Radon gas can enter your home through any point where it is in contact with the ground. Soil, cracks in the floor, walls connected with soil, gaps around pipe fittings and support posts in the foundation, floor drains and sump pumps can all be entry points for radon. Over an extended period of time, exposure to radon can damage the lung tissue cells and lead to the development of cancer.
Testing for Radon
Since long-term exposure to elevated levels of radon poses the health risk, and radon levels can change daily, it is best to test for radon with a long-term test of 91 days or more. For most single family homes, duplexes or apartments, you only need to test in one room (for homes with larger square footage you may want to consider testing in two different areas).
It is also a good idea to measure radon levels before renovating your home to see if you should include a mitigation system in your renovation plans, as well as after any renovations that have changed your heating system or building envelope.
By hiring a C-NRPP certified professional to conduct the testing for you, you can ensure that tests are placed properly. A professional will provide you with the information you need in a way that is easy to understand so you can rest assured of your safety, and that of your home, for years to come.
Reducing Radon Levels
The best to reduce radon levels in a home is through a mitigation system. The most effective type of mitigation system is called an ‘Active Soil Depressurization’, it involves installing a pipe with a fan into a home’s concrete floor or crawlspace. The fan draws radon from the ground and expels it through a pipe vented to the outside of the house.
If you have tested your home and discovered it requires radon mitigation, it is best to hire a C-NRPP Certified Professional with proper training and hands-on experience in reducing radon levels in residential construction.
Steps to reduce radon levels:
- Test for radon
- If radon levels are high, find a professional
- Ask the professional…
- For proof of past work
- For references
- For a plan and schedule for the work to be done
- For proof of certification
- To do an onsite inspection of your home
- Whether they have liability insurance
- What steps they do as part of the ‘Communication Testing’ or diagnostics prior to installing a full system
- Whether they charge for diagnostic testing
- What type of monitor will be used to ensure the radon reduction system is working continually
- What type of testing will be conducted after the system is installed to confirm it has been effective in reducing radon levels
- Contractor conducts diagnostic tests and develops a system design, plan and schedule
- Contractor installs mitigation and conducts a short term test to determine if it has been effective
- Homeowner or professional tests the home again with a long-term test following the heating season to confirm radon levels are lowered.
Did you know? For all new homes, the National Building Code includes measures specifically designed to make radon mitigation systems quieter, more efficient and more effective. These measures include:
- Gravel sub-membrane layer
- Poly-membrane layer beneath the slab
- Properly located, capped and labeled rough-in or passive pipe
- Proper sealing
- Properly sealed sump pump
Every new home must be tested for radon levels once occupied.