Tag Archives: indoor air quality

How to select the “right” Radon Mitigation Professional

Whether you are a homeowner or a real estate professional ~ there are some guidelines to use when selecting the right Radon Professional for the job!

How should you select a contractor?

As with any home improvement project there are some “must haves” when evaluating your professional.

1.) Did the contractor inspect your home prior to providing an estimate?

We receive calls daily from perspective homeowners and real estate professionals as well as attorneys asking “Can you give me an estimate on the phone or do you have to come out?” Yes, they should “come out.” The purpose of an onsite estimate is to properly evaluate the home in the state it is in ~ to avoid surprises, and that goes for the client and the installer. Perhaps the home has a finished basement along with a gravel crawl space. What does that mean to you when having the work performed? How will that contractor reduce radon levels in both areas?

2.) Will the contractor provide photographs of work and/or references?

Easy enough to ask for and you should!!

3.) Did the contractor explain to you what work needs to be done? Did they set your expectations on length of the job, materials used, and how the system will “work” after installation?

Many people just don’t know, some are not interested and others don’t think of asking. It’s okay to quiz the potential contractor about these things. Why leave people guessing??

4.) Did the contractor ask for the pre mitigation test levels and the report? 

It is important as a mitigation professional to understand what you are working with. For example, a finished basement has some natural limitations as you do not want any part of the system to be visable in your finished area. Understanding your pre mitigation levels will help the contractor determine how many suction points need to be used, what type of fan to use (one size does not fit all) and other potential road blocks during installation they need to look for. It’s more important than you may think.

5.) May I see your insurance please?? How bout seeing that license too?

Absolutely!! Look for not only their General Liability Insurance as a business, ask for their Worker’s Compensation Insurance too. What if they were hurt while working at YOUR home? Make sense?? Protect yourself.  Ask to see their Radon license. You’d be surprised…there have been some companies here in Illinois that market themselves as “Environmental Experts” – that does not necessarily mean they are licensed to do radon work.

The Contract

Every contract should contain the following at a minimum ~ scope of work, warranty terms and exclusions (yes there are some), start date and completion date, total cost of the job, transferability of the warranty and payment terms. Pretty basic stuff but quite important.

In Closing

We can’t stress this enough, all radon mitigation systems are not created equal. Be sure and select the contract providing the best value. Take into account that a less expensive system may have higher overall operating costs – those costs never go away! Take into account the type of building materials and the technique best suited for your home. Will this system be in line with the aesthetics of your home or will is stick out like a sore thumb? Here in Illinois you can visit the IEMA website to find licensed radon mitigation professionals in your area – the rest is up to you!

 

If you’ve found this article to be helpful, consider sharing it on your social media page! Christopher Bice is the founder of Guardian Radon Mitigation & Electrical Services, LLC. Christopher is a licensed Radon Mitigation Professional through the IEMA.

03*Special thanks to the EPA for providing some of this content. 

Radon and Homeowners Insurance ~ Is it covered??

Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is a product of decomposing Uranium in the earth. Through the decomposition process, radon gas seeps into the Earth’s soil, then providing the opportunity to build up levels and inhabit your home. Radon Gas is found in all 50 states of the U.S. and it’s presence in homes can certainly raise serious health concerns. Radon is not a sudden event or “accident” therefore your homeowner’s policy will most likely not cover the cost of mitigation or health related effects.

Radon Facts and Occurrance

Radon has no color, no odor and is invisible to all of us. Testing for radon gas is strongly recommended for those involved in a real estate transaction. Radon comes from many sources, including our own outdoor air. The dangers increase when we expose ourselves long term to concentrated amounts, such as our indoor air of our homes. Because it is not evident whether or not it is present, radon testing should be conducted. No one gets sick quickly being exposed to radon gas, it’s very different than carbon monoxide. It can however provide ample opportunity for lung cancer. Currently in the U.S. 21,000-23,000 people annually, who are “never-smokers” will have their lives taken by radon induced lung cancer. **Be sure and test your home.

Homeowners Insurance

Lenders and Banks most times make up at least 80% of the homes value in cash therefore will require homeowners insurance to fund the loan. Homeowners is there to protect you from unexpected loss or damage of your property. Loss may occur as a natural event such as tornado, fire hazard, vandalism, theft and other covered events. It will also cover you in the event someone is hurt at your home or on your property. The insurance does not cover the cost of radon mitigation. 

Testing Your Home

Every home when tested will report some level of radon gas. As a matter of fact, there will not/should not ever be a reading of “0” pCi/l and if there is….something went wrong with the test. Outdoor natural occurring radon levels are around .3 pCi/l and the EPA will recommend mitigations for any home that tests over 2.0 pCi/l. **This is for homes not involved in real estate transactions, currently the disclosure level for radon in real estate is 4.0 pCi/l. Testing comes in many convenient options. There are charcoal canister tests available as well as electronic monitors that run continuously in your home and of course professional testing with highly calibrated equipment and lots of data. If you should test the home yourself as a homeowner, please be sure and adhere to the strict instructions to prevent an inaccurate reading.  

Mitigating Your Home

Radon mitigation is a process in which a combination of suction point(s), pipework, radon fan and caulk sealing is installed to reduce indoor radon levels. The type of process most common in the Midwest is called Sub Slab Depressurization. It’s a fancy title that basically mean, to create more negative pressure under your foundation, than already exists in your house. Thus the result is the movement of the gas to an exhaust point and significant reduction levels. In Illinois, radon is a licensed trade and you can find a local mitigation professional on the State of Illinois website. Most systems are installed in as little as one day and begin to work immediately. You must also retest your home after the installation of the system – this will provide you with the new “norm” of reading in your home. The average cost of a radon mitigation install will range from $1000 – $2500. Some systems depending on design and need of the home may fall below or above the state range. An onsite estimate and review of your home is highly recommended. 

Special thanks to the IEMA and UALC for providing some of the content above. 

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