Radon Awareness Month: How to Test for Radon In Your Home
According to the current Canadian guideline, the radon concentration should be no greater than 200 becquerels per cubic metre (200 Bq/m^3) for indoor air in dwellings; becquerels is a measurement used to determine the emission of radiation per second. Radon exposure higher than the guideline of 200Bq/m^3 presents a health risk; details about the health risks can be read here.
It is important to note that radon exposure below the guidelines does not completely eliminate the health risks. Unfortunately, as radon is present in all Canadian homes, the health risk for exposure to radon concentration below the recommended guideline is still present but is small. In fact, there is no level of radon that completely eliminates the health risk. For this reason, it is up to the home-owner to determine which radon concentration (below the Canadian guidelines, of course) they are willing to accept. However, we want to emphasize that the number of annual deaths from radon-induced lung cancer is significantly higher than the number of deaths from car accidents, carbon-monoxide poisoning, and house fires. Don’t forget that radon-induced lung cancer is preventable. If you suspect high radon levels or want to air on the side of caution, get your home tested. That is the only way to be certain!
So how can one test for radon in their home? Home-owners have two options:
Do-it-yourself Radon Test Kit. If you choose this option, ensure that you read and follow the instructions closely. Otherwise, you will get an inaccurate reading (whether that be too high or too low). These kits can be found online, over the phone, or from home improvement retailers. The price can range from $30 to $60. Visit this website for more information.
Ensure you preform the radon test at the lowest lived-in level of the home. In other words, pick a room that is being used continuously for at least four (4) hours a day. This can be the basement, the living room, or maybe even the kitchen! For example, if you use the basement (which is the lowest level of the house) for only storage, then you do not need to test at this level. This is because the exposure time is not long enough to bring about any health effects.
Hire A Professional. If you choose this option, ensure that the professional is certified and will complete a long-term test (3 months minimum). Might we add a self-promo: Safetech also offers this service. Give us a call if you’re interested or have any questions!
Each option comes with its own pros and cons. If you cannot decide between the two options, do more research and see which option better fits your budge and/or needs.
Alright, so let’s say you completed a radon test and it turns out that the level is above the Canadian guideline. Now what? How can you fix the problem?
There are many methods to lowering radon. However, the most common method for radon reduction is called sub-soil depressurization. This method works by absorbing air (which also contains radon gas) from under the house and exhausting the air outside (before it has the chance to enter the house). This method is very effective in reducing radon levels. Health Canada recommends hiring a professional that is certified under the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program to help reduce radon in the best way possible for a specific home. The cost for reducing radon will depend on the home and the work that is needed to do this. Typically, this can range anywhere from $2000 to $4000.
You might choose to not fix the problem, despite the obvious health effects that exposure to high level of radon presents. But we also want to point out that not fixing the issue might also lower the value of the home. It is best, both on a personal and economic level, to fix the issue immediately.