Why Calgary is Concerned About Radon Gas

And What Your Calgary Plumbers Are Doing to Help

You know the dangers of carbon monoxide. But there is another colourless, odourless gas that could be lurking in your basement, and over the long term, it can cause great damage — in fact, it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in Canada.

Cracked concrete

It’s radon, and it doesn’t come from your appliances or anything you are doing in the home. It is naturally produced by the radioactive decay of uranium in rocks and soil, and it enters your house through any hole it can find — cracks in the walls or foundation, or floor drains, for instance. Because homes built in the last 50 years or so are generally quite airtight, they tend to build up negative pressure, caused by backdraft from any venting or ducts, paired with a tight seal overall which prevents replenishing of the fresh air in the home. This creates a situation where the home is basically “sucking in” air through any cracks that exist, and as it sucks in this air, contaminants such as radon gas can enter the home.

We have already had a few calls from concerned customers, especially following this article that ran in the Calgary Herald in January. Talk about a call to action! While our technicians are not yet certified to test radon levels, they are working on their certification right now. Once certified, they will be able to test levels in your home and then make any necessary repairs or retrofits to create the positive pressure needed to drive the radon out of your house and keep it out.

Is Your Home a Potential Harbour for Radon?

Calgary sits well within the highest-risk region for radon contamination in Canada, which stretches west beyond the Rockies, east into Manitoba and north beyond Edmonton. (For a detailed map, see the Herald article – linked). Soon, we will be able to test your home and give you a solid reading on radon levels to let you know whether they are within Health Canada’s acceptable limit of 200 becquerels per cubic metre. If not, we can take action to create positive pressure in your home and reduce the radon levels quickly.

Mitigating the Radon Risk

The best way to deal with radon in your home is to install a heat recovery ventilation (HRV) system. The HRV brings in fresh air and pumps out stale air, creating positive pressure in the house. This leaves the radon in the ground rather than pulling it into your home! It is easy to use and set up for optimum pressure, balancing the action of the HRV’s two fans with any ventilation fans in the house such as those in the bathroom or kitchen.

Watch our website and social media for full details on our radon testing certification!