Q&A on Radon

A Quick Q&A on Radon

What is radon?

According to the Minnesota Department of Health…
Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that seeps up from the earth. When inhaled, it gives off radioactive particles that can damage the cells that line the lung.

 Where does it come from?

Radon comes from the ground. Most soil contains traces or uranium. As the uranium breaks down over time, it turns into radium. Once the radium disintegrates it releases radon gas that rises into the air we breathe.

 Why is it a problem?

Although radon occurs everywhere, it’s most dangerous in places where it accumulates to high levels such as indoors. Radon is the most common cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second most common cause in those who smoke. Over 21,000 cases of lung cancer can be attributed to radon each year.

How do you know if you have it?

The only way to tell if you have radon is to perform a radon test. Test kits are available online and are simple to perform. A short-term test can take just a few days and a long-term test measures levels over a period of ninety days or more. Since radon levels can fluctuate greatly over time, most experts recommend a long-term test for the most accurate reading. It’s also best to test over multiple seasons.

What do you do if you’ve got it?

The good news is that mitigating a radon problem is a fairly easy and relatively inexpensive fix. In most cases you’ll want to hire a professional who’s licensed in radon mitigation. They’ll most likely install some sort of piping that will vent the radon from the lowest level of the home up and out of the attic. Even after your system is installed you’ll still want to check periodically to make sure the radon levels in your home stay below dangerous levels.


If you’d like more information about radon, check out these resources:
Minnesota Department of Health
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
United States Environmental Protection Agency


The Lifespan of 20 Essential Household Items

Has your air conditioner ever failed on a hot summer day? It’s a struggle no homeowner wants to deal with. When you own a home it’s important to budget annually for repairs that might be needed and anticipate when things might need to be replaced.

If you take care of your home, your appliances and fixtures should last longer. This means keeping them clean, performing regular maintenance and preventing unnecessary wear.
Even the most well-kept homes will need repairs at some point and it helps to know how long you should expect your items to last. We’ve put together a list of how long certain household fixtures and appliances should hold up.

Check out each of the rooms below!


Fixtures outside your home can suffer the most wear and tear of anything you own because they are constantly exposed to the elements. However, they are usually some of the most sturdy and are typically built to last. These are the items you will likely have to pay more for but luckily not as often.

  • Window Unit Air Conditioner: 10 Years

The typical window unit air conditioner can last anywhere from 8–12 years depending on how much it’s used and how well it’s taken care of. Be sure to turn the unit off when it’s not needed and clean the air filter often.

  • Garage Door: 12 Years

You can expect 10–15 years of reliable service from a garage door depending on how often it’s used. To prolong its life, apply lubricant spray to door springs every three to six months.

  • Siding: 30 Years

Siding can last anywhere from 20–40 years depending on the material used, weather conditions in your area and how well it’s taken care of. For instance, aluminum siding will last 15 years but needs to be repainted when it fades every five or so years.
Wood siding that is painted or stained every five years should last decades. But vinyl siding is a popular choice because it can last up to 40 years and is virtually maintenance free!

No matter what material you use to keep your siding clean to prevent dirt and mildew that can shorten its lifespan.

  • Roofing: 25 Years

Most homeowners will need to re-roof their house every 20–30 years, although the type of shingles you use will impact this number. A metal roof can last even longer, up to 50 years, although it’s more expensive upfront and therefore less common.

To get the longest life out of your roof ensure you check it after inclement weather and be sure to repair it quickly to avoid more damage.

  • Deck: 35 Years :

Depending on the type of wood, your deck can last anywhere from 20–50 years. However, the average deck lasts around 35 years.

Seal your deck and keep up with minor repairs to keep it strong and sturdy for many years.


Maintaining the interior of your home can keep it looking stylish and new. Even the most diligent cleaners will at some point have to replace worn out fixtures. Doing so proactively can help you avoid an emergency situation.

  • Carpet: 10 Years

Carpet in your home typically has a 5– 15-year lifespan. It will eventually begin to wear out (in the most traveled areas) and it will need to be evaluated. If you notice it’s starting to look dirty, matted or has a foul odor, it’s time to replace it.

