. This is why testing and mitigation are so important!
Is Testing for Radon Required?
Thirty-seven states across the country require radon testing before a real estate transaction can be finalized. While the remaining 13 states may not require disclosure of radon levels, it’s always a good idea to have the home tested for peace of mind.
How Should My Clients Go About Testing?
Thanks to the experts at AprilAire, the testing process could not be easier! Your client can purchase their AprilAire Short-Term Radon Test Kit online. The kit includes easy-to-follow instructions for set up and your clients’ local AprilAire Radon Control Professional can help with walking them through the fast, easy, and reliable process if assistance is needed.
AprilAire’s short-term radon tests are deployed for 3–7 days in the home and then sent to a third party for analysis.
Radon Levels Are High and Mitigation is Needed, Now What?
If your test results come back high, there’s no need to panic! As the only company that services radon control solutions as well as additional Healthy Air solutions, AprilAire has trained reliable and trustworthy specialists to help your clients breathe easy. Each AprilAire Radon Control Professional goes through forty hours of classwork to get certified in radon mitigation, meaning your clients are in good hands.
To get started, it’s as easy as visiting aprilaire.com, purchasing a test kit, and then finding a professional if mitigation is needed.
Seal the Deal with AprilAire
Make sure your clients are as educated as possible about the importance of radon testing. Keeping homebuyers and their families happy and healthy in their new homes starts with Healthy Air. Help them breathe easy by having them purchase a test kit before they sign on the dotted line.
At AprilAire, we encourage breathing Healthy Air because we know it benefits your overall health. The American Lung Association knows it too. That’s why AprilAire air filters are the National Proud Partner of the American Lung Association*, playing a key role in the fight to improve lung health and prevent lung disease.
We got to interview National Senior Vice President of Development Sally Draper about the importance of Healthy Air and how both AprilAire and the American Lung Association are working together to help you Breathe the Fullness of Life.
Could you introduce yourself for the readers and tell us about why you chose a career with the American Lung Association?
“I joined the Lung Association in 2014 because I was attracted to its comprehensive mission—to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Every day we help Americans breathe easier through our efforts to fund innovative research, advocate for policies that protect our lungs, and educate patients, caregivers, providers, and the public with science-backed information. We were founded more than 115 years ago, and the needs are greater today than ever before, including the youth vaping epidemic, climate change, and COVID-19!”
Can you tell us about the American Lung Association’s mission?
“The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Our work is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; champion clean air for all; improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and create a tobacco-free future. Whether it’s searching for cures to lung diseases, keeping kids off tobacco, or advocating for laws that protect the air we breathe, the work of the American Lung Association helps to save lives every day.”
How did AprilAire and the American Lung Association come to work together in the first place? What does that relationship look like presently?
“AprilAire and the American Lung Association forged a new relationship in 2018. We quickly realized how much we had in common. Our partnership was developed as we saw an opportunity to educate and help more consumers improve the air in their homes to create a healthier environment.
Since 2020, AprilAire has been a Proud Partner of the Lung Association with its 4” residential air filters. Additionally, AprilAire joined the Lung Association as our FY20 National Fight For Air Climb Partner For Healthy Air. The company has also supported the Lung Association’s “Stand Up For Clean Air” campaign. As part of this initiative, we are driving conversations around air quality, climate, and health. The Lung Association invited people to share their #MyCleanAirStory—knowing that when people realize climate and air quality are impacting the health of their neighbors, friends, and loved ones—they are more willing to act. AprilAire provided prizes for the #MyCleanAirStory contest, including one grand prize of a whole-home Indoor Air Quality upgrade (the AprilAire Healthy Air System®) and nine AprilAire Room Air Purifiers. This year, the company stepped up once again to sponsor the Wisconsin Fight For Air Climb in Milwaukee. Also in 2021, the Lung Association welcomed Dale Philippi, President and CEO of Research Products Corporation, AprilAire’s parent company, to the Lung Association’s Wisconsin Leadership Board of Directors.”
Tell us about the Fight For Air Climb.
