Your radon test results are in, and there's some bad news as well as some good news. Let's deal with the bad news first: The test shows that radon levels in your house are well above 4pCi/l (4 picocuries per liter), the EPA's threshold for acceptable exposure levels. To protect family members from the cancer-causing effects of radon exposure, you need to have a radon mitigation system installed.
Now for the good news: Thanks to proven, well-established techniques, it's a sure bet that an experienced radon mitigation contractor will be able to lower the radon levels in your house to 4pCi/l or less. Having a radon reduction system installed will not only protect your family's health; it will also make your house more marketable when it's time to sell your property.
Next step: Choose a radon mitigation contractor. Since radon is such a prevalent problem, it's usually not all that difficult to find a number of different radon removal experts in your area. But how much should you be willing to pay, and what considerations are most important when choosing a radon mitigation contractor? The following factors can help you decide.
- Cost. If you have to choose between the prices of different contractors' radon reduction systems, don't be surprised if the estimates vary by several hundred dollars or more. As with many other goods and services, the lowest price is often not the bargain that it seems to be.
- Experience and technical support. A contractor who belongs to a national network or franchise will have access to special products, training and technical support. These resources (which independent contractors lack) provide a significant advantage in designing and installing radon systems. Although a franchise, like National Radon Defense, for example, may charge a bit more than an independent local contractor, the quality and dependability of the work could potentially be better.
- Appearance. Large-diameter plastic pipe and a large in-line fan are essential elements of a typical radon mitigation system, but they don't have to create an eyesore on the outside of your house. When you opt for the least expensive radon system, you often don't get a choice of where the pipe and fan will be located. To keep costs low, the contractor may install the pipe and fan in a very visible location. The most cost-effective location may also put the fan right next to a bedroom, which most people don't appreciate. A more experienced, better-trained radon mitigation contractor will give you options for running the pipe inside the house and up through the roof, or in less visible locations outside the house. The cost may be slightly higher because of longer pipe runs, but you'll definitely appreciate the better appearance and lower noise levels.
- Follow-up service. The typical radon mitigation system is simple and reliable. The fan is the only item that has potential to experience a little wear-and-tear. But it's important for a radon mitigation contractor to offer follow-up services like replacing a worn-out fan or retesting a house after improvements or alterations have already been made.