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Radon Mitigation Systems


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Does anyone charge extra for inspecting Radon Mitigation Systems?

How do you handle the permits, if required?

How do you check the actual air movement?

What are you seeing in the field that does not make any sense?


Any comments about this building component?

PS: I think most inspectors know the protocols.

Does anyone wear a dosimeter?

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I don't charge extra for a mitigation inspection, but there are several typical problems I find:

1) Fan is located inside house. Today's standard require the fan to be in the attic or exterior of house. About 1 per month I find in the basement.

2) Exterior installation has romex wiring and/or no disconnect present.

3) Discharge pipe terminates too low, usually under a window.

The best (or worst) was a system installed 7 years ago. The fan was in the basement AND someone forgot to remove the cap from the pipe that exited thru the roof. The seller kept saying the buyer was wasting their money conducting the radon test. Results were over 20; the fan was probably just pumping radon into the house.



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One of the things I find is that if there is a system, regardless of type and configuration, the typical buyer does not feel a screening is needed. After all there is a system and it is taking care of the problem. When I get back to the office, I will post a pic of my favorite system. We are finding nearly 100 percent of existing systems are installed poorly or not functional.

Steve, we always advise the system to be brought up to current technology. It rarely cost much and the radon issue is quite fluid here.

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I talked to Keith from Radiation Data about this topic. When mitigation first started, it was common to install the fan in the basement. Then, all the "official" guidelines came out and it was determined inside the house was not a desired location. As Keith said, it's a pre-existing non-conforming installation.

I tell my clients the danger of this type of installation. If the seal of the fan leaks or somehow the pipe or joints are leaking, the fan is actually blowing the radon into the house. If the fan is outside or in the attic and the pipe leaks, it's just sucking air from the house; if the fan itself is leaking, it's blowing outside the house or in the attic.

I add a copy of EPA standards:

From the EPA Radon Mitigation Standards


"Radon vent fans used in active soil depressurization or block wall depressurization systems shall NOT be installed below ground nor in the conditioned (heated/cooled) space of a building, nor in any basement, crawlspace, or other interior location directly beneath the conditioned spaces of a building. Acceptable locations for radon vent fans include attics not suitable for occupancy (including attics over living spaces and garages), garages that are not beaneath conditioned spaces, or the exterior of the building."



PS Steve, did you get a copy of the e-mail I sent requesting verification of NJALPHI membership?

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The radon licensing became required in 1990. I see a lot of older systems installed with interior fans. I tell the buyer to change the location of the fan to the exterior when the fan stops working.

I also check for the firestopping device when the piping goes through a garage wall or ceiling.

Darren, do you know if the radon piping for new construction is required to exit the roof, even if the system is not active yet? I see the passive piping terminate in the attic, not run through the roof in new construction.

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I've seen that too; pipe terminates in attic. Builder forgot all about it prior to roofing, then said, "OOPS". As far as I know, the passive system is not 'required', some town code officals are letting them not install it.

If the "acting Gov" signs the new bill, your boss may be working less nights.

My neighbor sold her house last month; the inspection company was from down your neck. The inspector had just gotten his license:

He had the seller mail in the canister.

He had an ASHI logo on his card and isn't a member.

He didn't have his license # or address on his card.

He called for a new roof on a 12 year house, it doesn't need one.

As Jerry Springer would say..."where do we get these people from?"


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Several things. Please don't confuse local or state "requirements" with EPA only about 30% of the states have radon regulation. EPA only puts out "guide lines" All laws are state specific. PA is regulated and is only slightly tougher than EPA. NJ, from what I understand is 2 steps above EPA but I don't know the specifics. In any case there are new Mitigation standards out for public review and comment. Have at us if you would like, we would enjoy your input. www.aarst.org . Or you can Email me and I'll send you a working draft.

Keep in mind that these are national generic recommendations. A guide line for the state to base it's regulations on and change to fit their needs.

ASHI has a radon system inspection document to use as a national guide line. I'll send you one of those too if any of you don't belong.

In most cases around here (Western PA) the mitigators do a fair job because they know there is a chance the state guy may drop by for a visit. Nothing like a registered letter to get your attention.



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"In most cases around here (Western PA) the mitigators do a fair job because they know there is a chance the state guy may drop by for a visit. Nothing like a registered letter to get your attention."

Tell that to a guy named Nick.


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Nick and his buddy the lab owner haven't been seen in these parts for quite some time. Some thing about a $17,000 fine and a refusal by the state to renew his certification. Remember the certified letter I talked about. Besides there is a lot more money in owning an association.


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