How to lower radon levels in your home
Over the past few decades, radon has become a more familiar term among developers and homeowners, as radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in Canada.
Radon is one of the 4 risks to watch out for in your home. An increasing number of recently built homes have anti-radon vents and barriers. Radon remains a problem in older homes, however. Here’s how to reduce radon levels in your home.
What is radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas that is naturally produced in the ground by decaying uranium. It makes its way into buildings via a process similar to vacuuming. Indoor air pressure tends to be lower than the pressure in the soil surrounding and below the foundation. The difference in pressure creates a vacuum. Radon is aspirated into the house from the ground, and it rises into the living space through cracks and gaps in the foundation. The gas gets trapped inside the home, where it can reach dangerous levels.
How do you measure radon levels in your home?
First you need to find out whether you have a radon problem by testing the air in your home. Radon test kits, or dosimeters, don’t cost very much, and you can find them at some hardware stores or online through the Quebec Lung Association and CAA-Quebec.
A dosimeter is generally installed in a lower-level room where you spend more than four hours a day. It is then sent to a lab for analysis. For a more accurate reading, perform the test during the winter when the windows are closed.
How do you reduce radon levels in your house?
It’s important to rectify the situation quickly if the dosimeter detects a high concentration of radon in your home. Radon mitigation measures can include repairing any cracks in the foundation walls and floor slabs, filling in gaps around pipes and ducts, fitting floor drains with trap seals and improving basement ventilation. If radon is detected in a crawl space, the floor can be covered with an airtight membrane. These corrective measures can also help with moisture problems in the basement.
It’s important to know how to get rid of radon if you find out your levels are dangerous, making the necessary repairs as soon as possible to protect your health and that of your family. While you wait for work to begin, be sure to aerate your home, especially the basement.