Radon Gas Testing in your Home
After cigarette smoking, radon gas exposure is now identified as the second biggest cause of lung cancer. Radon is a radioactive gas found in different concentrations almost everywhere on the planet. Health Canada is recommending that indoor air be tested to determine the levels present in your home.
Radon originates underground from the radioactive decay of Uranium and Thorium and can enter homes through basements, crawl spaces or floor slabs. It penetrates through cracks in the foundation, floors, or through openings such as piping and ductwork. The greatest risk of Radon exposure arises in buildings that are air tight, have insufficient ventilation, and have foundation leaks that allow air from the soil to enter.
Radon is difficult to test because levels fluctuate considerably over short periods of time. Long term testing, such as 3 months or greater, is more accurate. Typically testing equipment is left in place for 2 to 7 days and then sent to a lab for analysis. Testing should be done in fall and winter when houses tend to be sealed up and accumulations are higher. The length of time required to test for Radon presents a problem for people wanting to purchase a home since subject removal on a potential property does not allow such long waiting times. Testing may have to be done after purchase or, if you already own a home, test for your peace of mind and health, or as a selling aid when putting your home on the market.
The outcome of the test results will determine whether remediation is required or not. If remediation is required a qualified contractor should be chosen who will then modify the home to prevent entry of Radon into the living space. This is usually a combination of sealing the basement or crawlspace floor and altering or adding ventilation to prevent further Radon ingress.