Radon Testing

I did a radon test recently and the EPA protocol average was 4.8. I purchased the Sun 1027 in January 2008 and it was calibrated. I also did a cross check with 3 monitors at my home and they all were within the same readings.

The home that I tested had a radon test with a similar monitor done about 18 months ago and this one came back at 2.7.

There are some arguments between the buyer, seller and agents on the next step as my client wants mitigation and the seller says I had it tested and he is not paying for mitigation.

It is a large home and mitigation would be more then the norm.

I told them during a short term test conditions can change and the EPA recommends testing every 2 years.

I also recommended a mitigation specialist to determine if there is a need for a system. I would think a long term test would be needed.

What are your thoughts and how would you handle the above situation?

Do your testing by accepted protocol, and let them fight it out.


Keep it to the parties in red.
You measured and reported. What they do with that is up to them. The agents get paid for resolving these things. :wink:

Since Radon levels can vary day to day a long tern 90-180 day test is in order to give a better indication of the average level over the extended period.

I understand this but lets just try to figure out what will happen in this case. Just for the hell of it.

During the contingency period they cant do a long term test.

So as the buyers agent your pushing for mitigation. As a sellers agent your saying it was under the 4.0 level when we did the test.

I did follow the EPA protocol.

Now I see why the recommend testing every 2 years.

My home stays between 2.1 and 3.6. I think I have tested about 20X.

Thanks for the replies.

David, that wasn’t for you but for those who may not understand the next step when >4 level is measured during a 48 hour test.

The 48 hour test is less than definitive IMHO.

The inspector should only have to explain the proper protocol.

The owner and the seller have to come to terms on the deal.

They could split the cost of a mitigation system as one option.

A smart agent should cough up the cost(or a portion) of the mitigation system if it’s truly needed to save the deal.

I was a former agent myself, here is what I would have suggested had I been the buyers agent.

Mr & Mrs Seller. We would like for you to get an estimate for the cost of installing a mitigation system in the home. We, (the buyers) will pay for the cost of a long term test, and continue the closing as scheduled. At closing the cost of the the mitigation system will be placed from your home proceeds into an escrow account. Upon completion of the long term test, the escrow funds will either be used towards the purchase of a mitigation system (should the long term results be at or above 4.0), or they will be returned to you if they are 3.9 or lower.

Sounds fair to me Mark.

Could somebody have aired out the home on the first test? Diluting the radon level. I had Realtors tell me that they are taught to air out the home before a test is taken. I honestly think that they do not realize what they have done.

Yep, I’ve heard that. That’s one reason I have a flier that I give to agents to give to sellers on how to prepare for their radon test. I’ve also got a letter that I leave at the home, requesting the sellers sign it and return it to me.

Who would be the best local source for training in radon testing?


Make sure you take a course that has been approved by the Ohio Department of Health’s Radon Licensing Program. Their website is found here:


The PDF file found behind the link to the renewal package will tell you who can help you get through the State’s requirements.

Shawn Price


I agree with Mark’s recommendation on the escrow account - remember, EPA testing says if below 4, no mitigation necessay; if above 10, mitigate; if between 4 and 10 do a long term test - I have done several where the test is above 4 and less than 10 and have given the same suggestion to the buyers and agents - not to be involved with the deal but they look to me for answers and suggestions since I am NEHA certified - with that they want info. -

Here is a paste from the EPA’s website on follow up tests.

EPA Recommends the Following Testing Steps:
***Step 1. ***Take a short-term test. If your result is 4 pCi/L or higher take a follow-up test (Step 2) to be sure.
**Step 2. Follow up with either a long-term test or a second short-term test:

  • For a better understanding of your year-round average radon level, take a long-term test.
  • If you need results quickly, take a second short-term test.
    The higher your initial short-term test result, the more certain you can be that you should take a short-term rather than a long-term follow up test. If your first short-term test result is more than twice EPA’s 4 pCi/L action level, you should take a second short-term test immediately.
    ***Step 3. *If you followed up with a long-term test: Fix your home if your long-term test result is 4 pCi/L or more. If you followed up with a second short-term test: The higher your short-term results, the more certain you can be that you should fix your home. **Consider fixing your home if the average of your first and second test is 4 pCi/L or higher. (see also Home Sales)

The risk of lung cancer from radon is linear-no threshold which means the more exposure the higher the risk proportionally.

4.0 is only a government’s point on a line. Nothing magical actually happens at 4.0.

4.8 is really not much different (in terms of health risk) than 3.8… especially when you understand that the test error at low levels is very high as a percentage (higher levels are easier to measure accurately). You can explain this to your client if you want but it doesn’t matter in a real estate transaction. What matters in a real estate transaction is what is written in the sales contract’s radon addendum, not what is actually dangerous and not some arbitrary number.

Was there any significant Wind or rain event in the two days Either test was taken? In a High Wind area, a windy day or a heavy rain the test results are invalid and need to be done again. This could have been one of the reasons the results were different. Even the location placement of the canisters or may have been wrong in either test. For example to close to the wall, window or a door with a draft present.

They are also talking about lowering the mitigation level to 2.9 in some places around the globe including NY State. I think in canada the testing is long term not sure exactly what the pcl limit is though.

I got this e-mail yesturday I thought I would share it.


The EPA has developed a draft document entitled “RADON IN YOUR HOME: PROTECT YOUR FAMILY” that consolidates the information contained in their existing three consumer publications: [size=2][FONT=Trebuchet MS,Verdana,Helvetica,sans-serif][FONT=Times New Roman][size=3] *A Citizen’s Guide to Radon, *Home Buyer’s and Seller’s Guide to Radon, Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction. They have asked major stakeholders, including the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST), to comment on this draft.

Being on the front lines, we all see radon testing problems ranging from misinformation to fraud. We now have a unique opportunity to help to make things better. Since most home inspectors derive a significant portion of our income from radon testing and all home inspectors are concerned with home health and safety, it is important that home inspectors comment on this important document that will affect our businesses for years to come.

Please read this draft and email your comments back to me by FRIDAY MAY 2, 2008 Do so by opening the attached WORD document, typing in your comments, then sending it back to me as an attachment. I will consolidate your comments and forward them to AARST. My email address is gregg@professionalhome.com