According to the government of Canada, radon exposure is not a threat to regard casually.
It currently kills an estimated 3,000 Canadians each year and ranks as the number one cause of new lung cancer cases among non-smokers and the number two cause of lung cancer nationwide.
Worse, children exposed to radon have an increased risk of contracting lung cancer later in life – even if they never smoke.
What many homeowners do not realize is that affordable basement waterproofing can accomplish more than just safeguarding your home investment against mould, water leaks and flooding. It can also guard your family from radon exposure!
In this blog post, learn more about how to protect yourself from the increasing threat of radon.
What the Heck Is Radon, Anyway?
In a word, radon is a gas. It is an odourless, colourless, tasteless gas – not unlike carbon monoxide, another known airborne killer.
But unlike carbon monoxide, which is created during incomplete combustion, radon is produced naturally as soil- and rock-based uranium decays.
Uranium is a particularly unstable naturally occurring element that is constantly decaying, which is why radon is present nearly everywhere that soil and rock are present all over the world.
But some areas have naturally higher concentrations of uranium based on the type of soil and rocks in those areas. Canada is one such area. We happen to have a lot of uranium in our soil and our rocks.
So we also have naturally higher levels of airborne radon as well.
How Does Radon Get Into Your House?
Once uranium starts to decay, it releases radon gas into the air. This lightweight gas is naturally drawn to areas of lower air pressure, such as inside your basement, crawl space and home.
Radon initially enters your home at the lowest level, so if you have a basement, it will enter there. From there, it will continue seeking out lower-pressure areas, seeping up through concrete fissures or cracks, passageways through unsealed pipe holes, windows and window wells, floor and wall joints, crawl space support posts and other similar entry points.
Once radon is inside your indoor air supply, it will continue to build up in concentration. Opening doors or windows as is seasonally possible can temporarily dissipate some of the radon in your air, but testing shows that within 12 hours of closing windows and doors, your levels will be right back where they were to start with.
Since uranium is constantly decaying and radon is constantly forming, the only way to address exposure risk is to install human-made safeguards.
Basement Waterproofing Blocks Radon
Historically, estimates indicate as many as 60 percent of all homeowners may face an issue with significant water or flooding inside their basement.
For this reason, interior waterproofing is recommended not only as a preventive measure but also as part of every basement remediation repair job.
For obvious reasons, we strongly recommend interior basement waterproofing as a preventive approach to stop seepage before it becomes leaking and then flooding.
But there is an additional reason to consider interior basement waterproofing. When you apply an interior seal to your basement space, it blocks radon emissions as well!
Other Ways to Block Radon at the Basement or Crawl Space Level
For homeowners with new construction houses, you may need this protective, preventive waterproofing seal only as a part of your radon risk reduction program.
But if your home and basement is older, or if you have noticed issues with escalating humidity, moisture seepage, dampness, leaks or standing water after lawn watering or storms, you may want to consider additional measures to address risk of flooding and radon emissions at the same time.
Luckily, the possibility exists to address both with any basement or crawl space repairs.
Crawl space encapsulation
Sealing cracks, gaps, fissures, entry/exit holes, windows and doorways, adding sump pump caps and appropriate ventilation can all help with keeping radon outdoors where it belongs.
For homes with crawl spaces, crawl space encapsulation is a vital part of blocking the various entry points radon gas uses to get into your crawl space and then into your home.
Interior basement waterproofing.
The basement waterproofing seal used to protect your basement from seepage, efflorescence, leaks and standing water also serves as an effective barrier against radon gas.
For basements with existing visible cracks, unsealed wall and floor joints, windows and well drains, sealing these adds another layer of protection to keep radon from entering your basement and then your home above.
Even if your home has neither a basement nor a crawl space, radon is still readily able to seep inside your home at the ground level, where it will then steadily rise up inside your home and infiltrate your indoor air.
Not only will sealing your home against radon improve the value of your investment when it comes time to sell, but it will also block radon from entering and temperature controlled air from exiting, reducing your health risks and your power bills at the same time.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) strongly recommends sealing all potential entry points, such as foundation cracks, foundation-to-wall connection points, support joints, utility entry/exit points, windows and doors to keep your indoor air radon-free.
Up to this point, we have been discussing airborne radon gas. Unfortunately, radon can also pollute your water, especially if your home relies on a well system.
Investing in proactive leak repair for your basement, crawl space and foundation blocks not only airborne gaseous particles but also waterborne radon as well.
Get in Touch
Do you need expert guidance with radon mitigation in your home? We can help!
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Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.