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WHAT IS RADON?
Radon is a gas formed by the breakdown of uranium, a natural radioactive material found in all soil and rock.
As uranium breaks down it produces radioactive particles (Radon) that can get lodged in your lung tissue when you breath.
HOW RADON CAN ENTER YOUR HOME
RADON can enter your home at any opening where the house contacts the soil. Some of these openings include: floor drains and sumps, floor/wall joints, cracks in the foundation wall, cracks in the slab floor, utility penetrations, exposed soil/rock in crawlspaces, hollow support posts(eg. jackposts, missing mortar on block foundations, and pores in the face of block foundations.
MEASURING THE RADON LEVEL IN YOUR HOME
Health Canada recommends that home owners do a long-term radon test (minimum 3 months), during the fall or winter. The detector needs to be placed at the lowest level of your home (where homeowners spend a minimum of 4 hrs a day). eg.. a basement bedroom, office etc..
Radon test kits can be purchased by phone, from the internet, or in person from certain professionals, local community health organizations or home improvement retailers..
Note: be sure to send the detector to the lab once the three month testing period is over, and be sure to write down the test start date and the stop time and date.
If you hire someone, make sure they are C-NRPP certified.
REDUCING RADON IN HOMES
1. Active Soil Depressurization.
This is the most effective and reliable radon reduction method. This involves installing a pipe through the foundation floor slab and attaching a fan that exhausts the radon gas from below the home to the exterior.
2. Sump-Hole Depressurization.
The sump can be capped and sealed so that it can still drain water and also serve as a location for a radon suction pipe.
3. Drainage System Depressurization.
Drain tiles or perforated pipe that drain water away from a foundation can be an effective way to suck the radon gas from under the foundation and exhaust it to the exterior.
4. Crawlspace: Active Sub-Membrane Depressurization.
The soil in a crawlspace can be vented. It involves laying a thick plastic sheet over the soil, sealing the air-tight membrane to the foundation walls and installing a fan to draw the radon from under the plastic and vent to the outdoors.
5. Sealing Major Entry Routes for Radon.
eg.. cracks in foundation walls, install a sealed sump pump cover, floor drains,
6. Increase The Mechanical Ventilation Of The Home.
eg.. a heat recovery ventilator (HRV)
More information can be found here:
Health Canada's guide to "Radon Reduction Guide For Canadians. 2014