No, it’s not carbon monoxide – it’s radon gas. According to Health Canada, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Smokers are at even a higher risk.
Radon is everywhere. It doesn’t matter where you live – a new house or a century old – every home has some level of radon and that level determines the health hazard.
Radon is produced naturally by the decomposition of uranium in the soil under your home. This invisible gas seeps into your home because of the differences in indoor and outdoor air pressure. It enters through openings like floor drains and sump pumps, foundation and floor cracks, and tiny gaps around pipes entering the home. As a result, it’s more likely to be concentrated in basements and crawl spaces than upper areas of your home.
Don’t hit the panic button just yet. Unlike deadly carbon monoxide or fumes from a fire that attack quickly, radon is only hazardous over time.
A professional can test for radon levels in your home or you can do it yourself with a detection system, like Wave by Airthings.
Wave is a smart radon detector that looks like and installs just as easily as a typical smoke detector. You see your initial test results within an hour by simply waving your hand across its face – thus the name.
If the radon measured is within acceptable levels, the glow ring will turn green like a traffic light. Yellow says caution and red indicates you’re in the danger zone.
According to Health Canada, the acceptable standard is 200 Bq/m3 (becquerels per cubic metre), which is how radon is measured in Canada. One becquerel equals one radon atom disintegration per second.
The beauty of the Wave system is that you get real results from the companion app. You don’t have to send the data to a lab for analysis. You simply pair your Wave with your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet and it will keep track of the radon levels, as well as your room’s temperature and humidity levels.
In addition to tracking current values, you can plot a graph that covers the previous 48 hours, week, month or year.
The app is designed to track multiple Wave units in your home.
You can receive notifications though the app, as well as sync current information when you’re within Bluetooth range. You can also receive email and audio alerts when the radon levels become too high.
Since radon levels are always fluctuating, the longer the test period, the more accurate your results. In fact, Health Canada recommends that homes be tested for radon for a minimum of three months, ideally during the heating season when windows are typically closed.
Wave helps you monitor your home 24/7 and gives you a little peace of mind.
Should levels consistently read high, call in a professional to determine what remedial action needs to be taken.
Wave comes with a magnetic plate that mounts on a wall with a single screw. It’s powered by two standard AA batteries (included) that should last up to 18 months. It retails for $249.99 and you can find it at your BestBuy or Home Depot, or on Amazon.
You can find more comprehensive information on radon, its risks and what you can do to keep your family safe by visiting Health Canada at Canada.ca.
Troy Media columnist Greg Gazin, also known as the Gadget Guy and Gadget Greg, is a syndicated veteran tech columnist, communication, leadership and technology speaker, blogger, podcaster and author. Reach him @gadgetgreg or at GadgetGuy.ca.
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