How Do I Test For Radon?

Radon testing is simple and can be completed by the homeowner. A number of testing options exist but generally fall into two main categories for consumer grade devices, Alpha Track Tests and Digital Monitors.

Alpha Track Tests:
Typically the most affordable of home testing options. These black hockey-puck like devices are single use monitors left in a single deployment location for the duration of the measurement. Once the measurement has been completed they are shipped to the manufacturer labratory for analysis. Once analyzed a PDF report is generated and provided by email with one number, the average radon concentration determined by the whole of the measurement period. 

Pros: Cost-effective, Easy to use, Accurate, Health Canada recognized device

Cons: Single-use, Unable to compare usage patterns (when radon peaks or dips due to weather or other conditions), Cannot be moved to other locations, Must send to laboratory for analysis

Digital Monitors:
Also known as Continuous Radon Monitors (CRM), these devices may have an LCD display or connect via bluetooth to provide radon concentration snapshots or cumulative readings. They are reusable, repositionable - either in the same home for diagnostic purposes, or, in other properties - and may have other built in features such as humidity monitoring, temperature, VOC and barometric pressure. Some models provide graphing for comparisons to weather patterns and home usage. Readings provided in as little as 10 minutes (*although we do not recommend basing mitigation decisions on so short a measurement - keep reading on our page for more info!) with updated weekly and long term averages provided to owner's device.

Pros: Easy to use, Accurate, Repositionable for diagnostics, No laboratory analysis required

Cons: Slightly more expensive, Not yet recognized by Health Canada as consumer grade monitors cannot be calibrated 

Note: Not all radon tests are created equal! If purchasing a test, ensure that it is from a reputable manufacturer, stored in proper conditions to maintain integrity of test and that there are no hidden costs such as laboratory analysis fees.


What is Radon? 

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer following smoking. It is undetectable by sight or smell and causes between 10,000 - 40,000 cases of lung cancer per decade in Canada alone. It is a serious health risk and it is entirely preventable. 

You can reduce your chances of developing lung cancer by testing your home for radon gas. We understand. You may think the prospect of a radioactive gas existing beneath and inside of your home to sound ridiculous. This isn't a science fiction after all, this is Alberta. Radon is in actuality a very natural and common occurence, owing itself to geology and the concentration of another main character in science fiction, uranium. 

  • Radon Tests Should Be Health Canada Approved
  • Test Over A Range Of Weather and Seasonal Conditions
  • Place Test In Regular Breathing Space
  • Repeat Every 5 Years Or After Major Renovations

You don't need a radon professional to test your home. As long as the test you've selected is accurate, properly quality controlled, deployed in an approved location and obtains includes data from a wide range of weather and seasonal conditions you can be confident in the results. 

What Levels Call For Mitigation?

Current Health Canada guidelines suggest mitigation action for homes determined as over 200 Bq/mwithin 2 years. For homes determined as in excess of 600 Bq/m3 that timeline increases to 1 year.

The health risk of radon is considered a nonlinear non-threshold simply meaning that there is no amount of radon considered “safe”. While it is true that radon is present in some concentration in all geographic areas (including outdoors), it is agreed that the lower the concentration of radon and your cumulative exposure the better. For a radon mitigation system this means that the smallest additional steps can greatly improve health risk. Our systems are designed to achieve results comparable to outdoor levels of the area (generally from 10 - 40Bq/m3) or below the lowest level of detection.

No. Radon has only been conclusively proven to cause lung cancer.

No. Although studies do show certain regions and neighbourhoods have higher prevalence of radon than others, radon levels can vary widely over short distances and with small variations in building structure. The only way to know if your home is safe is to have it tested.

The most widely accepted risk models present a linear correlation between radon exposure and risk. This means there is no level of exposure which is without risk, however, because the gas is found at very low concentrations in natural settings the risk is extremely low. Radon is only a concern when it concentrates to high levels inside of structures such as your home, where in extreme cases it may reach levels thousands of times higher than ambient levels outdoors.