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RADON – WHAT IS IT AND IS IT IN YOUR HOME?

Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas which is produced when uranium in soil and rock decomposes. If this occurs outdoors, it isn’t a concern as it is heavily diluted in the air. However, it can pose a risk if it happens in an enclosed space like a home. 
 
How Can Radon Get Inside My House?
This happens as the air pressure within your home is normally lower than the soil which surrounds your home’s foundation. The pressure difference draws air (along with other gases including radon) from the soil inside. Radon can enter in any place it finds an opening in contact with soil: foundation cracks, construction joins, gaps around pipes, and more.
 
What Are The Health Risks?
When inhaled, radon gas breaks down to create radioactive particles which release small blasts of energy. Lung tissue absorbs this energy, damaging the cellular structure of the lungs which can lead to lung cancer when the damaged cells begin to reproduce. If you’re a smoker, your chances of being diagnosed with lung cancer are significantly higher.
 
How Do I Test For Radon In My Home?
There are two ways you can do this. The first is to purchase a DIY radon test kit which you can buy at a hardware store. If you do this, you need to follow the instructions very carefully to ensure you set up the test properly. The other option is to hire a radon measurement professional. If you take this route, ensure they’re a certified professional and will conduct a long-term test which should take at least 3 months minimum. Canadian guidelines say that in indoor air, radon shouldn’t be higher than 200 Becquerels per cubic metre. A Becquerel is one radioactive disintegration per second. 
 
How Can I Reduce the Amount of Radon In My Home?
If you do a test and your result is above the guidelines, there are a few things you can do to try and reduce the level of radon in your home. First you can install a small pump to ventilate the basement sub-flooring. This is known as a Sub Slab Depressurization and is normally performed by a contractor. Second you can use a heat recovery ventilator to increase the exchange of air to better ventilate your home. Lastly, you can seal all cracks and openings within foundation walls and floors, along with around pipe and drains.
 
If you’d like to learn more in general about radon along with the costs associated with rectifying any potential issues within your home, visit the Government of Canada website.

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