If you have water leaking into your basement, you’ll eventually see the signs: dampness, mould, drywall damage, etc. When it comes to radon, however, this invisible and odourless gas can build up in enclosed areas of your home and you won’t be able to tell.
Does this sound a bit worrisome? You bet, especially when you consider that long-term exposure to excessive radon can increase your risk of developing lung cancer. Therefore, it’s a good idea for every homeowner to determine whether radon is an issue in their home.
Radon coverage for new homes
If you’re the owner of a new home and you’re concerned about radon, the good news is that your builder’s warranty includes up to $50,000 of coverage for levels that are above the guideline set by Health Canada. This coverage lasts for the full seven years of your warranty. Ontario is one of the only jurisdictions in Canada that covers radon remediation as part of its statutory new home warranty.
Testing your home for radon
But whose responsibility is it to test for radon? That depends on your type of home and where the radon concentrations are located.
Owners of newly built freehold homes (that is, where you own your home and property outright) are responsible for their own radon testing. There are a couple of ways you can go about it. If you’re the do-it-yourself type, you can purchase a radon test kit from your local hardware store or even order it online. Another option is to hire a professional to do it for you. For a list of approved devices and certified professionals, please visit Health Canada’s Take Action on Radon website.
What about condos?
Condo unit owners are responsible for testing areas that are part of their unit, while the condominium corporation is responsible for testing areas that are part of the common elements of the building. If, for example, radon is a potential issue in the basement of your condominium townhouse, it is up to you to test for it and report it to your builder and Tarion.
If there is radon build-up in the parking garage of your high-rise or another common area that is outside the boundaries of your unit, it’s the responsibility of your condominium corporation to test for it and report it. If you’re unclear about the boundaries between your unit and the common areas, review the registered declaration.
Making a warranty claim for excessive radon
If your test results show that radon levels are higher than Health Canada’s guideline of 200 becquerels per cubic metre, submit a warranty claim to your builder and Tarion using the applicable warranty form. There are a couple of important things to note when it comes to making a claim for radon remediation:
To substantiate your claim, it is necessary to have test results that span a minimum three-month period.
Whether you use a do-it-yourself radon test kit or hire a radon measurement or mitigation professional to do the testing for you, both must be approved and certified through the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program for the test results to be eligible for coverage under the new home warranty.
Your builder will be required to take the necessary actions to reduce the amount of radon in your home, which in most cases involves installing a radon mitigation system. And in the event that your builder fails to do so, Tarion has you covered.
To learn more about radon, you can visit the Health Canada website or Take Action on Radon.