It’s a maintenance best practice to steam clean your carpet often (before it becomes visibly dirty).

  • Faucets and Fixtures: 15 Years

Properly cleaned and maintained faucets and fixtures can last anywhere from 10–20 years. However, if they are not properly cleaned they can last less than 10 years. If you want to make them last, clean out hard water residue often.

  • HVAC System: 20 Years

It’s best to replace your system around 15 years which means saving up the money and having a professional in mind to fix it.

To get the longest life out of your HVAC change the filters often to avoid overworking your system.

  • Windows and Skylights: 30 Years

Windows and skylights last so long that often people forget they need to be replaced at all. Good windows will last most people from 25–35 years or more, but you will know it’s time to change them when they start looking warn, begin to suffer damage or are not insulating your home properly.

Be sure to clean window tracks twice yearly to prevent buildup and prolong their life.

  • Countertops: 15-100+ Years

It’s smart to invest in stone countertops such as granite or quartz because they last so much longer than laminate or cement countertops. Laminate countertops will last anywhere from 10-12 years, while a well-maintained stone countertop can last over 100 years!

Keep your investments safe by avoiding contact with hot surfaces or cutting directly on them. Reseal your stone countertops often and they can last a lifetime.


The appliances in your home are some of the easiest things to fix and some of the more inexpensive to replace. While some people replace appliances as newer technology emerges, it’s most cost-effective to use them for the duration of their lifespan.

  • Microwave: 9 Years

A microwave can last a long time if properly cared for. Usually, they last anywhere from 5–15 years and sometimes even longer depending on usage. When using your microwave, clean it often and avoid slamming the door. Never run your microwave without something inside, as it can cause serious damage.

  • Dishwasher: 10 Years

Depending on the make and model, a dishwasher can last anywhere from 7–12 years. If you start to notice your dishwasher isn’t washing well, give it a good cleaning before giving up on it.
To properly clean it, unscrew the drain and clean the filter monthly to prevent clogging. Once the filter is clean, empty the dishwasher completely (racks and all) and running it with a cup of distilled white vinegar inside it.

  • Washing Machine: 12

The average washing machine lasts between 10–15 years depending on the brand and how well it’s maintained.
To stretch its usable years further, check your washing machines water hoses for signs of wear or weakness a few times each year.

  • Dryer: 12 Years

Similar to your washing machine, your dryer should last anywhere from 10–15 years. If you buy them together, they likely will be ready to replace around the same time. If you notice it’s making strange noises or emitting strange smells, it might be nearing the end of its life.
A good maintenance best practice is to clean your lint trap before every drying session.

  • Oven: 14 Years

Ovens these days will last anywhere from 10–20 years. Don’t wait until you start ruining meals to replace your oven.

To ensure it’s running properly, inspect coil burners for deformities and replace any damaged ones.


There are other household items that may not necessarily be fixtures or appliances but are important and should be maintained nonetheless. Things like your mattress and sprinkler system are more obvious because you use them often. However, smaller things like smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and electrical wiring can cause damage if not properly maintained, so it’s important to keep your eye on them.

  • Mattress: 8 Years

Your mattress is typically used more than most other things in your house and can collect dirt, dust and grime. It’s important to get a new mattress if yours starts to look or smell dirty, or if it’s losing its firmness.

Most people get a new mattress every 7–10 years which is a good rule to follow. Make your mattress last longer by rotating it 180 degrees from head to foot every two to six months.

  • Smoke alarms: 9 Years

Three out of five home-related fire deaths occur in a house that has malfunctioning smoke detectors. It’s important to not only replace batteries every year but to replace the detectors and alarms every 8–10 years.

  • Fire extinguisher: 10 Years

It can be tough to tell how old your fire extinguisher is if you didn’t buy it yourself as some don’t have expiration or purchase dates on them.

