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Frequently asked questions
Where do I put the Radon test device?
Your testing device should be put in the lowest lived in level of your home such as a
basement or an area where people are spending at least 4 hours a day, if your
basement is undeveloped and you have no plans to develop it in the near future you
can put the testing device on your main floor. Do not place your testing device
anywhere where there would be extra ventilation such as kitchens, bathrooms laundry
rooms or near open windows etc. Storage areas or areas of your home where no one
spends anytime are also ineffective to test.
I’ve lived in the same house my whole life I don’t need Radon testing, do I?
Radon exposure isn’t an instant thing, the duration mixed with the amount of exposure
is where the danger lies. The longer you are exposed to high Radon levels the higher
the risk of contracting DNA damage induced lung cancer. So even if you’ve lived in a
home for many years you won’t have any warning signs or symptoms that will indicate
needing to test your home. Its always best to act BEFORE a negative diagnosis to avoid
the regret of being able to prevent cancer.
My Radon levels are just under 200 Bq/m3 that’s safe right?
There are no “safe” levels for Radon, as far as Radon exposure goes the lower the
better. For every increase of 100 Bq/m3 your risk of getting lung cancer goes up by
about 16%, so it depends on your risk tolerance.
My home is new so I’ll have lower Radon levels than an old “leaky” home, right?
Incorrect! In an effort to make our homes as energy efficient as possible research has
actually found the newer homes tend to have higher Radon levels than older ones. This
mixed with lower quality building materials available, larger footprints of home
foundations makes for the higher Radon levels that have been observed in newer
How do you test for Radon?
Radon testing can be conducted in a few different ways depending on how quickly you require the results. The most reliable and recommended way to test your home for Radon is conducting a long-term Radon test, this can be done using an alpha track test kit. These are inexpensive small passive devices that should be left in the lowest lived in level of your home for a minimum of 90 days and up to one year. Once they are sent to the lab for analysis, they provide you with the most accurate long-term average of Radon levels within your home. Some clients prefer getting more immediate results without having to send a test away to a lab which would lead them towards using a digital monitor. Digital monitors can give you immediate results (within 24 hours) as well as build a long-term average. For transactional purposes a 96-hour Radon test can also be conducted using a commercial grade monitor, this is most popular in the real estate industry. The results of this test would then gauge the likelihood of higher than acceptable Radon levels which would allow including Radon mitigation costs into the negotiation pending long term testing within the heating season.
What is the difference between passive or active testing devices?
Passive devices don’t use power and generally trap Radon or it’s alpha particles (what Radon gas emits when it breaks down) which are then analyzed at a lab. Passive devices come in a large variety but the most popular method in Canada is the alpha track testers. These come in a kit (should include return shipping and lab analysis) which you put in the lowest lived in level in your home for a minimum of 90 days. These kits are then sent away for analysis and your results are sent to you (usually) within a few weeks. Digital radon monitors have sensors that detect radon by looking for alpha particles in the air. Many people chose to digitally monitor their Radon gas levels due to their ease of use and convenience. No lab fees, no sending away for analysis, no waiting for results. These monitors are also able to be reset and shared with friends and family to ensure everyone’s homes are safe.
I tested my home in the summer is that ok?
Testing your home outside of the heating season is not suggested as it can give you an unrealistically low picture of your home’s Radon levels. Due to thermal stack affect, radon gas tends to enter our homes a lot more rapidly in the winter months. Taking into account the efforts to conserve heat in these months the lack of open windows and low ventilation can end up trapping this gas to some unsafe levels. So, making sure to test your home during the heating season will give you the most accurate picture of your homes average Radon levels.
Can I test for Radon myself?
Of course! Please make sure the device you chose is CNRPP approved and that the source of your test kit includes return shipping and lab analysis. You’ll also want to ensure that the test hasn’t expired and has been store properly.
How often should I test?
Health Canada Recommends testing your home for Radon every 2 years, even post mitigation to ensure the efficacy of your Radon reduction system. If you’ve conducted any large-scale renovations that have disturbed the foundation or built any additions to your home you should conduct new testing as well. This is when the digital monitors are handy as they can be reset and used again.
If it’s always been around why are we all of sudden hearing about Radon causing lung
Like most things in the health and sciences fields the more research that is conducted
along with the advancement of technology, the more we are able to explain certain
phenomena observed in the medical field. In the past people who died from lung cancer could have been attributed to second hand smoke inhalation or just plain “bad luck”. If
some of these people’s homes were to be tested for high Radon levels now some of
these cases could definitely be attributed to high Radon levels where in the past these
tests were unable to be conducted.
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What are “safe” Radon levels?
There are no “safe” levels of Radon, as far as this carcinogenic gas goes, the lower the better. Health Canada’s maximum allowable levels are 200 Bq/m3 The World Health Organization’s maximum allowable levels are 100 Bq/ m3. The higher the levels, the higher the risk of getting DNA damage induced lung cancer.
