Radon Gas in Edmonton – What You Need to Know
Radon gas is an invisible radioactive gas that can’t be seen, tasted, or smelled, and many homes in Alberta can be at risk. Radon can be found in rocks, natural gas, water, some building materials, and most commonly in the soil underneath your home. This gas is also the second leading cause of lung cancer in Canadians and requires special attention from homeowners and builders to avoid long-term health issues.
Here is everything you need to know about radon gas in Edmonton so you can mitigate risk and keep your family safe at home.
Is There Radon Gas in My Home?
A study performed by Health Canada found that there are no Radon-free zones anywhere in Canada. Every home in the country contains at least some level of this gas. According to this study, approximately 20,000 dwellings in Edmonton will have levels higher than the recommended guideline.
It’s important to get your home tested to ensure the radon gas in your home is not at a dangerous level. However, if at the time of your home’s construction your builder obtained a permit after November 1, 2015, it will have been subject to the new building code requiring a mitigation system, and your levels should be safe. If your home is older, it’s recommended to get your home tested.
Testing for Radon
Exposure to radon does not produce symptoms in the short term, so you may not know the levels in your home are affecting you. The only way to know if your home’s radon levels are too high is through testing. DIY test kits can be purchased at any hardware store or at radontech.ca, but keep in mind that they need to be sent to a lab for results.
If you decide to use a DIY kit, ensure it is a long-term test (one that tests the levels in your home over a three-month period). Also, be sure to check if the test kit includes the laboratory fees. You can learn more about radon testing your home by checking out a free radon screening kit from any Edmonton Public Library branch.
Alternatively, you have the option to hire a professional company certified in radon testing. Whichever method you choose, the levels of radon in your home must be below 200 Becquerels per cubic meter (Bq/m3) to be considered low risk.
What Are the Risks of High Radon Levels?
As mentioned, radon gas is the second highest cause of lung cancer in Canadians. According to Health Canada, a smoker’s risk of lung cancer is approximately 1 in 10. For a smoker with exposure to radon gas, the risk increases to 1 in 3.
In non-smokers, radon gas is the number one cause of lung cancer in Canadians. Exposure to radon gives a non-smoker a 2% lifetime chance to develop lung cancer. No one is safe from the dangers of radon.
Alberta Building Code Changes
Because radon comes from the breakdown of uranium in the ground, it can potentially seep into your home through your basement. Alberta Building Code 2014 requires all newly built homes to include a mitigation system, so if you’re building a new home today, your home will come with a full radon mitigation system.
This system includes subfloor venting, proper sealing around wall/floor joints (including sealing around foundation walls to minimize radon entry), properly sealed and labelled radon pipe, and a fan with an exit pipe to move the gas outside your home.
Once radon gas meets the outside air, it dissipates almost immediately and is no longer a threat.
Tracking Risk Levels in Your Area
Information from previous tests in your area is available online via the Canadian-National Radon Proficiency Program website. On this map, enter your postal code to view local test information, or browse to see the results from surrounding areas. Data is continuously being added to the website, so check back often to watch your area.
Radon gas is invisible and potentially deadly, and it is in your home. Testing your home’s levels and taking measures to mitigate if needed is important to keep your family safe from this harmful gas. At Sterling Homes, your new home is built to reduce the risks of radon seeping into your home and to remove it before it can accumulate.
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About the Author:
At Sterling Homes, our mission is to provide the opportunity for affordable homeownership without compromise. Over the last 70 years, Sterling Edmonton has quickly become one of Edmonton’s most popular builders. We bring more than seven decades worth of exceptional customer service, superior design and unparalleled craftsmanship to the greater Edmonton area. As a member of the Qualico Group, Sterling Homes focuses on greater Edmonton’s finest family communities, while being able to offer some of the region’s most family friendly prices thanks to volume purchasing power for materials, trades and land. This has not only made Sterling one of Edmonton’s bestselling, move-up builders, but also one of the industry’s most respected home providers. It is through our uncompromising commitment to our customers that we proudly deliver the Sterling Advantage – that’s why each and every home we build includes a 10-year home warranty, a completion guarantee and new home warranty excellence rating. Our Advantage is our pledge that, when you build your dream home with Sterling, we will deliver a timely, well-built home you’re sure to enjoy for years to come.
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