Most people are aware that carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas that needs to be kept out of our homes at all costs. One of the things that make the gas so harmful is that it is both colourless and odourless. As a result, it’s practically impossible to know if it is even present in the home. And while a carbon monoxide detector may take care of that, it’s not the only colourless and odourless gas that we should be worried about. Radon is also a danger.
What is radon exactly? In addition to being unable to see or smell this gas, we can’t do a whole lot to prevent its presence. Radon actually comes naturally from our environment, as it is released into the air by the breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, “once released, radon breaks down into radioactive elements that can attach to dust and other substances in the air we breathe. It’s also a common type of radiation exposure.”
So just how dangerous is radon? Unfortunately, this gas can have disastrous effects on our health. Health Canada informs us that radon is actually the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking! However, as long as radon is kept outdoors, it shouldn’t present any real dangers. This is because the outdoor air is able to dilute the gas to low concentrations, says Health Canada. Basically, as long as radon is kept out of our homes, we’re safe.
But how does radon get into our homes? It’s pretty common to have soil and rocks present in the areas of where we live. And when radon escapes from the soil and rocks around our homes, it can build up in poorly ventilated enclosed spaces. This is when radon becomes dangerous. According to Health Canada, if an indoor radon level exceeds 200 Bq/m3, measures should be taken to lower it.
How can we lower radon levels in our homes? Health Canada believes that “reducing the amount of radon in your home is easy. Techniques to lower radon levels are effective and can save lives. Radon levels in most homes can be reduced by more than 80% for about the same cost as other common home repairs such as replacing the furnace or air conditioner.” Thankfully, the Canadian Cancer Society unveils a few of those techniques.
The first is to install an active soil depressurization system. Also known as a “sub-slab depressurization system”, it works to reduce the concentration of radon in the soil, especially next to your home’s foundation. They also recommend that you seal all cracks and holes in the basement floors and walls. This will help to prevent radon gas from seeping into the home. You’ll also want to cover all sump pumps and drains.
In addition, it is recommended that you increase air circulation in the home by regularly opening your windows. You can also install a mechanical ventilation system in order to promote a healthy balance of indoor air and outdoor air. Health Canada adds, however, that radon is almost always present in most homes. It’s important to discover just how much is there. Therefore, getting a test is your best bet.
“Radon levels in a home can vary a lot from hour to hour and day to day, so the most accurate way to find out if you have a problem is to measure radon levels in your home for at least 3 months,” says Health Canada. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services that diligently seek to locate all sources of air pollution in the home. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.