“The American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb is the nation’s premier stair climbing challenge. At 38 events nationwide, children and adults of all ages participate in this celebratory stair-climbing adventure. Pre-pandemic, the Fight For Air Climb was held in several of our country’s most iconic skyscrapers. This year, the Lung Association invited participants outdoors for a one-of-a-kind adventure to support healthy lungs and clean air. In fact, Dale was among the company’s team of more than 50 employees that climbed the stairs at Milwaukee’s American Family Field on May 22nd, proving he puts his feet, time, and talent behind causes he supports.
AprilAire has been a stalwart partner in the Fight For Air Climb, promoting the event to employees, customers, trade partners, family, and friends. Through this unique vehicle, the company is engaging individuals of all ages to understand and celebrate the importance of Healthy Air.”
AprilAire’s air filters are a National Proud Partner of the American Lung Association. How do you feel our mission aligns with yours?
“Our CEO, Harold Wimmer, has said, ‘Breathing should not be an uphill battle, but for many it is… no one should have to fight for air on a daily basis.’ Similarly, Dale has declared, ‘We believe everyone deserves to breathe Healthy Air.’ As a National Proud Partner, AprilAire’s mission to enhance everyone’s health by improving the air in their homes aligns very closely with that of the American Lung Association, champion of clean air for all.”
What are the benefits of breathing Healthy Air and what are everyday things that people can do to Breathe the Fullness of Life?
“Clean air is essential for healthy lungs. The American Lung Association works to ensure that the air we breathe is clean and safe from harmful pollution. In fact, every year we publish our State of the Air Report, which looks at two of the most widespread and dangerous air pollutants, ozone and fine particulate matter. Our 2021 State of the Air Report found that more than 4 in 10 Americans—over 135 million people—are living in places with unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution.
One of the most important things you can do to Breathe the Fullness of Life is to keep sources of pollution out of your home. Check out these commonsense tips on Lung.org. Additionally, ventilation helps reduce indoor air pollution, but it works best if paired with keeping known sources of air pollution out of the building. For tips on how to use ventilation to protect your lung health, check out our section on Ventilation: How Buildings Breathe.”
Fight for Healthy Air
At AprilAire, we believe everyone deserves to Breathe the Fullness of Life, and we’re not the only ones that feel this way. Through our Proud Partnership with the American Lung Association, we aim to fill every home with Healthy Air. Both AprilAire and the Lung Association believe that breathing Healthy Air should be available to everyone, and maintaining healthy Indoor Air Quality is an important step for your lung health. Read more about our partnership and the efforts of the American Lung Association on their website.
*Disclaimer: The American Lung Association does not endorse any product, device, or service.
We take the importance of caring for others to heart at AprilAire. We believe we have a purpose beyond the individual work we do and that being a successful company also means “Being a Good Neighbor.” It’s one of our core values, and something we put into action each year.
We remain committed to helping our local communities in a number of ways, including financial contributions and volunteering. In the past, we’ve raised funds to provide pack-n-plays to mothers in need, volunteered at local blood drives, and held various donation drives throughout the year.
While our partnership opportunities may look different in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re excited to continue our work with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, whose mission statement reads:
“A membership organization, the Society began working in Madison in 1925 with two parish-based groups of members serving their neighbors in need. Today, programs the Society operates in Dane County include a large customer-choice food pantry, a charitable pharmacy, storage for the goods of persons who are homeless, seven thrift stores offering direct charity, housing at Port St. Vincent de Paul and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton House, and several other forms of assistance for people struggling with poverty.”
We’ve been working with St. Vincent de Paul – Madison since 2014, giving us a number of incredible opportunities to give back and live out our mission of being Good Neighbors.
We believe the work they’re doing to provide assistance for our community is more important than ever right now, which is why it’s our honor to be a 2021 Platinum Sponsor for St. Vincent de Paul’s 6th Annual Care Café fundraising breakfast on May, 5th 2021. The theme is “Love Made Visible.”
They’re going virtual this year, which means they have unlimited capacity to reach their goal of $140,000. If you live in Dane County, we encourage you to attend the virtual event and support our neighbors in need through your contributions to the food pantry, free pharmacy, and housing programs.
Click here for more information on St. Vincent de Paul – Madison to see how you can get involved.
Meet AprilAire at the International Builders’ Show 2023! We offer the most complete line of Indoor Air Quality solutions, providing proven performance and reliability as well as a localized, dedicated support team (including national distribution, nationwide sales force, and in-house technical and customer support) to meet builders’ needs.
