March 20


Understanding Radon: Essential Information for Homeowners

With Les Lamb

March 20, 2024

health and safety

Radon gas is a silent killer that often goes undetected in homes. As a homeowner, it is essential to educate yourself about this invisible threat in order to protect yourself and your loved ones. In this article, we will discuss what radon gas is, the health risks associated with exposure, how to test for radon in your home, methods for mitigating radon levels, hiring a professional radon contractor, and tips for radon awareness and prevention.

What is Radon Gas?

Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the environment as a byproduct of the decay of uranium in soil, rock, and water. It is colourless, odourless, and tasteless, making it impossible to detect without specialized equipment. Radon can enter homes through cracks in the foundation, gaps around pipes, and other openings, and can accumulate to dangerous levels indoors. Long-term exposure to high levels of radon gas has been linked to lung cancer, making it the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.

Health Risks of Radon Exposure

Exposure to radon gas increases the risk of developing lung cancer, especially in individuals who are smokers or have a history of smoking. Radon gas decays into radioactive particles that can be inhaled and damage the cells lining the lungs, leading to the development of cancer over time. The risk of lung cancer from radon exposure is higher in homes with elevated levels of radon gas, making it crucial for homeowners to test their homes for radon and take steps to mitigate any elevated levels.

Radon Map of the Greater Toronto Area

The map below shows potential radon levels for the GTA and beyond.

  • Dark red areas represent Zone 1 (high radon levels)
  • Bright red areas represent Zone 2 (elevated radon levels)
  • Pink areas represent Zone 3 (guarded radon levels)

For Durham Region, you’ll notice it generally increases once you move eastward toward Highway 115. Keep in mind that this map shows only general average potential for wide areas, while individual communities or neighbourhood fluctuations may vary. To find out how you can test for radon levels in your own home, keep reading.

radon map of the greater toronto area
GTA Radon Potential Map. Credit: Radon Environmental Management Corp, 2013

Testing for Radon in Your Home

Testing for radon in your home is a simple and inexpensive process that can be done using DIY test kits or by hiring a professional radon testing company. The most common type of radon test is a short-term test that typically takes a few days to a week to complete. If elevated levels of radon are detected, a long-term test may be recommended to get a more accurate picture of radon levels in the home. It is recommended to test your home for radon at least every two years, especially if you have never tested before or have made renovations to your home.

Radon Mitigation Methods

If high levels of radon are detected in your home, there are several mitigation methods that can be used to reduce radon levels and minimize the risk of exposure. The most common method of radon mitigation is through sub-slab depressurization, which involves installing a vent pipe and fan system to draw radon gas from beneath the foundation and vent it outside. Other methods include sealing cracks and openings in the foundation, improving ventilation, and installing radon-resistant features during new construction.

Hiring a Professional Radon Contractor

Hiring a professional radon contractor is recommended for homeowners who need assistance with testing, mitigation, or prevention of radon gas in their homes. A qualified radon contractor will have the expertise and specialized equipment needed to accurately test for radon, recommend appropriate mitigation methods, and ensure that the work is done correctly to reduce radon levels effectively. When hiring a radon contractor, make sure to choose a certified professional with a good reputation and experience in radon mitigation.

Radon Awareness and Prevention

Radon awareness and prevention are key components of protecting yourself and your family from the health risks associated with radon gas. Educating yourself and others about the dangers of radon, testing your home regularly for radon, and taking steps to mitigate elevated levels are important for reducing the risk of lung cancer. By increasing awareness about radon gas and taking proactive measures to prevent exposure, homeowners can create a safe and healthy living environment for themselves and their families.

More Radon Information – Free Download

For more extensive information, you might like to download the Canadian Real Estate Association’s “Homeowner’s Guide to Radon,” here.

In conclusion, understanding radon gas and its potential health risks is essential for homeowners who want to protect themselves and their loved ones. By testing for radon in your home, implementing mitigation methods to reduce radon levels, and hiring a professional radon contractor when needed, you can create a safer living environment and reduce the risk of lung cancer. Radon awareness and prevention should be a priority for all homeowners to ensure the health and well-being of their families. Remember, when it comes to radon gas, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Les Lamb

About Les

I'm your hard-working, full-time REALTOR©, serving in and around Durham Region, Ontario. I specialize in client care and communications. My client-centered approach puts you first and takes the stress out of your home buying and selling experience. How can I help you?

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