Radon Testing: Why, What and When


Published November 16, 2023

Last edited November 28, 2023


Radon gas…a subject of much debate but one that needs to absolutely be discussed and continuously brought up. It quite possible can affect all of us, in our very own homes, year round and so we wanted to put together a blog on what this gas is, why you need to know about it and how and when to mitigate it. 

What is it?

Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, originates from the breakdown of underground uranium. This gas can infiltrate your home through various pathways, including soil, pipes, windows, sump pumps, unfinished floors, crawl spaces, and foundation or floor cracks. Despite being invisible, odorless, and tasteless, radon is a presence that homeowners should be aware of.

Radon, a known carcinogen, has been identified as the second leading cause of lung cancer in North America, following smoking. This implies that individuals who have never smoked can still face a potential risk if their home’s radon levels exceed safe limits.

Testing for Radon

Irrespective of your property’s location, the sole method to determine if it harbors hazardous radon levels is through testing. Radon concentrations can vary significantly between neighboring houses, with one having minimal levels and the other registering off-the-charts readings. The presence of radon in your home is contingent on various factors, including regional geology, construction specifics, and even weather conditions. Particularly during the colder months, when homes are sealed with windows and doors shut while heating systems are in use, radon can accumulate to perilous levels. It is of paramount importance to conduct radon testing for your home’s safety!

Radon testing is both cost-effective and straightforward. Certified C-NRPP radon test kits are readily available in stores or online and can be easily conducted by homeowners. Alternatively, you have the option to enlist the services of a qualified professional, such as a home inspector certified by the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program, to guarantee precise test outcomes. Optimal testing should be carried out during the colder months, over a span of several months, for the most accurate results. Don’t delay – take action now, as time is of the essence in safeguarding your home’s well-being.

You can find where to get a test kit at this link. They are also widely available online and in hardware stores.

Mitigation Techniques

1. HRV System

An HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilator) facilitates the exchange of indoor and outdoor air, leading to energy savings and decreased heating/cooling expenses. Furthermore, it plays a vital role in reducing radon levels by up to 50%. By integrating a radon monitor with your HRV system, you can achieve highly efficient solutions. The monitor continuously assesses radon levels, prompting the HRV to intensify ventilation when elevated levels are identified.

2. ERV System

In the realm of home ventilation, an ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilator) presents another effective option. Unlike HRVs, ERVs offer year-round moisture control for your home, making them the superior choice in specific scenarios. ERVs excel in ventilation by drawing in fresh outdoor air and efficiently expelling stagnant indoor air, especially when combined with a high-efficiency furnace. During winter months, an ERV also preserves humidity by transferring moisture from the air exiting your home, ensuring stable humidity levels.

3. Active sub-slab depressurization

Sub-slab depressurization, also known as active soil depressurization, stands as the most effective and reliable technique for mitigating radon in homes. It is the preferred method employed by C-NRPP certified professionals. This approach entails the installation of a pipe through the foundation floor slab, coupled with a continuously running fan. The fan’s role is to extract radon gas from beneath the home and disperse it outdoors, where it dissipates rapidly. Additionally, this system equalizes the air pressure variance between the house and the soil, diminishing the influx of radon through the foundation. Suction points, often multiple, are inserted through the floor slab into the underlying crushed rock or soil to efficiently lower radon levels within the home.

The sub-slab depressurization pipe can be vented either at the roof level or ground level of the home, while the fan’s placement varies. It may be located in the basement or in an area outside the living space, like a garage or attic. If the fan is situated inside the living space, it is generally vented sideways through the rim joist at ground level, with the fan positioned near the exhaust point. Conversely, when the fan is placed in areas outside the living space, such as the attic or garage, it is typically vented upward, extending above the roofline. This is the most widely used mitigation technique used by experts in the field of radon. 


Let us know if you have any questions at all about radon gas and what it means for your home ownership. We highly recommend doing radon testing and mitigation whether you’re planning on remaining in your house long term or short term. It is always a good investment to have the mitigation system in place prior to selling as it shows due diligence and attention to detail as a homeowner. 

Have you had any mitigation techniques done at your home? Let us know in the comments below. 

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