There has recently been increased awareness in Canada of the dangers of radon. You might already hear that radon gas is present in some basements. How can you tell if it is a problem in your house?
Radon gas and its byproducts occur naturally everywhere — in soil, water and air. Rarely does it occur in concentrations that you need to worry about. However, radon gas can accumulate in confined spaces such as basements and crawl spaces in homes. Because it has been linked to lung cancer, however, high levels of radon are considered a serious health threat.
The geology under the property determines if the property will have elevated levels of Radon.
Radon gas levels are measured in a unit called the Becquerel (Bq). One Becquerel is described as one event of radiation emission per second. It is an extremely small unit.
What levels are considered safe and how to test your home?
In 2007 the federal government of Canada announced a new standard of 200 Bq per cubic metre. (The old Canadian standard considered 800 Bq per cubic meter to be an acceptable level.)
Of course the question remains: is your home safe? Health Canada’s studies show that high radon levels are not widespread in Canadian homes. However, it is difficult to predict the level in any one home. Granite counters may cause increase in radon gas levels. Some granite used for countertops may contribute variably to indoor radon levels; however, there is not sufficient data to conclude what the types of granite commonly used in countertops are significantly increasing indoor radon levels.
Radon Gas Test KitIt is recommended that private homes undergo tests for radon level measurements.
Most hardware stores or home improvement centers have do-it-yourself kits that will measure the approximate radon level in your basement. For best results, be sure to follow the directions of your kit precisely.
If your kit indicates high levels of radon, seek the advice of a trained technician. These experts are listed in your phone directory or contractor directories online under “Radon Testing” or “Radon Mitigation”.
The federal government recommends that if the radon concentration in your home is greater than 600 Bq per cubic metre, work needed to reduce levels below 200 Bq per cubic metre should be completed within a year. If levels are between 200 and 600 Bq per cubic metre, the work should be done within two years.
Call a professional. First a radon technician will come to your house and take samples of the air in your basement. The most common method is to use a canister that contains activated charcoal. Activated charcoal absorbs radon gas. The unit will be left in your home for several days to give accurate readings of the amount of gas percent.
Based on the results, an expert in mitigation will offer appropriate solutions to your radon problem.
The most common solutions include sealing cracks and joints between walls and floors. Correcting severe radon problems may require installing a system of fans and ducts to vent air to the basement. Depending on the extent of the problem and size of the basement, expect to pay between $500 and $3,000 for expert radon mitigation.
Milton Basement Finishing is NOT a radon mitigation expert and we do NOT offer professional radon gas tests. We suggest clients to have a test of their basement’s radon gas level if they have any concerns.
Contact us for all your finishing needs and we’re be happy to work with you.