It was a quiet beeping, sort of like a watch alarm, and at first I couldn’t quite place where it was coming from. The sound led me to my radon detector, which was showing a truly alarming 1,456 Becquerels of radioactive gas in my basement!
In Canada, the government has set 200 Becquerels as the maximum “safe” level of radon, so my house was positively glowing with radiation, at more than seven times over the danger limit. But my radon monitor had never shown such high numbers, what had changed to make my house so radioactive? The answer was easy and I’ll get to that soon, but let’s talk about why I have a radon monitor in my basement in the first place.
Best Practices for Insulating Slabs & Footings
By Stephen Magneron, CPHC, Advanced Housing Specialist
Insulation under the slab is one of the most overlooked strategies in most homes built today. Not only does it help create a warm, dry, comfortable basement, but it will also save on heating bills.
Slabs can be from 10% to 30% of the heat loss surface area of a home, with townhomes on the lower end to sprawling bungalows on the higher end. Admittedly, the heat loss is less than that of the roof or the above grade walls that experience higher temperature difference between the indoors and outdoors. However, the ground’s constant temperature is around 10oC in the Ottawa area. Imagine if the temperature outside was 10oC all year round, 24/7, and your house was uninsulated. You would be either very uncomfortable or paying 24/7 to keep the indoor temperature at a cozy 20oC. It truly makes little sense that we’ve been upgrading all our other thermal assemblies yet commonly leave such a large portion of our building envelope completely uninsulated!
By Abbie Coates, Building Performance Specialist
It’s recently come to our attention that some furnace manufactures have discontinued having their units ENERGY STAR-qualified. This poses some concern for homes enrolled in the ENERGY STAR for New Homes (ESNH) program, as an ENERGY STAR-qualified furnace may be required for certification.
The new CSA P.9-11 Combo System Testing…what you need to know
What is it?
Third party testing of combo space/water heating systems accredited by the Standards Council of Canada (CSA). The performance metric resulting from the testing is known as the Thermal Performance Factor (TPF).
Which types of systems are tested?
The scope of CSA P.9-11 states that it applies to:
- Forced-air or radiant packaged combo (heating and hot water combined) systems; and
- Combo designs/configurations with heat inputs up to and including 87.9 kW (300,000 Btu/h) for boiler-based systems, and a maximum input up to and including 73.2 kW (250,000 Btu/h) for water-heater-based systems, that are intended for field assembly.
How does this affect ENERGY STAR Homes?
By September 30, 2014, all ENERGY STAR Homes using Combo heating systems must use products tested and listed as meeting CSA P.9-11
How do I know if my current system has been tested?
All qualified systems will be listed on NRCan’s website.