Radon Testing in New Construction

For those of you that do Radon testing, What are your thoughts on testing in new construction?
Would you recommend the buyer wait a few months before doing a test or does it not matter as far as being able to get a good reading.
Thanks
John

We routinely test new homes for Radon.

Age is generally not a factor.

I have found some banks require it.

The EPA recommends that ALL homes be tested for Radon.

P.S. From a business perspective, did you ever go to get a haircut and have the barber tell you to wait a little while longer?

Just make sure that the testing isn’t done while the contractor is trying to get the house finished and has all the doors and windows open.

Buyers should definitely test prior to closing—I have found many new homes with issues. (especially ones with sumps)

Not only sumps but the hole in the basement floor that the plumbers used to hook up the plumbing for the basement bath tub. I would say that at least 95% of them are left with open soil showing in my area.

I post this notice at all doors for new construction (and place one on the kitchen table for existing homes).

RADON TEST IN PROGRESS

CLOSED HOUSE CONDITIONS MUST BE MAINTAINED

ALL WINDOWS MUST REMAIN CLOSED.
EXTERNAL DOORS MUST REMAIN CLOSED EXCEPT FOR ENTRY AND EXIT.

HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEMS SHOULD BE OPERATED NORMALLY IN THE AUTO-MODE DURING THE RADON TEST (BETWEEN 40 AND 80 DEGREES).

CONTACT THE NUMBER BELOW FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.
… My logo, phone, etc. here

Most all sellers and builders know about fooling radon tests. It’s usually a waste of money unless the buyer is lucky and no one airs the house out.

The only radon test that is valid is one that shows high levels of radon, even then, someone could have caused a lower reading.

Buyers should do their own testing after having the locks changed.

Here in MD the Toll Brothers building group says that it is up to the homeowner to have the test done and the results shown within the first 30 days after closing. They will then do something to remediate the issue. It would be very hard to do a closed house test before the homeowner takes ownership. It may not be tampered with on purpose but wth all the subs going around the few days before closing it would be very hard to keep the test accurate. Toll installed passive systems in all home here in my development. I neglected to get my test done 5 yrs ago. Radon? What the hell is Radon? I did end up testing my home a few years ago with a Pro=Lab charcoal test and once I stared doing Radon tests my self I tested my home again and found the levels to be around 8.6 pc/L. I installed a Fantech Radon fan and tested a few days later and found the level to be .6 pc/L.

Dick

I test about half of all new homes for Radon that I inspect.

I would like to add radon test along with my normal inspection.

Is there a monitor that can be set, and return is 48 hours to read, or is the canister that you send out for results a better way. Since most buyers and their agents want results asap how is this best remidied?

Sun Nuclear is the way to go.

Check for the specific Licensing Requirements within your Home State / Province.

http://www.sunnuclear.com/Products/Radon/Radon.asp

I agree and that’s what I have. It’s a little bit of work as far as putting together the reports, but relatively easy.

If you’ve got licensing requirements, I’d also reccomend Radalink. They rent their monitors to you, and have the added benefit of taking care of all the reporting and paperwork for you. All you really have to do is set the monitor, retreave it, plug it into a phone line. Much easier, but it costs a little more.

Canisters are very accurate, but as you said, it might be a week or so before getting the results back. They are also easier to tamper with. (I use LS test kits from Accustar labs as a backup for my Sun).

