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Radon and what you should know!

What is Radon?

Radon is an odourless, colourless and tasteless gas that can accumulate in buildings, such as schools, offices and homes. More importantly, Radon is everywhere. It is the naturally occurring gas emitted from the breakdown of Uranium and is found in soil throughout all of Canada. According to Health Canada, Radon is the second leading cause of Lung Cancer in Canada.

This next point is very important. Health Canada identifies the increased lifetime risk from long term radon exposure, so there is no need to panic should a home have a high level of Radon. The Canadian guideline for radon in indoor air is 200 bq/m3. The Health Canada guidelines require that homes with levels over 600 bq/m3 are to be remediated within 12 months, while homes with levels between 200-600 need to be remediated within 24 months.

Radon levels are also very random. One homeowner might have a high level and their next door neighbour may have hardly any at all. Although soil testing can be done prior to construction, it cannot rule out the possibility that radon could be a problem after a home is built. The same way a bowl will hold more water than a sieve, Radon needs an enclosed space either in, or on, the soil in order to collect. It migrates to the lowest level of air pressure by natural air movement.

Because of this, in home levels tend to be higher in the winter when the surrounding soil has snow and frost effects and the gas migrates more naturally to the basement, being the lowest air pressure area within the surrounding soil.

What are we doing about Radon at Doug Tarry Homes?

At Doug Tarry Homes we have decided that we will be taking a proactive approach to controlling Radon in your new home.

At the time of writing this article, the Ontario Home Builders’ Association is conducting a survey of Radon levels in new homes across Ontario to better understand how new residential construction performs in the face of Radon gas. The knowledge gained by this survey will inform best practices to radon-resistant techniques in new residential construction.

Doug Tarry Homes has been participating in the OHBA Radon study since its inception and we are sharing information with other participating builders. During this time, we have learned a great deal about dealing with Radon. We’ve also had the opportunity to review the great videos that Jon Eakes has produced for the CHBA and to talk with industry experts. Once we understood what was involved and how to properly mitigate a new home under construction, we decided to act.

Effective January 1, 2016 Doug Tarry Homes is now installing a Radon mitigation system in every home we build in all markets that we serve. Under the basement slab will be a soil gas collection pipe rough-in. Above that, and directly below the basement slab, will be a soil gas protection layer to limit the entry of Radon into your home.

Should Radon be found to be present, the soil gas collection pipe can easily be made active very cost effectively using an inline fan to exhaust the sub soil gas from under the basement floor. This fan operates with very minimal ongoing cost to operate. We have worked to educate our local building officials in all the markets that we serve, to ensure they understand our details and can properly and effectively inspect our installations so that we have third party verification that we have installed our rough-ins properly.

Should you, as our customer, ask to have your home tested we will gladly test your home following nationally recognized guidelines and provide you with a copy of the lab report. As our customer, you will need to provide us with access to your home at the start of the winter season to place the test device and then again approximately 90 days later to remove it for lab analysis. While we do not anticipate finding high levels of Radon within our homes based upon the steps we are taking, if Radon is found, we will remediate your home by installing an active in line fan system, or other approved measure, so that we can ensure your home is made safe.

Our goal at Doug Tarry Homes is to continue our industry leadership by building the healthiest, safest, most energy efficient and affordable new homes possible. We are a home builder located in St. Thomas, Ontario, offering 6 different communities. You can count on the Doug Tarry difference in each and everyone of our homes.