Radon Gas has been discussed often lately here in Alberta, and we want to share some information from Health Canada in regards to it, what you can do to reduce your exposure to it.
First of all, what is Radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is formed by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. It cannot be detected by the senses; however, it can be detected easily with radon measurement devices. When radon escapes from the ground to the outdoors, it mixes with fresh air resulting in concentrations too low to be of concern. When radon enters an enclosed space, such as a home, it can accumulate to high concentrations and become a health concern. Radon can enter a home 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, support posts, window wells, floor drains, sumps or cavities inside walls.
There are 2 ways to Measure Radon in your home, long-term and short-term.
Radon levels in homes can vary significantly over time. In fact, it is not uncommon to see radon levels change by a factor of 2 to 3 over a 1-day period, and variations from season to season can be even larger. As a result, a long-term measurement period will give a more accurate indication of the annual average radon concentration than measurements of shorter duration. Long-term measurements are 3 to 12 months in duration. Higher radon levels are usually observed during winter months when houses are sealed up.
Short-term measurements are not acceptable to determine radon concentrations for the purposes of assessing the initial need for remedial action. Since radon concentrations vary over time, it is strongly recommended that the result of any short-term measurement be confirmed with a "follow-up" long-term measurement, at the same location within the home, to inform decisions about mitigation.
Why Hire A Certified Professional?
If radon levels in your home are above the Canadian guideline, Health Canada recommends that you hire a professional certified under the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program (C-NRPP). Lowering radon levels in a home requires specific technical knowledge and skills to ensure the job is done properly.
Choose a contractor to fix a radon problem just as you would choose someone to do other home renovations or repairs. It is wise to get more than one estimate if possible and to ask for references. Contact some of those references to ask if they are satisfied with the contractors' work. Be sure to get a written cost estimate that outlines all of the work to be carried out.
To find a list of certified professionals contact the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program (C-NRPP) at 1-855-722-6777, go to www.c-nrpp.ca
More information on the Canadian National Radon Proficiency certification training and programs is available online at www.c-nrpp.ca
Reducing Radon in Homes
When selecting a radon reduction method for your home, you and your contractor should consider several things, including:
- the radon level in your home;
- the costs of installation and system operation;
- your home's size and foundation type.
The effectiveness of any one radon-reduction method will depend upon the unique characteristics of your home, the level of radon, how it is getting into your house, and how thoroughly the job is done. A single method may do the job, but sometimes a combination of several methods must be used.
For more information, here are 2 resources from Health Canada