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What Types of Home Have the Most Radon

Posted in Radon Testing, on December 29, 2023

After learning about radon gas, most folks immediately want to know if their home is at risk, which is why they call us at SafeAir. We run short and long-term radon testing in the GTA to answer this very common question and help families reduce their risks. A home radon test is the only way to know if you are being affected by the colourless, odourless, invisible gas that is the second-most leading cause of lung cancer in Canada. But there are a few traditional features of your home that may increase your risk through indoor air quality, which is what we’re sharing today on the blog. 

Homes with Basements

Radon gas affects homes across Canada and the USA and is formed by uranium deep in the earth's crust. The resulting radioactive gas - radon - rises to the surface, where it usually harmlessly dissipates into the atmosphere. The risk to our health comes when it collects, and we breathe in significant amounts. 

Radon tends to collect more in homes with basements because these subgrade rooms create pockets of negative pressure in the soil, which acts like a syphon that pulls radon in. Small cracks, damage to the foundation, and sump pumps are some ways radon transfers from the soil to your home. When SafeAir does a home radon test, 99% of the time we install the testing device in the basement. 

Homes in High-Risk Areas

While there is some risk of radon no matter where you go in the province, there are areas of higher risk, which were identified during a study run by the federal government. Run over four years, radon testing in Ontario found that 25% of homes had radon concentrations equal to or greater than the WHO remediation action guideline of 100 Bq/m³. Out of this group, 8% had radon gas concentrations above Health Canada’s level of 200 Bq/m³.

So, how do you know if your home is at risk? Cancer Care Ontario’s website (https://www.cancercareontario.ca/en/cancer-facts/risk-residential-radon-exposure-varies-geographically) breaks it down by health unit, but in the GTA, results suggest that 16.2% of homes in Toronto are affected by radon gas above the recommended limit. In comparison, homeowners in Peel (6.7%) and Durham (4.2%) have a lowered risk. 

Homes with Poor Ventilation

Regardless of whether or not you live in a high-risk area, homes can still have radon issues when there is poor ventilation. Good airflow helps to move radon gas out of the home so it can harmlessly dissipate in the environment. The problem is that basements, where radon most frequently collects, tend to need better ventilation to begin with! 

One of the things SafeAir can help you with after radon testing is making recommendations for improving ventilation and reducing the radon gas coming into your home. Many of the most effective solutions are easy and inexpensive to implement, but to devise a plan, we must first identify your risk through a home radon test.

Contact SafeAir to book your radon test today! 

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