Tag Archives: real estate

Radon Mitigation

Radon Testing Options

Radon testing is big business in Illinois. On January 1, 2008, the Illinois General Assembly enacted the Radon Awareness Act. This was a huge step for the State getting the word out even further regarding the dangers of Radon gas. The law applies to residential real estate transactions on properties with no less than one and no more than four residential dwelling units. Of course as with anything, there are exceptions to the rule:

 http://illinoisrealtor.org/iar/newsreleases/releases/radon.html (easy to read press release!)

Although Guardian Radon Mitigation is not authorized to do radon testing (as it is a conflict with the State), our services very often go hand in hand with the testing profession. There are times when homeowners are conflicted with testing. They are unsure what is expected, how to go about it and the interpretation of the results. Well here goes some tips for having a radon test performed.

Option 1: You are not currently involved in a real estate transaction

As a homeowner your options are much more plentiful as you do not have the same restrictions that usually follow a real estate contract. 

Canister test: Canister tests are quick, economical ways for homeowners to test for radon. They are readily available at many local home improvement stores. Here is Kendall County, Il. they are offered at a discounted rate from the Environmental Health Division. For only $6 per test (current pricing as of June 19, 2014), you may purchase the test kit(s) and the subsidized pricing includes not only the actual kit, but also the lab results too. Another option for our residents in Illinois is to order one directly from the IEMA (State). They too offer reduced cost test kits from  various vendors. The item is shipped directly to your door and includes all material for testing and the lab fee too along with a detailed radon report. Here we’ve provided the link: 

http://www.state.il.us/iema/radon/MeasurementLabsPriceList.asp

**The one caveat we must mention ~ if you choose to utilize one of these kits, be sure and follow the instructions carefully. You cannot “set it and forget it” as they say. Radon has a half-life of approximately 3.8 days which means it continues to decay. Delaying the timing of your test kit will absolutely dilute the test results and provide too much margin of error.

Constant monitors: These monitors are really cool. They look very similar to a carbon monoxide detector and you just plug it in and let it do it’s job. I keep one of these plugged in at all times in my own basement. **I will add, I still have had my home tested by a professional to ensure I’m not getting a false reading. It has a numeric LED display, you can set it for short term or long term testing and it updates air samples once per hour. These run about $120 and can be purchased online. We’ve have not found any of them available at the retailers. Amazon offers many options here.Safety Siren

 

 

 

 

 

 

Professional Test (Continuous Monitor): Taking nothing away from this profession, hands down this type of test will provide you with the most comprehensive data and accurate readings for radon gas. The IEMA which governs the licensing of all radon testers and radon mitigators in Illinois go to extensive lengths to ensure that all testers are licensed, have accurate monitors (as they are required to be calibrated after so many hours of use), radon reporting standards and other compliance related standards. This ultimately protects you as the consumer.  These monitors take 4 radon reading per hour for duration of the test (never less than 48 hours). With the ample amount of data collected, you can be sure you will have accurate results. 

Option 2: You are currently involved in a residential real estate contract

Simply stated under these terms you are most likely dictated by the professional advice of your Realtor and/or Attorney. And I might add….listen to them! As a buyer you have the option of testing the home for radon gas. As mentioned in the beginning, the Radon Awareness Act dictates disclosure only, not requirement of testing. If you ask me, it’s pretty “cheap” insurance to have a test done in relation to the grand scheme of things. 

Often in real estate transactions, the verbiage will read “have the home professionally tested” and that is fantastic advice. It avoids any potential collusion or user error and gives you the information that you are looking for in an accurate and timely fashion. The radon report puts everything in perspective and your tester, realtor and attorney are always more than helpful interpreting the results. 

In closing, one cannot “assume” based on the home/structure whether or not the radon levels are elevated. Radon has been found in all 50 states. Testing is the only way to provide that information. Now that you are  “armed and dangerous” consumer, do your due diligence and don’t put off testing any longer.

**If you have enjoyed this blog, please consider sharing it on social media. Help Guardian Radon Mitigation get the word out about the dangers of Radon Gas. 

Radon Levels and Renters ~ What Every Tenant Should Know

Unlike homeowners, many renters do not have the professional guidance such as a realtor or attorney when they are looking to sign for a new lease. Renters therefore infrequently will do their due diligence with regards to having any home inspection performed, or environmental testing such as a radon test prior to signing their lease. Here lies the problem ~ as a renter you may be signing for lease unaware of any potential dangers in the home or apartment. As of December 29, 2011 approximately one-third of Illinois housing was being rented (Source: IEMA Press Release)

Illinois passed a  “new” law on January 1, 2012 to help renters learn more about Radon levels in their home.  If the building that you are living in has been previously tested for Radon, the landlord is required to inform you in writing that a radon problem may exist. Prior to signing your lease, be sure and ask about this. If the home or building has NOT been tested, then conduct your own radon test either with a home test kit or licensed testing company. The IEMA recommends that all homes be tested below the third floor. Because Radon is a soil gas, the highest levels are likely to occur in the lowest levels. 

What can you do if you find elevated Radon levels in your place of residence?

