If you haven’t had your home tested for radon gas, the time to do it is now. According to Health Canada, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer (after smoking). The same report says that 6.9% of us live in homes where radon levels exceed Canadian guidelines (200 Bq/m3). Could your home be one of them?
The trouble is, you won’t know whether your home is affected unless you get it tested. Radon is a radioactive gas that has no colour, odour, or taste. A natural byproduct from the decay of radium in soil and rocks, radon can seep quietly into your home via cracks in foundations, pipes and windows. Indoor levels can be many times higher than those found outdoors. We’ve alerted clients living in areas known to have high radon levels, and every drawing that we create contains recommendations for venting radon (see cross-section below). In actual fact, the problem is so serious that Health Canada recommends testing for all homes.
There are radon mitigation systems available, and depending on when you choose to implement them, their costs vary. According to Interior Radiation Protection Services in Nelson, BC, the average cost to install a system in an existing home is $2800. But if you install radon-resistant features in a new home during its construction, the cost is only $1000. This is a relatively small investment for a potentially life-saving measure. The IRPS website gives further details about the features that can make your home radon-resistant (http://www.irps.info/). They have a list of best practices for new construction, which is summarized here.
Please have a look at the information available, and make the necessary calls if you haven’t already done so. You’re only as healthy as your home!