A good way to tell if it’s working properly is to check its pressure gauge monthly to ensure the needle is in the green area of the pressure scale. If it’s damaged, has low pressure or you think it might be older than 10 years, it’s probably best to replace it.

  • Sprinkler System: 20 Years

If you’re lucky enough to have a good quality sprinkler system it can last you anywhere from 10–30 years! Take good care of it to ensure you’re on the high end of that scale. Get your backflow checked annually and drain the system of water during the winter if you’re in an area that freezes.

  • Electrical Wiring: 100+ Years

Old wiring can cause serious safety issues for you and your family. The good news is that wiring systems can last a lifetime if properly maintained. Buy an electric socket tester and routinely test your electrical outlets’ voltage.

If you start to notice low voltage, get a tingling sensation when you touch the walls, smell burning anywhere in your home or have ungrounded outlets around your house it might be time to replace it.

In general, as long as you properly maintain your appliances, fixtures and household items you should get fairly long lives out of most of them. If you also save the recommended 1% of your home’s value every year for repairs you won’t be blindsided when a costly repair does need your attention. Use this list to anticipate your product’s lifespans and enjoy stress-free home repairs.


Downtown Lakeville Is Celebrating BLOCK BASH!

The Property Geeks are proud to be involved with the 6th Annual Block Bash Festival in downtown Lakeville this Saturday night, June 2nd.

We’ve joined together with Schmitty & Sons/Gray Line Minnesota to provide safe rides home on one of their awesome trolleys! Stay tuned to our Facebook page for a finalized route so you can plan ahead!








We couldn’t be more excited about participating in Block Bash! The planning committee has been working for months on the event that will take over Market Plaza (the area between Ace Hardware and Main Street Coffee in downtown Lakeville.)

Northfield solo act Dave Hudson and Minneapolis band Soul Tree will provide the entertainment for the 21+ event. Tickets are $10 and include a free beer from either Lakeville Brewing Company or Angry Inch Brewing. Other downtown businesses Alibi Drinkery, Toppers Pizza and Main Street Wine Bar will have food and beverages available as well.

All proceeds from the event will benefit the Lakeville Public Safety Foundation. LPSF provides funding and equipment to local fire and police departments. For more information about the non-profit group, click here.

Tickets are available to purchase ahead of time through Angry Inch Brewing, Lakeville Brewing Company, Hypointe Childcare and Lakeville Fire Stations. A limited number of T-shirts are also for sale and can be purchased at Lakeville Brewing Company and Angry Inch Brewing.










Make sure you stop by our table for some fun and games, popcorn, and information on free rides home! We hope to see you there.

Down payment

70%+ of 1st Time Buyers Bought With Less Than 20% Down

Most first time buyers believe that in order to purchase their first home, they need to come up with a sizeable down payment—typically 20%.

But the truth is, you can buy a home for a lot less and, in fact, most first time buyers are.

According to the most recent REALTORS® Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors®, a whopping 72% of first time buyers purchased their home with a down payment of less than 20%.

So what’s changed? While 20% used to be the standard in order to secure a loan, options like FHA loans are more lenient with their requirements. As long as a first time buyer has the financial stability to support their mortgage payments in the long term, they can get approved—even if they aren’t able to save a substantial amount for their down payment.

The Takeaway

If you’re thinking about purchasing a home but have been putting it off to save a substantial down payment, there’s no reason to wait. With the flexible loan options on the market, you can secure a loan with a far smaller down payment than you’d imagine—and make your dream of owning a home a reality.

Chat with one of our Property Geeks today if you’d like to learn more about your financing options!


Geek of the Week – Ashley Rundell










Meet our Geek of the Week – new mama, Ashley Rundell. She’s been geeking out over her new baby boy, Lincoln James, who just turned six weeks old! Ashley and her husband, Devan, have been embracing being parents to two kids under two, and are just trying to hold on for the wild ride!










Never one to rest or relax for too long, Ashley has taken on a humongous summer project. She’s refinishing an entire antique Jenny Lind nursery set including a crib, changing table, child-size rocking chair and a high chair for Lincoln’s nursery. She’s asked the other geeks to check periodically for updates and to hold her accountable for getting it finished before Lincoln is too big to use it.