I use a Sun 1027 & love it, there’s no licensing req’d in WY. I made a tamper proof box out of a 17" plastic tool box. Cut 4" holes in each end w/speaker covers. Cut a hole in the back for a 6" speaker cover, mounted monitor on a 2/6 w/ mini bungie cords. I leave my data cable hooked up so I can transfer results when I get home, leave A/C power cord hooked up to for handy access. Just enough room for all to fit including my small extension cord & “Caution Radon Test” signs, also keep a log of all tests done in there too. Works neat, everything in one spot, no muss, no fuss. Also with the monitor it tells if anyone has messed with your equipment or if the power goes out it will run on battery for 20 hours. You can print the report right out thru your laptop. It will pay for itself in a half dozen tests compared to the canister method that you have to use 2 for "Real Estate Testing, send in next day or 2nd day. IMO.This is what works best for me. Only recurring cost is about $125 or $150 for yearly calibration…Like I said this is only my opinion & what works best for me so far, & with in my budget. Monitor was $535.00…

I use the E-perm system from Rad Elec. They are the chamber type that you can read onsite. You set up the dual chamber box and the cost per sample is pretty low. $100 per year to cal the meter. Comes with SW to make computing the data easier. Some people like the Continous Radon Monitors. Their cost per device is high but it is easier to operate. Like always you have to follow protocols to do the test correctly. Take a two day course to get educated on Radon. It was interesting for me.

http://www.radelec.com/RadElecPriceListFinal_2007.pdf

Your mileage may vary.

Dick

Just remember those of you who are using a Sun Nuclear Continuous monitor that these devices really do not follow the EPA Protocol that requires the test to sample each hour. Sun units appear to do that when you get the report but in their function, they do not have the capability to sample each hour. The unit will take the sample readings it makes and average them out so that it appears that each hour a sample was made. I used to use a Sun Machine until New York State put a stop to using continuous monitors that the testor could retrieve data from and was not ELAP certified. I also took the NEHA Radon Certification course put on by Radalink and learned this about Sun Machines. I sold mine and am now renting a unit from Radalink and they handle the data collecting and send me and my client the results. Radalink claims that their continuous monitors are the only units that truely sample each hour of the test. Worth thinking about.

Theirs is always better than ours & well should be for 5 times the price, Sun claimed they are EPA approved (so far). It’s funny nobody else (that I myself have heard) has mentioned anything about this before, anybody else heard anything bad about the Sun’s this way, please ring in & tell me it aint’ so…

I prefer to do the canister tests. We use Accustar out here in Massachusetts. Generally a 24-48 hour turnover once they receive the canisters and the results are instantly emailed to the client.
I used to work for a company that used the Sun Nuclear tests. I found them to be often out of service and unreliable.
What happens if something goes wrong while the test is there for 48 hours. You will have to do a re-test, which will piss off the buyers, sellers and the agents since you are advertising and selling a more expensive test for fast turn around.

Then there is also the liability factor. By placing canisters, the liability (for a wrong reading) will generally be on the testing company.
If you own the machine and the machine fails for whatever reason you will be liable to pay for a Radon Mitigation system $1200-2000 in my area
I don’t think the extra 2-3 days waiting for the results is unreasonable when you think about the potential liability issue.

Just my two cents.

Personally, I try to take information that comes from competitors with a grain of salt. While there may be truth in what is said, it’s usually spun to make the other guy look bad.

Since this concerned me, I spoke to a Sun rep directly about this. She is going to be sending me some information for me to post here, so when I get it I will re-post.

In a nutshell the Sun 1027 is EPA approved. The 1028 & 1029 monitors are in the process of getting NEHA certified. All three sample exactly the same only the 1028 & 1029 have some additional bells and whistles. Apparently if a manufacturer so much as changes a port in the back of the machine, it has to go through the re-approval process again (red tape). That’s why these models have not been approved yet.

The way the SUN machines sample, is that they are set up to do 2.5 samples an hour. Those samples are then averaged for the hourly reading. Radalink apparently does the sampling differently, but the results are basically the same. I’m not sure how the Radalink monitors do theirs, but if they only take one sample per hour, I think I’d rather have the Sun. But I’m not sure about that.

I’ve done side by side testing of my 1027 with an Accustar LS test, and the average result was almost exactly the same. They were well within each devices recognized and published error factor.

PS. Not dissing Radalink at all. I loved their service, and their machines. The only reason I stopped using them was that I found a way to provide the same level of service to my clients at less cost.