A Homeowners Perspective to the Importance of Getting a Home Inspection Blog by: Justo Like...
Top 10 Things You Might Know About Radon Gas
Tuesday, May 21st, 2019 @ 4:07pm
Radon the invisible and odourless gas comes from uranium. Uranium is everywhere in the ground and in all kinds of soil, and when it starts to break down, that’s when it creates a radioactive gas that is odourless, colourless and tasteless. It’s your duty as a homeowner to ensure you have safe levels of radon and educate yourself on some things you may or may not know about radon. Here’s top 10 things you might not know about radon.
10) Radon Mitigation Systems Don’t Cost Much
Radon Mitigation Systems actually don’t cost as much as you might think. Radon mitigation systems cost anywhere from $2,500.00 – $4,000.00.
9) About 7% Of Canadians Are Living In Homes With Unsafe Radon Levels
Don’t be one of them. The current safety guideline for radon is 200 Bq/m3. I recently saw a house that had more than eight times that amount. Think that’s bad? I’ve heard of homes having over 2300 Bq/m3. One home in Quebec had 20,653 Bq/m³! While the house next door only had 125 Bq/m³—and it had a crawlspace with a dirt floor. Protect your family and get your home tested. The good news is if you have high radon levels you can fix the problem, and it’s a relatively straightforward fix.
There are two options to test your home:
● DIY Kits
● Hire a C-NRPP professional. Short-term (3-5 days) tests exist, however long-term tests (over a 3 month period) provide a more accurate average reading.
8) Every Home Has Some Radon
Radon levels vary greatly across cities, provinces and the country but there is no way to predict if a house has a radon problem or not—one house might have normal levels while the house next door has levels off the chart. The only way to know for sure is to TEST for it.
7) There Are 3 Types Of Radon Mitigation Systems
● Sub-Slab Depressurization (SSD) – most common radon mitigation system where a piping system and fan are installed to extract radon and other gases from beneath the home and discharge them outdoors. Up to 95% reduction in radon.
● Sub-Membrane Depressurization (SMD) – this uses the same piping system and fan as above but this method is used when exposed soil or rock crawlspace exists in the basement or a sealed crawlspace is present under the house. Radon is extracted from beneath a polyethylene sheet placed over the exposed sub-surface.
● HRV – Heat Recovery Ventilator – all new builds in Ontario require HRV installations. An HRV allows for the exchange of outdoor and indoor air and can save energy and reduce heating/cooling costs. Also, an HRV can help reduce radon concentration by approximately 50% according to CAREX Canada. Radon can be further reduced by installing a RADOSTAT, a device that works with your HRV that can detect increased levels of radon in your home, and trigger an air change, cycling in clean, treated air, and exhausting the radon infused air harmlessly out your ventilation system. Once the radon concentration lowers, the HRV goes back to its normal function. If your home already has an HRV, I would recommend having one of these mitigation devices installed.
If you’re in an older home and have an HVAC system and ducting, an HRV can easily be added to your system.
6) Even Builders Are Recognizing The Need To Reduce Radon Levels
I’ve been working with builders throughout Canada who are incorporating radon mitigation right into their builds. They are building better and stronger homes by preventing radon entry and better air quality.
New builds can have radon mitigation systems built in the foundation to help the gas harmlessly vent into the outdoor air – and not seep in through your foundation.
Over top of the panels, you lay your gas barrier membrane, which acts as an air barrier. Laying the panels and membrane is a pretty quick process that only takes two people around four hours to install. Afterwards, you pour the concrete slab over top.
5) Radon Remediation Coverage is $15,000 Under The Tarion Warranty
Coverage lasts for seven years from home’s original date of possession. The claim is based on the average radon levels from a long-term test in the basement (finished or unfinished, but not from a crawlspace) as per Health Canada’s Guide for Radon Measurement in Residential Dwellings, based on test measurements and results from a C-NRPP (Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program) certified professional.
DID YOU KNOW?
4) Radon Can Get Into The Water Supply Too
If your home depends on water from a private well, this is another entry point for radon. When you test your home, make sure you have your well tested, too. There are aerated systems that can be installed to your well system and release the radon before it enters your home.
3) Radon Can Easily Get Into Your Home Regardless Of The Age Of The Home
Nowadays homes are more tightly sealed. This is great for energy efficiency but not if you have radon. Because it’s a gas it can easily get inside your home, through openings:
● Floor Slab
● Floor Drains
● Sump Pump
● Gaps Around Service Pipes
2) Radon Gas Is Preventable
When diluted into the air Radon gas is not dangerous. However, when it gets trapped, like in a home and becomes concentrated and left untreated it can cause a big risk, resulting in lung cancer.
1) Leading Cause Of Lung Cancer In Non-Smokers
And if you’re a smoker and you have elevated radon levels in your home, over time your chances of developing lung cancer is 1 in 3. Recent studies estimate that radon causes 3,200 lung cancer deaths per year in Canada. Breathing in radon over an extended period of time is a serious risk to your health because these tiny radioactive particles can get into your lungs, and when they release energy they can damage lung cells.