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Radon gas in your home a threat to your health

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Radon gas in your home a threat to your health

As a homeowner, you understand that a build up of carbon monoxide in your home can be dangerous and you’ve installed a carbon monoxide detector as an early warning system. But did you know radon gas is also a potential hazard to your health?

Since November is National Radon Action Month, I thought it would be good opportunity to share what every new homeowner should know about radon.

Here are five basic facts:

  • Long-term exposure to excessive radon can increase the risk of lung cancer.
  • Almost every house in Canada has some radon. Concentration levels can vary widely from area to area and even among different homes in the same neighbourhood.
  • Radon is created by the breakdown of uranium found in rock and soil. When it escapes from the ground and mixes with the air, it is diluted to very low levels.
  • With proper ventilation, radon will dissipate causing no problems at all. Unfortunately, enclosed spaces without good airflow – such as basements and crawlspaces – can develop dangerously high radon levels when the gas becomes trapped.
  • Radon is not the result of a defect in the way a home is constructed. There is no way to determine if radon is going to be a problem before a home is built and most homes are not tested after they’re built.

Similar to carbon monoxide, radon can be detected and measured. You can measure radon using either a do-it-yourself radon test kit or by hiring a radon measurement and mitigation professional. The gas is measured in units called becquerels and Health Canada has set 200 becquerels per cubic metre as the safe limit for radon in a home.

If you’re an owner of a new home and you have excessive levels of radon, the good news is that your statutory warranty includes coverage for a full seven years. In fact, Ontario is the only Canadian jurisdiction that covers radon remediation in the statutory new home warranty.

To be eligible for coverage, radon levels must be tested over a threemonth period and whether you use a radon professional or a do-it-yourself radon test kit, both must be certified through the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program.

Test results showing levels in excess of 200 becquerels should be submitted to Tarion along with the applicable warranty form.

To learn more about radon and your warranty coverage, you can visit Tarion.com or watch our new video on YouTube. If you have questions about how to make a warranty claim, you can contact us at 1-877-9TARION or email CustomerService@Tarion.com.

Howard Bogach is president and CEO of the Tarion Warranty Corporation.

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