Radon Gas Blog
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While sitting down with the listing agent to discuss your options, reality sets in. The comps in the neighborhood are down, the furnace needs to be updated, the rooms have to be staged and your favorite cherry red accent wall needs to be repainted in a more “neutral” color. The fact is if you want your home to sell, the house has to appeal to a wide variety of prospective buyers.
Radon testing and radon mitigation are quickly becoming a common issue during real estate transactions. More and more citizens are being educated about the risks associated with radon gas. These radon-educated buyers are looking for a new home with low radon levels. Even if the buyers do not know about radon, many home inspectors offer radon testing as an option during the home inspection process and their clients choose this option often. A home with low or reduced radon levels will be more appealing to home buyers.
Homes with radon issues can be sold but homes with resolved radon issues are more sellable. Consider radon testing and radon mitigation as a part of preparing the home to be sold. I often recommend that listing agents advise their clients to test for and repair any radon issue before placing the house on the market. This can prevent any future roadblock or surprises that may occur after the home inspection. Imagine the scenario that most people fear about radon in real estate transactions:
After a seemingly endless parade of people looking through every room in your home for sometimes months on end you finally find a buyer who makes a decent offer which you have accepted. A few weeks go by and it’s time for the home inspection. Because of your diligence prior to listing the property the home inspector doesn’t find any major issues or visible problems with your house. But wait, the buyers have chosen to perform a radon test. The home inspector has found an invisible problem with your house. The radon test comes back showing that radon levels are three times what the EPA recommends. These buyers, having never heard about radon before, scour the Internet to find out that radon is the number one cause for lung cancer in non-smokers. Being health conscious people, your buyers refuse to live in a house that might cause lung cancer. The buyers are contemplating walking and canceling the contract.
Radon testing and radon mitigation are highly specialized trades. Selecting the right radon contractor can possibly be a life or death decision. Radon gas is the second leading cause for lung cancer as it kills more than 20,000 people annually. High levels of radon can occur anywhere in the United States. Because radon is a serious and common issue, selecting the appropriate contractor is serious business. Here are six basic questions to help you select a good radon contractor.
6 Questions to ask yourself when selecting a radon contractor:
1. Is the radon contractor licensed? There is not a national license for the radon trades. A client looking for a quality contractor should contact their State Radon Office to find out if there is a State specific radon contractors license. Many states do not have licensing programs for radon. If you live in one of these states, look to hire a radon contractor who is certified either by the National Environmental Health Association’s Radon Proficiency Program or by the National Radon Safety Board’s Certification Program. It is also wise to ask if the installer/employee is licensed or certified. The company owner may have documents but the installers may be unskilled or inexperienced.
2. Are they insured? Radon is risky business and radon mitigation systems sometimes require major alterations to the home. Make certain to check your contractor’s insurance certificate to be sure it has proper coverage and is up to date.
3. What was your impression? Impressions are important and gut feelings can be a strong indicator. Did the contractor give you the impression that they truly care about what they do for a living? Were they presentable and respectful? In many cases if you had a bad first impression, you will likely have a bad last impression. A person’s demeanor can say a lot about the quality of their work.
4. Did you get a firm price? Whenever dealing with any contractor it is important to agree to a firm price or written proposal before proceeding. Make sure the radon contractor provides a detailed scope of work and a contract before starting work. Do not pay money up front without a signed contract. If a radon contractor cannot provide a firm price to install a radon mitigation system it may indicate a lack of experience. An experienced radon contractor should know exactly the cost to install a radon mitigation system or perform a radon test.
5. Do they provide a guarantee? The EPA recommends that radon levels be lowered below 4 picocuries per liter. Most quality radon mitigation contractors will provide a written guarantee of performance. Some contractors will have stronger warranties than others. A quality radon mitigation contractor should be able to install the radon remediation system with confidence that the radon levels will be lessened. If a contractor refuses to provide a performance warranty it may indicate a lack of quality and experience.
6. Do they have references? Any good contractor will be more than willing to provide references to prospective clients. If a contractor side steps when you ask for references you may have to wonder what they are hiding. A past customer can provide you with details of how their experience with the contractor was. Ask the reference about cleanliness, quality, punctuality and overall satisfaction. Ask them if they have ever had any trouble contacting the contractor for service work after the job was completed. Checking references can be the strongest indicator of good versus bad radon contractors.
3 Final points when selecting a radon contractor:• Decisions shouldn’t always come down to price. A lower price can indicate low paid or unlicensed technicians and low quality parts. Too high of a price can indicate a lack of experience to quote correctly.
• Radon gas is deadly. If you hire a radon measurement contractor who performs an incorrect test you could be living under false impressions. If you hire a bad radon mitigation contractor you may have a low quality radon system installed that doesn’t keep radon levels at bay.
• It is important to question your radon contractor but if they are questionable people, you may want to keep shopping.
There are hundreds of good radon contractors throughout the country but as in every trade there are some bad ones. Recently a contractor in Colorado lost their license through falsifying radon test data and intimidating clients [ Bad Radon Contractor Colorado Story]. Don’t allow yourself to be subjected to low quality radon contractors, do you homework and you will find a contractor who will handle your radon testing or mitigation project with professionalism.
If you need help finding a quality radon contractor please feel free to contact us RadoVent™ Radon Mitigation Services.