Does Radon affect children more than adults?
Some studies have concluded that due to children’s development and rapidly dividing cells, genetic damage is more serious. Studies have also shown that since children generally have much higher respiratory rates, they are that much more likely to inhale harmful radon gas.
How do I know if someone is qualified to do my Radon Testing and Mitigation?
Dealing with Radon levels in your home requires specialized training so you’ll want to leave this work to someone who has been properly trained and certified. Attempting to reduce your radon levels on your own may seem like the cost-effective route, but not completing this work properly can actually have the opposite effect and increase the levels of this carcinogenic gas in your home.
Our various affiliations with Radon professionals, societies and organizations exposes us to a very helpful network of knowledgeable and educated people. This network allows us to continue accessing the most up-to date information and research on the topic of Radon exposure and long-term effects. Knowing what we know now, our suggestion is that homeowners get their homes tested and mitigated (if necessary) as soon as they are able.
C-NRPP trained and certified professionals are the best choice for completing your Radon Measurement and Mitigations because:
- They have been trained and are expected to continue professional Development in order to keep their certification, ensuring their up to date knowledge in the industry
- They have the proper equipment and supplies
- They have the experience needed to complete the job properly and safely
- They have sufficient insurance to perform the job
Does having high Radon levels affect me selling my home?
People are becoming more and more aware of Radon and its long-term effects. The Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) has added a Radon section to their Realtors recertification course as of 2019 so that realtors are more aware of this growing issue. Getting your home tested and mitigated on your terms and within your budget is a great way to ensure that this isn’t something that is rushed into the sale transaction at the very end. Having a Radon reduction system is something that can set your home apart from someone else’s, and it is another thing that a homebuyer won’t have to worry about when purchasing your home. A win-win situation, safer home for your family and a more desirable home for the purchaser.
Where does Radon gas come from?
Radon gas comes from the breakdown of Uranium deposits in the ground. This gas then makes it way through the soil and enters the house in a variety of ways, most through foundation/floor cracks, gaps in service pages, floor drains etc. These Uranium deposits are random which is why its so important that each individual home own get their home tested!
Does the location of my home affect how much Radon gas will be in it?
No, the location of your home has little affect on the Radon levels in your home. The most important factor is the size of the Uranium deposit beneath the ground. These Uranium deposits are random and there are many factors that would affect the amount of Radon gas that is able to enter your home. If you have a void under your furnace, large foundation cracks or a sump pump system etc., these are all factors that could contribute to your home having higher levels.
My home was built after 2015 so I have the Radon pipe, I’m good to go right?
No! This is a very common misconception. Home built after 2015 have Radon rough in pipes, but by no means does this mean that the homes have now been “mitigated for Radon”. This just means that some of the work for the system has been done but our professionals still require doing diagnostics, fan installation and venting to the exterior of the home. We’ve also come across homes that have had the Radon rough in pipes filled with concrete or installed incorrectly making them useless and causing our mitigation professionals to start from scratch.
My levels are high, now how do I get started fixing this problem?
Firstly, contact us! Call, e-mail, book online whatever works for you. We accommodate a variety of different appointment times to book you in for your free no obligation mitigation quote. We come to your home for about 30 minutes (depending on how many questions you may have) and very shortly afterwards you should have your outline of the work that is to be completed as well as our pricing. Once you are comfortable with what we’ve outlined you can book in a date for your service. In between that time, we send you an agreement and some information on what needs to be in place for the mitigation to take place. We arrive on time and leave your home as clean (or cleaner) than we found it. We are able to show you a digital scan of the real time drop in Radon levels from the moment you system starts working.
How long can I wait to get a Radon Mitigation system installed?
Health Canada suggests taking action against Radon levels in your home within 2 years if your levels are between 200-600 Bqm3 . If your homes levels are more that 600 Bq/m3 the suggestion is to have a radon mitigation system installed within 1 year. Again, these are matters of personal preference as we’ve had some clients take action right away even with levels under 200 Bq/m3 as their threshold for health risks was quite low.
What is Radon Mitigation?
Our Radon mitigation systems are designed to decrease the levels of Radon in your home to the lowest possible level. Our professionals ensure the Radon entry points are identified, pressure diagnostics are completed and system is effectively installed. The technical term for the system being installed in your home is called Active Soil Depressurization (formerly called Sub Slab Depressurization). This means that the mitigation professional designs a system that will change the pressure beneath your home and use a fan (specific to your diagnostic measurements) to draw the radon gas from under your home and vent it outside. Once outside this gas very quickly dissipates into its outdoor average levels of about 10 Bq/m3
Please submit your details as well as a preferred date and time for your appointment, and a GWR representative will follow up with you on the closest time slot available. If you would like an online quote please provide us with some information about your home so that we can best serve you.