Radon Contractor Bad Practices

We take pride in our radon systems which are installed properly, using quality materials. Our radon mitigation systems operate safely for a long service life, requiring very little maintenance.

However, some radon contractors and do-it-yourself homeowners install radon mitigation systems using substandard materials and improper methods. This often leads to unsafe systems and non-working systems that need repair or replacement. 


There are 2 primary reasons for using substandard materials and improper methods in radon mitigation systems:


1. Love of Money or Greed – A Radon contractor or homeowner, who know better, cuts corners to save time and or material costs.


2. Ignorance – A do-it-yourself homeowner or inexperienced radon contractor who just plain does not know the proper way to do it and assume their work is good enough. There is plenty of information readily available on how to properly mitigate radon so this ignorance is akin to Laziness.


Incompetent and unethical work in radon mitigation installations are two of the main reasons radon mitigation standards were developed. Different radon certification training programs and radon contractor licenses have been developed and are required in some states to help reduce the practice of installing improper and unsafe radon mitigation systems. A side note, this is the reason we got into the radon mitigation business. As we became educated as to what a proper radon mitigation system looks like, we realized there were very few systems that were properly installed according to the EPA Radon Mitigation Standards.


Radon contractor certifications and licensing are no guarantee for a quality or safe radon system. Unfortunately, the many hundreds of substandard and unsafe radon mitigation systems are installed by “certified contractors”.


The vast majority of radon systems are installed as a contingency to sell a home, and are paid for by the home seller. In this case the home seller typically looks to hire the least expensive contractor who can get the radon reduced to an acceptable level and usually do not care about the quality of the system (they are selling the home).


As in any business, there are those who have no qualms about cutting corners to get the job or make a bigger profit. Cutting corners in a radon mitigation system may be: using substandard materials, improper methods, improper testing, worthless warranties or no warranty at all, or no guarantee the system will even work. Often radon systems are installed and never even tested to determine if they work or not. The new homeowner does not find out its not working until they go to sell the house some years later and another radon test is done that finds high radon. 


An Important Note on Radon Certifications, Licensing, and Professional Training: It’s ironic that most of the improper radon installations we’ve observed over the years were installed by so called “Radon Certified” –  individuals or companies, which had taken the required classes and passed the exam and paid the fee to obtain their certified status. There are several different national organizations and agencies that offer “Radon Certifications.”  From what we’ve seen, radon certifications are used primarily for marketing; they certainly are not good for any type of job quality assurance.


Below are some examples of improper and unsafe radon mitigation systems.


Poorly Designed Systems


Improper Installations


The termination of the radon vent pipe. Radon vent pipes should not terminate below operational windows where the radon could potentially get back into the house through an open window or door.


The improper installation of vent pipe. A partial trap was formed in the horizontal radon vent pipe below the fan. In radon vent pipes one must always consider where the condensation collects and drain to.


Radon Vent Pipe Water Trap. Trap, that will catch and hold condensation moisture pulled from the crawl space soil. A typical radon fan can pull up to several gallons of water a day from the soil depending on how much moisture is present. Proper installation requires all radon vent pipes to be pitched so that any condensation or water drains unrestricted back to the ground. This partial blockage is not good for the fan and restricts the air flow, reducing the efficiency of the system and could get quite nasty over time.

Warning!

Don't be fooled by fancy graphics! Certified Inspector means NOTHING! Many of the so-called "CERTIFIED" RADON companies are doing poor and shoddy work. Don't be fooled by private entity, non-governmental certifications. "Industry" certifications carry no weight of reprisal for shoddy work. That means, unless you hire an "educated", "experienced" inspector, you're wasting your money and gambling on your health and safety.

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