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How to: Mitigate Radon in Your Home in 100 Days (Or Less)
By Mike Holmes
Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 @ 1:05pm
The fact is, all homes will contain some amount of radon. The question is: how much, and do you need to perform some mitigation strategies?
As the leading cause of lung-cancer (only behind smoking) for Canadians, long-term exposure to radon is something you should take seriously.
I don’t say any of this to scare you, but to prepare you for taking action against this potentially deadly gas. Don’t wait – test your home for radon as soon as possible!
Day One: Start Your Radon Test
While there’s no bad time to test your home for radon, the winter months, when we tend to keep our homes more tightly sealed is a prime opportunity.
You’ll want to put your testing unit about 5 feet off the floor – and keep it away from any drafty areas like windows, doors, and even drains. You’ll probably want to put it on the lowest level of the home, so if you have a basement, that makes a great spot. If not, the main floor will do.
DID YOU KNOW: Radon can also seep into your home through your well water. So if you live in a home that uses a well, make sure to have your water tested as well as your air.
If you’re testing your well water, it’s important that you send your sample to the lab quickly. It needs to be processed within two days of collection – so for safety, take your sample on a Monday, and overnight courier it to the lab so it’s there by Tuesday.
Day 10: Send Out Your Radon Test for Results
You’ll get a better idea of the radon levels in your home by letting the test gather samples over a longer period than a shorter period. For best results, you’ll want at least a 90 day radon test kit, but one thing to consider is running a short-term and long-term test concurrently.
This will give you an idea if more follow up testing is needed, or that you may need to begin your mitigation efforts.
Day 30: Start Calling Your Pros
Did your first round of testing come back with some surprising or concerning results? Health Canada suggests that you take action against radon levels that exceed 200 Bq/m3. That said, even that number is a little high for me, and I’d certainly take action in reducing radon levels in my home at a much lower threshold.
Call in your furnace expert to do a check of your system to ensure it’s in good shape. If your home has an heat recovery ventilator (HRV) already, you’re set and in good shape. If it doesn’t, talk to them about retrofitting your current set up to include one. In an existing home, and HRV is one of the best places to fight against radon.
Day 90: Send Out Your Radon Test for Results
Send out your long-term radon test to confirm the results of your first rapid test.
Day 100: Install Your Radon Mitigation System of Choice
If the levels came back high enough to mitigate, now’s your chance to tackle your mitigation project.
Remember why I said back in day 30, having a working HRV was a good idea? It’s because this is truly the simplest solution to adding a radon reduction system to your home.
If it detects radon peaking at dangerous levels, it will trigger an air exchange in your home. It pulls radon-infused outdoors, while fresh, new, treated air cycles through your system and redistributes back into your home.
It’s a simple device that you don’t even have to think about. Just remember that you should never turn your HRV off – it needs to be running constantly.
Day 730: Start your Radon Test
Health Canada suggests testing your home for radon every two years or so, to ensure that your radon levels haven’t spiked to dangerous levels. Even if you’ve taken steps to mitigate radon in your home, for peace of mind, you should still perform another test.
Testing for and mitigating radon isn’t a large undertaking. With a little time and not much money, you can protect yourself from this potentially deadly gas. To me, it’s money that’s well spent. Put some of this year’s renovation budget toward testing for, and potentially mitigating radon in your home.