The Open Door Blog
Whether you own a new home or condo, are considering buying one, or just love to dream about it, the Open Door blog is here to share stories that can help you protect what is likely the biggest investment of your life.
The Open Door blog is published by Tarion, a non-profit corporation that administers Ontario’s New Home Warranty Plan and registers all new home builders in Ontario. Click here to learn more about us.
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You may not be able to see it or smell it, but radon can be found almost everywhere – and your new home is no exception. The naturally occurring gas can gradually build up in your home, and as concentration levels rise, so too does the health risk.
To better protect you and your new home, here are four things you should know about radon.
1. Radon can seep into your house or condominium
Radon is a naturally occurring gas formed by the breakdown of uranium found in rock and soil. When it releases from the ground and into the air, it’s diluted to low levels. However, radon becomes an issue when it seeps into a home – normally through cracks in basement floors or foundations – and becomes trapped in enclosed spaces like basements or crawlspaces.
Radon is colourless and odourless – and there’s no way to determine if radon is going to be a problem before a home is built.
2. Radon concentration levels can vary throughout your home
As temperatures change throughout the year, this can cause radon concentration levels to fluctuate within your home. The weather and air pressure can produce different readings throughout certain periods – for example, having windows or doors open more frequently during the summer months can often skew test results.
Radon levels can also fluctuate between different living spaces in your home. According to Health Canada, a basement generally has higher concentration levels than your upper floors, given it is nearest to the source and is not as well-ventilated.
3. It’s easy to test your home’s radon levels
Radon is measured in units called ‘becquerels per cubic metre and Health Canada has set 200 becquerels per cubic metre as the safe limit for radon in a home. To determine the radon level in your home, there are two ways to test: you can purchase a do-it-yourself radon testing kit or hire a radon measurement professional.
Health Canada advises testing for radon between October and April, using the three month test. If you perform a test in the summer or spring, it’s recommended to conduct another test during fall or winter. But before you test your home, ensure that the test is certified through the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program so that the test results can be used to determine eligibility for coverage under the new home warranty.
4. Your new home warranty includes radon remediation coverage
Ontario is the only jurisdiction in Canada where the builder’s warranty on a new home includes radon remediation coverage that lasts for up to seven years. The warranty covers remediation to reduce radon levels if radon gas in your home is more than Health Canada’s safe limit of 200 becquerels per cubic metre.
So if your test results show that the radon level in your home is above the safe limit, contact your builder and allow them an opportunity to address the situation.
While excessive radon levels are not caused by any type of defect or poor workmanship in the home, Tarion believes that radon remediation is an important part of consumer protection.
You can watch our video Radon and Your New Home Warranty or visit Health Canada to learn more about radon. If you are looking for do-it-yourself radon test kits or for a radon measurement or mitigation professional, contact the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program at www.c-nrpp.ca.
The goal of this blog is to provide you with general information about the warranty process by sharing real experiences from new homeowners. The blog should not be relied upon as legal advice. For privacy reasons, we will not address or resolve current cases in a public forum, so any comments or questions that are posted on this site that describe individual cases cannot be discussed. If you have a question about your warranty or Tarion generally, we would be pleased to discuss your issue, in the context of your particular circumstances and in confidence. We exercise reasonable care to avoid offensive, illegal or defamatory content from being posted, as well as comments that are intended solely for self-promotion or considered to be spam.