Tag Archives: Radon

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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.

Tarion.com
Facebook.com/TarionWarrantyCorp

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Simply Tech: Is Your Home Safe?

Simply Tech: Is Your Home Safe?

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Simply Tech: Is Your Home Safe?

by Greg Gazin

Health Canada recommends that homes be tested for radon for a minimum of three months.

It lurks in your home, but it’s invisible. You can’t see or smell it, but it may just be putting your life at risk. It’s not carbon dioxide – it’s radon gas. Most of us have heard of it, but according to Health Canada, it’s the second leading cause of lung cancer – after smoking.

It doesn’t matter if you’re living in a new home or one from the turn of the century, every home has some level of radon – and it’s that level that determines the potential hazard.

Radon is produced naturally by the decomposition of uranium in the soil under your home. It travels in the form of an invisible gas that seeps into your home because of the differences in indoor and outdoor air pressure. It makes its way through openings like floor drains and sump pumps, as well as foundation and floor cracks, and tiny gaps around pipes that enter the home. As a result, it’s more likely to be more concentrated in basements and crawl spaces, rather than upper levels.

Don’t hit the panic button. Unlike carbon monoxide, or fumes from a fire, that pose immediate danger, radon is something that can be hazardous over time. A professional can test for radon levels in your home, or you can do it yourself with a detection system called Wave.

By Airthings, the Wave looks similar to a typical smoke detector. Once the Wave is installed, initial test results are available within an hour by simply waving your hand across the face of the device – thus the name. If everything is OK, a glow ring will turn green. Like a stop light, it will turn yellow for caution, and red if the reading is in the danger zone – exceeding acceptable standards, which according to Health Canada is 200 Bq/m3.

The beauty of the Wave system is that you get real results from the free companion app. Unlike other test kits, you don’t have to send the data to a lab for analysis. You simply pair the Wave with your iOS, or Android smartphone or tablet, and it will keep track of the radon levels, as well as the humidity levels and the temperature in the room. In addition to tracking current values, you can also plot an historical graph over the previous 48 hours, week, month or year. The app is also designed to track multiple Wave units, labelled as basement, dining room, etc.

You can receive notifications through the app, and receive email and audio alerts when the radon is too high, as well as sync current information when you are within Bluetooth range of the device.

Since radon levels are always fluctuating, the longer the test period, the more accurate your results. In fact, Health Canada recommends that homes be tested for radon for a minimum of three months – ideally during the heating season when windows are closed.

If radon levels consistently read high, call in a professional to help determine what remedial action should be taken to mitigate the situation.

Wave comes with a magnetic plate that can be mounted on any wall with a single screw, and is powered by two AA batteries (included). The Wave retails for $249.99, and is available at Best Buy and The Home Depot.

airthings.com

For more information on radon, and its risks, visit Health Canada’s web section at canada.ca.

Greg Gazin (a.k.a The Gadget Guy and Gadget Greg) is a syndicated tech columnist, blogger, podcaster (host and producer), and contributes to Canoe.com, Troy Media and Active Life.

GadgetGuy.ca


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