Wednesday, 2 November 2016

5 Steps To Take When Adressing Radon Concerns in your Home

STEP 1 ~ Purchase a short-term test or hire a professional to administer a long-term test. Radon test kits can be purchased at common hardware stores. Pick one up and follow the instructions to deploy the radon detector in your home. If it's a short-term test, it will tell you to keep the house under close-house conditions 12 hours prior to deploying the device as well as during the entire time the device remains in your home. "Closed house conditions" simply means to close or prevent natural/manual ventilation as well as mechanical ventilation that exchanges inside air for outside air. Examples of these include: windows, doors, fireplaces, HRVs. Also remember there are clearances to be followed when deploying the device. In addition, some detectors might require you to take note of the temperature and relative humidity during the testing period. In addition, abnormal weather conditions like storms, high winds, hurricanes, etc will skew the results of the test. Once the testing period is up, you can "de-activate" the detector and ship it off to the lab for analysis. If you are not comfortable with deploying the device, don't hesitate to call a certified radon measurement professional to take care of all of this for you.
STEP 2 ~ Obtain results from the radon measurement professional or from a credited laboratory and interpret results. Once the laboratory or radon measurement professional emails you the results, find out the radon concentration. Now there are currently 3 guidelines to consider when we think about radon exposure limits. Health Canada set a guideline of 200 Bq/m3. The EPA set a guideline of aprox. 150 Bq/m3. The World Health Organization set a guideline of 100 Bq/m3. Each of these regulating bodies recommend mitigating your home of radon if the radon concentration in your home exceeds their respected guidelines. It's entirely up to you what guideline you would like to follow. Do remember that any amount of radon in your home is bad. Although we cannot live in an environment completely free of radon, we do have the resources and technology that allows us to alter our environment and live in a habitat with extremely low radon concentration.
STEP 3 ~ Want to mitigate? Here are your options. If not, go to step 4. Option A - Employ extra means of ventilating your home to dilute the radon concentration in your home. Examples include installing an HRV or setting up more fans throughout the house, including window fans. Option B - Pressurize your basement to overcome the positive pressure coming from the ground in order to supress the radon gas and limit the amount of radon from seeping into the basement. In adition, sealing your basement of all cracks and gaps and spaces in and around the foundation will help significantly. Option C - Active Soil Depressurization = Apply negative pressure to the soil/ground beneath your basement floor by installing a venting appliance. These systems should be rated for radon and properly installed to ensure effective and efficient removal of radon. Once again, if you are not comfortable or do not know absolutely everything about radon mitigation, please talk to a certified professional.
STEP 4 ~ Keep an eye on your radon concentration. If you had your house mitigated of radon using active soil depressurization, perform a short-term test to make sure the system is functioning properly. If you tested a radon concentration below the guideline, but very close, it is recommended you test in 1 year or less. If the test result is drastically lower than the guideline, consider re-testing in 2 years.
STEP 5 ~ SHARE WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED AND RECOMMEND ANY PROFESSIONALS WHO HELPED YOU ALONG THE WAY Maybe your neighbors could benefit from the things you learned about. Maybe your neighbors have a really high concentration of radon and they are completely oblivious to it. Maybe you know someone who was diagnosed with lung cancer and now they want to employ preventative measures by limiting their exposure to things that have the potential to cause cancer. Considering radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, it would benefit anyone who has a lung condition.

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