Because radon mitigation is considered a remodel project and requires repairs to the building, it is often the landlord or building owner that would have to authorize having the repairs done – not the tenants. If your home has high levels of Radon there are steps that you as the tenant can take to see that the problem gets fixed.

1.) Inform the building owner in writing that the home has tested elevated for Radon 
Gas. Be prepared to provide a copy of the radon results. Ask for details from the owner on how they plan on fixing the problem. 

2.) If you live in an multi-unit building, share your information with your neighbors and encourage them to do their own testing. Remember, just because your unit has tested elevated, there may be other areas of the building that do not. Once others have confirmed, we recommend the same steps be taken. Present the information in writing to the building owner. 

Useful Tenant Checklist:

*Check the building that you live in. Has it been tested for Radon? If so, ask for the results in writing. If it has not, perform a test yourself or hire a licensed testing company to do so. 

*If your radon levels are at 4.0 pCi/l or higher, present to the building owner in writing with a request for further testing and/or installation of a radon mitigation system. 

*If your rented home or unit has elevated levels and you are in need of further assistance, contact the IEMA Radon Hotline at 1-800-325-1245

Lastly, with regards to Radon levels in any type of real estate transaction –  purchase, lease or rentals, Illinois has mandated a “disclosure law” only. Be sure and do your due diligence and protect yourself and your family. With this law now in effect, it is a step in the right direction for tenants in Illinois. 

*Special thank you to the IEMA for providing some of this content

Additional links:

http://www.iema.illinois.gov/HomePage_Content/PressRelease12_29_2011_RadonTennants.pdf

http://www.state.il.us/iema/radon/pdf/RadonGuideForTenants.pdf

 

Radon Mitigation

Having Radon in your home – how dangerous is it really???

In our field of work, we’ve realized that most people have their first experience with radon when they are either buying or selling a home. Certainly, radon is a nuisance for sellers, and to buyers it’s a scary thought and many worry it will sway them away from the purchase of the home. Unfortunately, there is the rest of the world that won’t ever realize they have a problem in their home because there is  a lack of radon awareness in the market today.

Where does it come from?

Since radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas, you would never know it surrounds you unless you have a radon test performed on your home. Radon is a soil gas and it comes from the decomposition of Uranium in the ground below. It doesn’t matter whether your basement is finished or unfinished – really nice carpet or tile won’t stop it from coming in!

Radon may rise to elevated levels below any structure (i.e. home, building, school) and gets in through stack effect – very similar to how a chimney works. Areas of entry can vary. Perhaps is the cracks in your foundation flooring, drain tiles in your basement, your water supply, crawl spaces…and the list goes on.

Every area of the country has radon. Conditions and levels will vary from area to area so we cannot stress enough how important it is to test your home.

But we never use our basement….

Not using your basement as living space does not indicate that you and your family are “safe.” Most homes today are built with duct work.  As your furnace fan pushes the air of the home throughout heating and cooling – guess what happens to the levels of radon gas from your basement?? It’s being circulated to the living space of your home!

The most difficult part about all of this –  

In our field of work, we’ve realized that most people have their first experience with radon when they are either buying or selling a home. Certainly, radon is a nuisance for sellers, and to buyers it’s a scary thought and many worry it will sway them away from the purchase of the home. Unfortunately, there is the rest of the world that won’t ever realize they have a problem in their home because there is  a lack of radon awareness in the market today.

Where does it come from?

Since radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas, you would never know it surrounds you unless you have a radon test performed on your home. Radon is a soil gas and it comes from the decomposition of Uranium in the ground below. It doesn’t matter whether your basement is finished or unfinished – really nice carpet or tile won’t stop it from coming in!

Radon may rise to elevated levels below any structure (i.e. home, building, school) and gets in through stack effect – very similar to how a chimney works. Areas of entry can vary. Perhaps is the cracks in your foundation flooring, drain tiles in your basement, your water supply, crawl spaces…and the list goes on.

Every area of the country has radon. Conditions and levels will vary from area to area so we cannot stress enough how important it is to test your home.

But we never use our basement….

Not using your basement as living space does not indicate that you and your family are “safe.” Most homes today are built with duct work.  As your furnace fan pushes the air of the home throughout heating and cooling – guess what happens to the levels of radon gas from your basement?? It’s being circulated to the living space of your home!

The most difficult part about all of this –

To date, the efforts of the EPA, State Radon Programs, Radon Advocates and others have certainly gained momentum in reaching the public about the risks of radon gas in their homes. It’s remains difficult however to get people concerned that their home – their place of solace and security, is a potential source of this hidden danger. Furthermore, it’s very difficult to convince people that radon gas exposure is not a pass or fail type of issue. Risks exist with all levels of radon gas. Naturally, the higher the level, the greater the risk.

For more information –

Provided below are some independent links that can provide additional information for you ~

http://www.epa.gov/radon/

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/radon

http://www.state.il.us/iema/radon/RadonIllinois_nonFlash.asp

http://health.co.kendall.il.us

Guardian Radon Mitigation & Electrical Services, LLC is a licensed and certified Radon Mitigation contractor through the State of Illinois’ IEMA Division