Jon Eakes from HGTV’s Just Ask Jon Eakes sat down with RadonAware to talk home renovations, construction, and the importance of testing and mitigating for radon.
Britt: Why is it so important for builders and contractors to learn about radon?
Jon: Radon is a major cause of lung cancer. There are small amounts of radon in most Canadian homes, old and new. Although the levels of radon vary, every house in every region could potentially be dangerous. But there’s no way of knowing until the house is built, occupied and tested.
When building, there are different ways you can limit radon from entering your home. Or at the very least, prepare your home so if radon becomes an issue, it can be mitigated relatively easily and economically.
Britt: What’s the first step homeowners can take in protecting themselves?
Jon: The first step is incredibly simple: test for radon. It is inexpensive and easy. Just buy a radon test kit, open it, place it on a shelf, three months later close it and send it to the lab. That’s it, that’s all.
Britt: What can builders and contractors do to protect homeowners?
Jon: Most building codes have simple requirements for making a new home radon resistant, and allow for easy mitigation if needed in the future. The most common application is a four inch elbow in the gravel bed rising to a closed stub in the basement, and then a gas tight membrane over the gravel.
However, there are lots of little details that need to be accommodated for to make sure this is really effective. For example, if membranes are not sealed properly or pipe stubs aren’t located in inaccessible locations or are found too far from an exit point, the effectiveness decreases. For areas that generally have high concentrations of radon, certain pipe placement or configurations in the gravel can make a huge difference.
Because there are so many things to consider, the radon control industry helped me produce a series of videos that go into more detail. You can see them all at JonEakes.com.
As is so common in the construction business, doing it right takes no more time or effort than doing it wrong — once you understand what needs to be done.