What to do if you have high radon levels in your home?
Because the levels of radon present in a home depend on so many variables (and they can vary dramatically, even between similar homes located next to each other), the only way to determine if you and your family are at risk is to have your home professionally tested.
If you have had your home tested for radon gas and the results show the level is above 200 becquerels per cubic meter, then you should take action to reduce the amount of radon gas in your home. It is important to note that there are significant health risks in having any amount of radon gas in your home, therefore you may want to reduce your exposure, even if your test results show levels under this amount.
Since Radon is a radioactive gas, it can pose a danger to your family’s health when it’s in your home. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the Canada and the U.S.
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. Concrete-block walls are particularly porous to radon.
Factors that affect radon levels in a home include:
- The amount of uranium in the ground around the home.
- The entry points available into your home (cracks in the foundation, crawl spaces, etc.).
- The way your home is ventilated.
Some of the steps you can take to reduce radon levels in your home include:
- Renovating existing basement floors, particularly earth floors.
- Sealing cracks and openings in walls and floors, and around pipes and drains.
- Ventilating the sub-floor of basement floors.
After you have completed repairs or upgrades to your house, it’s recommended that the home be tested again to confirm that the work has reduced or eradicated the radon gas.
For additional information, homeowners are directed to Health Canada, Canadian Cancer Society or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, both of which offer excellent publications and other resources on Radon. Contact your local AmeriSpec office for more information at 1.800.794.5880