Health Canada recommends that all homes be tested for radon gas. If your test results indicate your radon measurement exceeds Health Canada’s Action Level of 200 Bq/m3, do not be alarmed. Our goal is to reduce your radon levels below 100 Bq/m3 and let you breathe easy.
Why does Health Canada recommend home heating months as the best time to test your home for radon?
This is when radon levels are highest due to Stack Effect. During the winter, the warm air within the house rises and escapes to the colder air outside. As air escapes to outdoors, fresh air enters the house through drafty windows and doors to equalize pressure. Houses also get new air from the soil beneath the basement floor. The air from the soil can be drawn in through cracks in the concrete, plumbing pipe penetrations, sump pump pits, floor drains, crawlspaces and any other areas that have contact with the soil. This new air that enters may contain radon gas.
There are two types of radon tests
- Radon levels in a home change significantly from hour to hour, day to day and seasonally. This is the reason Health Canada recommends doing a long-term radon test, for a minimum of 91 days, preferably done in the home heating months. A radon kit detector is placed in the lowest level of the home where someone spends a minimum of 4 hours per day. This 3 month test is used to determine a person’s annual average exposure to radon. Testing at any time of year can detect dangerously high radon levels so the best time to test is now! The most common long-term radon devices are Alpha Track detectors. These resemble a small hockey puck and contain a special plastic film in a container. Alpha particles from radon decay enter the chamber and leave “tracks” on the film. When the test is completed, the device is mailed to the lab for analysis, and the average radon concentration is determined. The customer is the only one who receives the test measurement results.
- When you need a quick measurement of the radon concentration, a short-term can be performed. A post-mitigation test is typically done for 84 hours. This is conducted to confirm that mitigation has reduced levels below 200 Bq/m3. Due to time constraints frequently experienced during a real estate transaction, long-term tests are often not practical. Therefore, a 4 day radon screening assessment is conducted. These tests require closed house conditions 12 hours prior to beginning the test. Closed house conditions mean keeping windows closed, exhaust fans off and door openings kept to a minimum. It should be noted that these tests only show potential for radon in the home and are not guaranteed predictors of annual radon concentrations. Health Canada recommends the result of any short-term measurement should be confirmed with a follow up long-term test in the same location.
Long-term alpha track radon kits may be purchased from us for $50 (HST and lab fee is included) plus shipping for delivery to your home. After 91 days, you mail the kit to the lab, and you receive your own results directly. You are the only one who will receive the results of your test.