Radon test results are high, now what?
You are working your way through the purchase transaction, your offer is accepted, the home inspection is done and the radon test results came back high. Where do you go from here? Typically you are going to negotiate a radon mitigation system to be installed. Sounds easy enough, the seller will get that installed before closing. Who do you think that seller is going to engage to get a radon system installed.... it will be the cheapest bid they get.
So why does this affect you? You get what the seller pays for with a radon mitigation system. The cheap installer is likely not going to do any diagnostics, what they call "poke and hope" in this industry. Without diagnostics, it is impossible to size a fan correctly. Using an oversize fan may get the radon levels below 4.0 p/cL but it may cost $40-$50 more in electricity to run annually, this adds considerably to the cost over 10-15 years. Many use inferior quality products, thinner wall schedule 20 PVC pipe which results in a louder system, some use a kozy-kollar flashing on the roof instead of taking the time to install a standard boot flashing which can easily be swapped out when the home is re-roofed. They may make their own pipe support brackets instead of spending a bit more on actual pipe brackets. If you have a drain tile system they may put the pipe right through the sump lid, this way anytime you need to get into the sump pit for service you get to disassemble the radon system to get the lid open. A quality installer will core a hole through the floor next to the sump pit and tie it into the drain tile there. They may not take the time to route the vent pipe through the interior of the house and up through the attic. Instead, you end up with an ugly pipe attached to the side of the house. The installer may be happy with a post-test result of 3.0 p/cL whereas a quality installer strives to get it down below 1.0 p/cL. It goes on and on and on...
So what can you do about this? After the sellers receive their bid make sure you have the opportunity to review it and ask some questions of the installer. If you do not like what you are hearing propose that you engage a quality installer and make up the difference in cost on your end. It may cost you a bit of money out of your pocket but it would be money well spent. That's all for this month. See you in June!
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(Due to conflict of interest and ethics requirements, we do not perform repair work on homes
we have inspected in the prior 12 months.)