Choose a radon specialist like you would a teacher, lawyer or doctor. You want the best your family can afford. Just like any type of service, there are a wide variety of companies to choose from and price isn’t always the best judge of quality. The best mitigators won’t just look at your house and tell you what is needed. They will conduct diagnostics first to determine what is best for your particular style of house and soil characteristics. After diagnostics, they should be able to give you several options on how the system is installed and let you choose whichever you prefer. Usually, the better the mitigator you hire, the lower your final radon level will be.
Legitimate radon contractors are rarely more than a few hundred dollars apart in their prices. Performing radon mitigation correctly is often difficult work, but there are ample opportunities to cut corners in ways that a homeowner might never discover. For example, in a house with no gravel under the slab, the size, number and placement of the holes the mitigator digs under the floor will directly affect how low your post-mitigation radon levels are. One small hole may get you down to 3.8 pCi/L but two larger holes might have gotten you down to below 1.5 pCi/L! The homeowner often does not know if the contractor spent 20 minutes digging these holes or three hours.
When a contractor doesn’t have time to come estimate your job, he probably won’t have a lot of time to do the work well either. This visit is a great time to ask lots of questions and get a list of references. Trying to do this over the phone or through pictures it is virtually impossible to provide an accurate estimate.
Sometimes no one in a company has any radon training or certification! This training is critically important, because unexpected conditions encountered under the slab of a building frequently necessitate last-minute design changes to make a system function optimally.
Is there a clear, unambiguous warranty? How long does it last? Is it transferable?
These regulations are in place for good reasons and failure to follow them can sometimes lead to grave safety consequences and may even increase the level of radon in a home. For example, many contractors place their vent outlet next to windows, below overhangs or halfway up the side of a house. This can lead to concentrated radon reentering the house! The RMS specifies that vent outlets be 2 ft. above any windows that are less than 10 ft. away and above the roofline.
There is often no way to properly design a radon system without the information provided by diagnostic testing. Usually this testing involves applying suction to a two inch test hole to see if there is air movement at a series of small half inch test holes drilled in various parts of the slab. If we detect pressure changes at all the small hole locations when suction is applied to the large test hole, then the radon system can be placed at the location of the large hole. If not then a new location for the system (or a second suction point) must be considered.
You need proof that your radon levels were lowered. Your mitigator should either give you a sealed short-term test for you to deploy (wait 48 hours) or arrange to have an independent testing company come and retest your house. They should not do the testing themselves! It is a blatant conflict of interest for a mitigator to also do testing.