Why You Should Test Your Home for Radon Gas

It’s easy to understand why people would be unaware of the potentia lhealth hazard of radon gas in their home – after all, it is an odourless, tasteless and colourless gas. According to Health Canada, radon is a cancer-causing gas released from the ground that can enter your home anywhere there’s an opening where the house contacts the soil (e.g., cracks in foundation walls, gaps around service pipes, support posts, floor drains, etc.). Some amount of radon is found in almost every home, but concentration levels will vary from one house to another, even if they are next to each  other. It’s when the gas accumulates to higher levels in indoor air that exposure poses an increased risk of developing lung cancer.
Health Canada says that a lifelong smoker with long-term exposure to a high level of radon has a 1-in-3 chance of developing lung cancer, while non-smokers at the same high radon level have a 1-in-20 chance. While Health Canada expects only a small percentage of homes will have radon levels above the guidelines, the only way to know the radon level in your home is to have it tested.
There are two options for testing a house for radon:

  • Hiring a radon measurement professional, or
  • Purchasing a do-it-yourself radon test kit from a home improvement store.  The cost of the test kit ranges from $25 to $75.

Just as a home inspection is a wise investment before purchasing a house, so too is testing for radon. Like routine maintenance, if a high radon level is detected, fixing the problem will go a long way to protecting the value of your home.
If a test shows that your radon level is above the Canadian guideline, Health Canada recommends the following steps to reduce it:

  • Increase mechanical ventilation to allow a more frequent exchange of air.
  • Seal cracks and openings in foundation walls and floors, and around pipes and drains.
  • Ventilate the basement sub-flooring by installing a small pump to draw the radon from below the concrete slab to the outside before it can enter your home.

For more information on radon and testing your home, visit the Health Canada website (www.healthcanada.gc.ca/radon) or call 1-800-662-6232.
Formally educated as an Architect, Jagdeep Singh is a Toronto REALTOR™ consulting on both resale real estate and new developments. Powerful Local Focus on Real Estate with a Global Perspective™
This post is for information purposes only and was adapted, with permission, from the Fall 2012 edition of RECOnnect. Though effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the contents, the reader is advised to verify the information independently. This post may contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. The reader is not allowed to reproduce it in any medium without the author’s prior written permission. Jagdeep Singh is a broker with Century 21 Heritage Group Ltd., Brokerage, (416) 798-7133, which is independently owned and operated. This message is not intended to solicit parties currently under contract.

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