The Lancaster Inspector’s Corner – How to Fix a Radon Problem
Welcome Back Readers! Thanks for stopping in, you’ve arrived at the last installement of our Radon series with Matt Steger of WIN Home Inspection. This week Matt tells you how to go about fixing your Radon problem, read on after the jump for all the details!
Before I forget, you know I tell you this every week but it needs repeating, when it comes time for me to recommend an expert to protect my home buyers, I always recommend Matt. Call Matt Steger at 717-361-9467 when you need any home purchase related inspections.
Last time, we discussed how a radon test is performed and the requirements that must be met before and during the radon test. This week, let’s take the discussion a step further and talk about what to do if radon concentrations are high in your home.
What if a radon test indicates a high radon level?
If the radon test shows a high level of radon in the home (4.0 pCi/L or higher), radon mitigation (aka radon remediation) can be successful in lowering the home’s radon level in most circumstances. The most common method of remediation is a sub-slab depressurization system. To put it simple, one (or more) hole is drilled in the basement slab, a small amount of dirt (approx. 5~10 gallons) is excavated under the slab, PVC piping is installed through the basement slab with a radon fan, and this system vents to the exterior away from doors and windows and above the roof line. Penetrations and cracks in the basement slab and foundation walls should also be sealed, most often with a silicone sealant and backer rod. Radon fans can only be placed in an attic or exterior of the home and should not be installed in the home’s living space or in a garage. The EPA has specific requirements about how and where radon systems can be installed. The cost of a professionally installed radon mitigation system is most commonly in the $600~$1,500 range in PA. Each mitigation system may be a little different depending upon the home’s design, the initial radon test result, type of system installed, etc.
Who performs a radon test and remediation?
The PA DEP requires that all individuals performing radon testing or mitigation for a fee be licensed by the Commonwealth. Also, radon testers and radon remediators are licensed separately by the PA DEP, although some radon professionals offer both testing and remediation. For the radon test itself, using a radon professional who performs testing only, and doesn’t also perform remediation, is recommended to help prevent a possible conflict of interest.
A home owner or builder can perform radon testing and mitigation since it is their own home, however a PA DEP licensed radon tester should be used for a home transaction to ensure a non-compromised test performed to DEP requirements. Any changes to an installed radon mitigation system should only be performed by a licensed radon mitigator, as well. Contractors (plumbers, electricians, etc.) who are not PA DEP licensed for radon mitigation should never modify mitigation piping or radon fans. This is against the law in PA. Who knows if the radon mitigation system is properly functioning after the plumber leaves? Minor changes to mitigation pipes and fans may cause the system to not work properly. The PA DEP updates the list of licensed testers and mitigators each month. This info can be obtained from the PA DEP website (http://www.depweb.state.pa.us) or by calling the PA DEP radon hotline at: 1-800-23-RADON.
To learn more about radon check out:
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