In recent years there has been more information available about Radon and recent changes to the Alberta Building Code regarding Radon have brought Radon mitigation to our minds when considering a home purchase. If you are looking at newly constructed homes you may have even noticed the mitigation rough-ins in the basements.
What is Radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas in the soil produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil. It is colourless, odourless and tasteless. If radon accumulates in a home it can pose a serious health risk. Radon is a leading environmental cause of lung cancer.
Radon can enter a home via cracks or openings in the basement envelope and can vary house to house. Due to newer air tight construction, it is important to consider Radon.
How do you Test for Radon?
Radon can be tested by a professional or via an at-home kit. Health Canada recommends a minimum 3 month test preferably in the fall or winter (October to April) months for the best accuracy. The cost around $50 plus shipping from the companies I have looked at.
Changes in the Alberta Building Code
As of Jan 1, 2015 home construction has changed to mitigate the risks of Radon in a home. Should you be purchasing new construction, ask your builder about the construction changes, any testing done and mitigation options.
High Radon levels and the Sale/Purchase of a Home
Due to the testing length, a test for radon isn't a test that can be completed during the typical condition period for the purchase of a home. High radon levels can be considered a material latent defect to be disclosed to buyers if the seller is aware of the issue and the issue has not been mitigated. Should you know of high levels of Radon in your home please consult a lawyer prior to listing your home for sale.
RECA Article: I've recently started hearing reports about radon in Alberta homes. If I’m buying a home in Alberta, is it something I should be concerned about?
Cross Canada Survey of Radon Concentration in Homes-Final Report
Radon Reduction Guide for Canadians