Radon can seep undetected into your home and cause lung cancer. Protect your family by testing your home for radon.
Radon is a radioactive gas that is formed naturally by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. Radon is colourless, odourless and tasteless.When Radon is released from the ground outside it mixes with fresh air and gets diluted resulting in concentrations too low to be of concern. However, when Radon enters an enclosed space, such as a house or basement, it can accumulate to high concentrations and become a health risk.
Radon gas can enter a house any place it finds an opening where the house contacts the soil: cracks in foundation walls and in floor slabs, construction joints, gaps around service pipes and support posts, floor drains and sumps, cavities inside walls, and the water supply.
Almost all homes have some Radon. The levels can vary dramatically even between similar homes located next to each other.
Radon levels in a home change significantly over time. They can rise and fall from one hour or day to the next and seasonally. Radon concentrations are usually higher in winter than in summer, and are usually higher at night than during the day. This is because the sealing of buildings (to conserve energy) and the closing of doors and windows (at bedtime), reduce the intake of outdoor air and allow the build-up of Radon. For this reason, measurements taken over a longer period of time are more accurate.
Radon-reduction methods include:
- Sealing major entry routes for Radon such as open sumps, floor drains, floor wall joints, exposed soil, voids in concrete block walls and foundation wall and floor cracks.
- Sealing cracks and other openings in the foundation is a basic part of Radon reduction and can help increase their effectiveness. Proper preparation of the surface area to be sealed in very important to create an effective and long-lasting seal.
- Costs of sealing entry routes can range from a few hundred dollars to $2000 or more.
- Material costs are low but it is very labour-intensive and as the house ages and settles, the seals can deteriorate and new cracks or entry routs can appear.
- Increasing mechanical ventilation of the home with heat recovery ventilator (HRV) or energy recovery ventilator (ERV) systems
- The effectiveness of ventilation for Radon reduction is limited and only appropriate for situations where only modest reductions are needed.
- Increased ventilation will be most successful in houses that are more airtight and have low natural ventilation rates.
- An HRV might reduce Radon concentrations by 25-50%.
- Active soil depressurization (or sub-slab depressurization)
- A pipe with a fan attached, is installed through the foundation floor and connected to the outside through an exterior wall or up through the roof. This system draws the radon from below the house to the outside to stop it from entering the home.
- This is the most common method of Radon reduction when large reductions are necessary.
- Can reduce the Radon concentrations in a home by over 90%.
- Costs range from about $2000 - $3000 including material and labour. There is also a small operating cost for electricity for the fan (approx. $50-$75 per year depending on the size of fan and energy rates)
- Must be installed by a C-NRPP-certified Radon Reduction Professional
Learn more about Radon here: http://www.takeactiononradon.ca/all-about-radon