From January 31st–February 2nd, tens of thousands of professionals in the building and construction industry will descend on Las Vegas for the International Builders’ Show (IBS), which will feature over 1,300 exhibitors and hundreds of educational sessions.
AprilAire is proud to be an exhibitor at this year’s show. We’ll be showcasing several innovative additions to the AprilAire Healthy Air System®, which is our all-in-one solution that provides fresh air ventilation, air filtration, humidity control, zoning control, radon mitigation, and more to address all aspects of Indoor Air Quality.
We’ll also have information on our established, nationwide network of distributors and our reliable in-house technical and customer support.
If you’re a professional in the residential or light commercial construction industry and are planning to attend IBS 2023, stop by and say hello to our knowledgeable team members at Booth C7908.
Below is a short preview of what AprilAire has in store, with much more to see in person. If you’re a homeowner and not attending the show but want to learn how you can improve the air in your home, read on below for the latest in Indoor Air Quality solutions from AprilAire.
AprilAire Ventilating Dehumidifier
AprilAire dehumidifiers balance your home’s humidity by reducing mold- and mildew-causing moisture, keeping you protected against the harmful effects of allergy and asthma symptoms, as well as airborne viruses.
The Ventilating Dehumidifier (Models E100V + 8190FF) brings in fresh air to meet ventilation needs while removing excess humidity from the incoming outdoor air. This solution combines our ENERGY STAR® Most Efficient 2022 dehumidifier with best-in-class ventilation. Fresh air is brought in whenever the HVAC system or dehumidifier is running to meet that need. If the required time is not met through these run cycles, the AprilAire Ventilating Dehumidifier will bring in fresh air and remove any excess humidity.
AprilAire Model 8145 and 8144NC Fresh Air Ventilators
AprilAire ventilation systems help create Healthy Air in the home by bringing in fresh air from the outside to dilute trapped airborne contaminants like allergens, chemicals, viruses, and bacteria. They also push out trapped, humid air to help improve indoor comfort and health.
Beyond the benefits to the health of your environment, these fresh air ventilators are also optimized for energy efficiency. Both units were awarded ENERGY STAR® Most Efficient 2022.
AprilAire Sensors and Monitoring
Knowing the performance of your Healthy Air solutions gives you confidence in the health of your home environment. AprilAire products have sensors for temperature, relative humidity, radon, and the operational health of your systems.
Plus, our wireless sensors easily pair with the new AprilAire S86 Series Wi-Fi Thermostat to improve installation time, whole-home comfort, and personal health.
AprilAire Zone Control
When you choose AprilAire zone control, you’re choosing Healthy Air throughout your home. Our zoning systems let you control the temperature in every area of your home, delivering optimal comfort and reduced energy usage. You can even manage these controls from outside your home using the AprilAire Healthy Air App on your mobile phone.
NEW AprilAire Next-Generation Thermostats
The AprilAire S86 Series Thermostats are our latest innovation. They launched in Q4 2022 and are easy to install with real language menus, basic and advanced HVAC installer settings, programmable and non-programmable options, and home automation capabilities.
AprilAire UVC Coil Cleaner
The new AprilAire UVC Coil Cleaner operates with a proprietary innovation using a sub-band of ultraviolet light. The AprilAire UVC product kills up to 99.9%* of mold on the surface of the coils of an air conditioning system, preventing the coil from becoming a source of bad air quality.
*Testing performed on Aspergillus niger mold spores in a sheet metal duct with a new bulb placed 18 inches from the surface.
AprilAire’s Partnership with the American Lung Association
AprilAire 4-inch Air Filters are a part of the American Lung Association’s National Proud Partner program*, which allows responsible brands, after careful internal and external vetting, to use the non-profit organization’s Proud Partner logo on product packaging and approved promotional materials. These 4-inch filters feature MERV 11, MERV 13, MERV 13CBN, and MERV 16 ratings and improved performance from the patented AprilAire Self-Seal Technology which minimizes the amount of air bypassing the filter.
Using AprilAire Air Filters allows homeowners to vacuum and dust less often because the filter catches airborne particles, like dust, pollen, mold spores, bacteria, and pet dander, and prevents them from settling on furniture and flooring.
*The American Lung Association does not endorse any product, device, or service.