Radon Gas - The Hidden Killer
Radon is a colourless, odourless, radioactive gas that comes from the decay of uranium found in soil and rocks. Although it is natural, it can seep indoors through foundations and sump pump pits, and accumulate to concentrations that can be harmful to your health.
You may be surprised to learn that Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. In fact, it is estimated that 10% of lung-cancer related deaths in Quebec are linked to radon exposure.
How does radon gas get into my house?
Radon takes the path of least resistance into our homes, and can enter through cracks and openings in the foundation. The amount entering your home can also be influenced by the heating and ventilation system. The best time to test is during the cooler months when windows and doors are often closed and rising warm air draws more radon from the ground.
All indoor spaces will have some amount of radon and regardless of whether your home is a newer or older construction, radon tends to accumulate in the lower and less ventilated areas, like basements. The more time spent in these areas of a building, the greater the exposure to radon.
How to test for radon?
The only way to know the radon levels in your home is to conduct a long term test, in which a detector is put in place for a minimum of 3 months to achieve an accurate measurement.
Steps you can take to test your radon levels and reduce your risk include:
1. Purchase a radon test kit online at the Quebec Lung Association: https://poumonquebec.ca/en/produit/radon-detector/ The cost is $45 but you can get a $10 discount if you use the code RADON2021 when you order before December 31st, 2020.
2. Follow the instructions provided to properly place the detection device in your home.
3. After 3 months send your radon test kit to the lab to be analyzed using the return packaging and instructions provided.
4. You will receive your results within a few weeks.
5. If your radon level is below 200 no action is required.
6. For radon levels above 200 you should take action by getting a qualified contractor to install a ventilator that will depressurize the ground underneath the house and exhaust the radon gas outside.
How to lower my risk?
The following preventative steps are also recommended to ensure you are not exposing your family to high levels of radon:
1. Ensure your heating and ventilation system is well balanced and have it serviced by a professional once a year;
2. Seal basement or crawlspace floors, especially dirt floors;
3. Seal all cracks and openings in the foundation floors and walls, and around pipes and drains;
4. Ensure there is always water in the floor drain.
For more information visit the Canadian Real Estate Association website at https://www.crea.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/A_Homeowners_Guide_to_Radon_CREA.pdf for a copy of "Radon - A Guide for Canadian Homeowners".
If you think it would be useful to have professionals perform maintenance checks on your plumbing, heating, and electrical system, visit broadywindsor.com and sign-up for the Homeowners Advisory Club and get access to our Directory of Service Providers.
Let us know if you have any suggestions for other topics you'd like to see covered in upcoming editions of our Pro Tip Series. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram or subscribe to our YouTube channel to access all our Pro-Tip videos from the Homeowners Advisory Club.
Happy Holidays from our family to yours! We look forward to helping you throughout your journey as a homeowner.