When choosing the right contractor to install a radon mitigation system in your home, there are a few major factors to consider other than just the price on the quote. By far the biggest factor is certification. In this article, we will discuss the importance of radon mitigation certification and what to look out for when choosing the right company to lower your radon levels to a safe range.
For many homeowners, price is a big concern when it comes to home improvement projects, and it can be easy to just choose the least expensive option when it comes to radon mitigation (which admittedly isn’t the flashiest home improvement project). However, with radon mitigation going cheap can end up being expensive, and in ultra-rare cases even deadly.
In the state of Colorado (along with many other states across the country) there are no laws requiring radon mitigation companies to be certified, therefore, there are a decent amount of uncertified and inexperienced contractors throughout the state offering low-priced radon systems.
Certified Radon Mitigation Professionals
Choosing a radon mitigation company that holds certifications from organizations such as the IAC2 Radon Mitigation System Inspection Sop. can ensure that the installer will follow the proper procedures and codes necessary to not only install a system that is almost guaranteed to work, but also pass inspection when the home goes up for sale. Without certification, in theory, you could be getting someone who has no prior knowledge or experience with radon removal.
What Happens If I Hire an Uncertified Contractor?
You May Not Get The Results You’re Looking For.
There is a lot more to radon mitigation than just inserting a ventilation pipe and a fan into the slab and hoping for results. The type of mitigation fan used and the placement of the suction point play a large role in the success of the system. We constantly field calls from homeowners who used a “cheaper option” and retested their home only to find that the radon levels were still high, and when they called the company back to fix it they refused to answer the call. The problem with many uncertified contractors is that they are often only in the mitigation business for a quick buck before they move on to the next trending home improvement business. They are not interested in servicing systems they have already installed because their company’s reputation doesn’t matter as much. You will also commonly find that the materials these contractors use are typically the bottom of the barrel in terms of quality. Not all radon mitigation fans are created equal, and the model and brand make a big difference.
Your Home Could Have A Fire Or A Carbon Monoxide Issue
It’s not often that we hear of these situations occurring, however, it has happened that an uncertified contractor caused a home fire due to shoddy electrical work. As mentioned before, any electrical work for the radon fan hook-up must be done by a master electrician or you risk a fine or even a fire. As for carbon monoxide, one example is that there are certain homes that have what we call a “weeping wall” — which is basically an open gap between the wall and floor that allows water to run down the basement walls and back into the drain tile. If this weeping wall is left open when a radon mitigation system is installed, the air being pulled from the system will not be exclusively pulling from the soil, but instead will be pulling from those openings in the basement. If the home has an older water heater, this can draw out the carbon monoxide from the water heater and “backdraft” it through the living space. Certified companies train their installers to look out for these things and will seal that weeping wall down during installation, however many uncertified contractors will overlook this to save time and money.
Your Calls For Service May Go Unanswered
The vast majority of uncertified contractors are one-man operations, which means it can be tough to reach them. Additionally, they make money off of initial installs, not service calls on systems they have already installed. So what we hear on a daily basis from new customers calling in is that they cannot get a hold of the company that installed their system when they need them the most. Most of the main radon fan brands offer a warranty that can only be used by the purchaser, so if you cannot reach the company you had your system installed by, you may have to pay for an entirely new fan and the service charge with a different company that you can actually contact. This is by far the biggest factor to consider if you are planning on living in the home you are installing the system in for longer than a few years.
You May Be Required To Install A Brand New System Again When Selling
Unfortunately, we have run into some really poorly installed systems from uncertified contractors that have to be removed and entirely replaced. There is an alarming trend of uncertified installers placing the fan in the basement and piping the system right out of the side of the home without venting above the roofline. While this could be a good “aesthetic option” and is easy to install, it is absolutely not up to the radon standards set forth by ANSI/AARST and will be flagged on inspection. When this type of system gets flagged, you will have to pay a company like ours to come out and remove the old system and then install an entirely new system. So by saving a few bucks on the initial install, you may have to pay double in the long run. It is always best to have your system installed properly the first time even if it costs a couple of hundred dollars more.
We aren’t saying that every single uncertified and inexperienced contractor will cause major issues, however, you do run a much higher risk of these things happening when you go with an uncertified company. Not every installer at the company needs to be certified, but make sure that the company you choose at least has a few certified technicians and some experience in the industry.