Now that the holidays are over, it’s getting colder across Alberta. In fact, January and February tend to be the coldest months of the year (Travel Alberta lists the average winter temperature during these months as between -5°C to -15°C but we all know that’s a lie). As you bundle up to protect yourself from the cold outside, we’ll tell you about three things to know about radon in winter so you can think about protecting yourself when you’re indoors as well.
1. Low temperatures affect radon levels.
If you’ve read our post about 7 Important Things You Must Know About Radon Gas, you know that radon gas naturally occurs in the ground and is hard to detect. However, it’s still extremely dangerous as it’s a carcinogen.
What you might not know is that as the ground becomes frozen or more saturated with water from the melting snow, it can block radon gas from evaporating into the atmosphere. This means that it’s being redirected into your home in higher concentrations. Cold weather also increases the amount of warm air that is escaping from your house, causing a vacuum inside the house that pulls radon gas in more easily. These two effects typically result in more gas entering your home at higher concentrations.
During the winter months, we keep our houses tightly shut to prevent the freezing air from coming into our homes. We wear extra layers and bundle up in blankets, but we also crank up the furnace to keep ourselves warm. This air recirculates inside the house with nowhere to go, leading to poorer indoor air quality and higher radon levels because the house is closed up during the winter. In modern years, homes are being built to be more energy-efficient, and while this is generally a good thing and can help keep the house warmer, it can also trap bad air inside.
2. Winter is the best time to test for radon gas.
During the year, the best time to test for radon gas is during the winter. This is because the tests are operating on a worst-case-scenario basis. While it can be a scary thought, it’s better to accurately estimate what the radon situation is in a home so you can mitigate it properly. With more highly-concentrated gas and bad ventilation in winter, testing for radon gas in winter allows you to find out what these levels should be under these conditions.
This is essential because we spend more time inside this time than during the rest of the year.
3. You may be able to save money on services.
If you’ve ever tested for radon levels before, you know that you should be remeasuring these levels at least every two years. If you last measured your home’s radon levels during the spring or summer, consider testing again in winter as you might unknowingly have higher levels than you thought.
Note that even if you already have a mitigation system installed, you should check your radon levels often to make sure that everything is working as expected. Radon mitigation systems can also sometimes fail due to pipes freezing, snow covering vents, or even tripped breakers from when you accidentally plugged in too many Christmas lights.
As the housing and construction market slows down during the colder months, some radon mitigation contractors are not as busy as they would be during the warmer times of the year. This makes it an ideal time to enlist their services because not only will they have more availability, but they may also have variable rates as demand is not as high.
Always make sure that your contractor is a radon mitigation professional who is C-NRPP certified, like our team of experts at Complete Property Restoration. By hiring a professional to measure radon levels in your home, you are making sure you and your family stay safe, both inside and outside. For the wellbeing of your family and for your peace of mind, contact us at Complete Property Restoration for more information or to schedule a radon test! We make sure the job is done right the first time.