In addition to furniture refinishing, Ashley’s summer plans also include planting a huge garden, swimming lessons for her daughter, Charli, and plenty of backyard barbecues. But the biggest goal is for the Rundell family to adapt to becoming a family of four. When they include their two dogs in the count, that makes them a family of six!










The Geeks have no doubt that Ashley’s up for the challenge! We just hope she finds time to bring that baby to the office this summer so we can all have a chance to snuggle him.



Hug Your Home Challenge – May Tips

If you’ve been keeping up with The Property Geeks 2018 Hug Your Home Challenge then you know we’re almost halfway through the year! If you haven’t been keeping up, it’s not too late to join in. Click here to get your free Hug Your Home Challenge checklist, a year full of home maintenance tips that will get your house in tip top shape. This month it’s all about freshening everything up for Spring.

Freshen Up Your Fan & Filter

How long has it been since you’ve shown your oven hood some love? If your filter looks more yellow than silver and you can’t find a non-sticky place to hold onto, it’s probably time to give it a quick bath. If you’ve got a stainless steel filter, you can just pop it in the dishwasher with your next load. Unfortunately, if your filter is made from aluminum, (as many of them are) you’re going to want to opt for handwashing.

  1. Fill the sink with hot, hot, hot water.
  2. Add 1/4 cup of baking soda and a generous squirt of de-greasing dishsoap like Dawn.
  3. Remove your filter from the vent hood. Most will pop or slide out pretty easily. Submerge it in the hot, soapy water.
  4. Pour yourself a glass of iced tea while the filter soaks. (10-15 minutes at a minimum. More if you’re reading a good book.)
  5. After it’s soaked, scrub the filter with a scrub brush, being careful not to damage it.
  6. Rinse and air dry, then re-install. (Make sure it’s completely dry before you put it back in the vent hood.)

Rejuvenate Your Refrigerator

Hopefully you go through and toss out science projects growing in your refrigerator on a fairly regular basis. But how about giving your fridge and freezer a nice, deep clean? It doesn’t take too much effort and you’ll be thankful for the results since you’ll be able to tell what you’ve got stashed away in there. To give your fridge and freezer a quick, more thorough clean:

  1. Remove everything, including drawers, shelves and bins.
  2. Fill your sink with hot water and a generous squirt of liquid dish soap.
  3. Soak shelves, drawers, etc. in the sink.
  4. Use a soapy rag to wipe down the shelves, sides, and inside door of your refrigerator. If you come across sticky or stubborn spills, mix some baking soda with some water and scrub the spill with that mixture.
  5. Wipe away any remaining soap with a wet rag.
  6. Dry the interior.
  7. Scrub, rinse and dry the shelves, drawers and bins.
  8. Put your food back in place and enjoy!

Wash those Windows

Nothing makes the day a little brighter than having the sun peer in through sparkly, clean windows. In order to tackle this project, you’ll want to wait for a clear day with no chance of rain. Before you do anything else, make sure you mark the window screens. Trying to figure out which screen came from which window isn’t a fun game to play and will add hours to your chore. Then:

  1. Remove screens from all of the windows and lay them flat on a tarp.
  2. With a gentle setting, spray down all of the screens with a hose.
  3. Add a squirt of dish soap and gently scrub the screens with a scrub brush.
  4. Rinse again and let air dry.

Meanwhile, for the windows…

  1. Mix up a solution of 4 cups of water, 1/2 cup of vinegar and a small squirt of dish soap.
  2. Spray on the windows.
  3. Rinse off.
  4. Use a squeegee to wipe it off. If you can’t reach, air drying is fine.
  5. Presto! Now you can actually see outside!

Sign up here for more Hug Your Home Challenge tips and also check in on our weekly episode of #GrillTheGeeks on our Facebook page where we talk about everything going on in the real estate market plus tips for keeping your home in tip top shape!