Radon: what you need to know

Any property can have a radon problem – old or new, well sealed or drafty, with or without a basement. Health Canada estimates that one out of every 14 homes in Canada has an elevated level of the gas.

Prolonged exposure to unsafe levels of radon can create an increased risk of lung cancer; in fact, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Lung cancer caused by avoidable radon exposure is preventable, but only if radon issues are detected and mitigated prior to prolonged exposure in homes and buildings. There is real risk in not knowing if a property has a high level of radon.

What is radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring, odourless, colourless radioactive gas formed by the ongoing decay of uranium in soil, rocks, sediments and even well or ground water. While radon that escapes into the atmosphere is not harmful, dangerously high concentrations can build up indoors, exposing residents to possible health risks.

How does radon get into a home?
Radon can migrate indoors in several ways. Openings or cracks in basement walls, foundations or floors are common avenues. Sumps, basement drains and spaces between gas or water fittings can also allow radon into the structure. Other entry points can include gaps in suspended floors and cavities within walls.

How can I make sure the occupants of my properties aren’t at risk?
A professional radon inspection includes the setup of monitoring equipment at the property and a report on the results. If an elevated level of radon is detected, steps can be taken to reduce the concentration to or below acceptable levels inside virtually any home. This can include a relatively simple setup such as a collection system with a radon vent pipe, which prevents radon from entering the home in the first place. Professional mitigation services can provide recommendations for a home’s specific conditions.

For more information, please visit the nationwide home inspection experts at pillartopost.com.

This article originally appeared in Canadian Real Estate Wealth magazine. For your special discounted magazine subscription, click here

 

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