Pro-Tech Home Inspection Services
Over the past year, Radon exposure has become a fast spreading topic of discussion, especially in home buying. Pro-Tech Inspectors have performed many inspections for homes that have already been outfitted with mitigation systems over past years, but are noticing an increasing amount, likely caused by growth in exposure concerns. While we have seen numerous systems that have been installed correctly, confirmed in test data, we have also seen a volume of incorrectly installed active systems.
In order for mitigation of Radon to be successfully accomplished, there is a published guideline on the specifications and requirements to follow for installing a mitigation system by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and is recognized by a majority of states, to include North Dakota and Minnesota. While each state may have it’s own set of regulations and requirements for professionals, the EPA Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction is the only recognized guideline for Radon mitigation and should be fully followed in any mitigation installation. Improperly installed systems can actually elevate levels you’re exposed to within your home!
When hiring a professional to install a mitigation system, it is important to gather a few bits of information to ensure your home will be properly mitigated. Consider asking these questions:
- Do they possess a professional proficiency or certification credential, liability insurance, professional contract, or ensure certain guarantees for a length of time after install?
- Can references and photographs from past installations be provided?
- Does the contractor fully evaluate the home and its components that may be important during installation, prior to estimating cost and performing the installation?
- Is there any potential for a change in the overall cost from the provided estimate? What are those potential price changing factors?
- Will follow up testing be included, post mitigation install?
Aside from ensuring that you are hiring the right mitigation contractor, you as a homeowner may also check the clear cut requirements that the EPA has published to ensure a quality installation. When reviewing your new system, ensure these specifications are met:
- Labels on the components of the system are clearly visible and conclusive to ensure interruption of system will not occur.
- The exhaust vent must terminate above the eave of the home, and at least 10 feet above the ground level of the exterior.
- Exhaust termination must be at least 10 feet away from windows, doors or other openings that could allow radon to reenter the home, if the exhaust pipes do not vent at least 2 feet above these openings.
- The exhaust fan must be placed in an unconditioned space. Exterior installed fans must ensure the fan meets local building codes for exterior use.
- Electrical connections powering fan must meet all local electrical codes.
- An alarm system must be installed as a part of the mitigation system to alert if the system was no longer properly functioning. This is most commonly done with the use of a liquid gauge called a manometer.
- Post-mitigation test should be performed within 30 days of the completed install, but not sooner than 24 hours after mitigation system fan is powered on. It is recommended to have an independent measurement professional perform the post-mitigation test, while following the same closed-house conditions during the test duration.
Once your home has been properly mitigated, it’s good practice to retest your home about every two years to ensure continued proper function of the system. Visually checking the warning device and power source to the system should be a regular maintenance item for your home. Over time, fans may need to be repaired or replaced.
- Minnesota does not currently require a Radon Mitigation Contractor to be licensed for residential installations, though one is attainable through the state. Radon Measurement Professionals are required by the state to meet licensing requirements and QA/QC guidelines for Radon testing in any residential dwelling within the state of Minnesota. Here is a link to search Radon Lab/Measurement/Mitigation Professionals in Minnesota https://radon.web.health.state.mn.us/serviceProviders.faces
- North Dakota does not currently have any Radon measurement or mitigation licensing requirements. While any Minnesota licensed professional would meet guidelines recognized by North Dakota, ND does have a list of registered mitigation professionals which is compiled and searchable through the National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) https://certifiedradonpros.org/index.html
For additional information on Radon Mitigation, refer to the EPA Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction