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Do you have an unsafe radon mitigation system?

“Caveat Emptor”   Caveat Emptor is a neo-Latin phrase meaning “let the buyer beware.”  We use this phrase often in light of a warning, that a buyer should put in due diligence, to understand what they are getting before making a purchase. This could refer to either a product, a service rendered or the reputation of a seller or service provider.

When someone takes action to reduce high radon levels in their home, the general course of action is to have a radon mitigation system installed. The typical person really has no idea if their radon mitigation system was installed correctly, in a safe manor or not. Additionally many people who have radon mitigation systems installed in their homes don’t even know if those systems are effectively removing the radon to an acceptable level or not (see 10 Reasons to Test and Re-Test for Radon.)

The problem of unsafe radon mitigation systems is exacerbated by the fact, that many if not the majority of radon mitigation systems, are installed as part of real estate transactions and paid for by the sellers, who most of the time, in my experience, are looking for the lowest cost radon mitigation contractors they can find.

In real estate transactions when the seller agrees to installing a radon mitigation system, they very often tell me, they do not care about the details of the system or installation, what it looks like or how it is installed, their only concern is that it is installed for the least amount of money possible, in order to complete the sale.

Most of the radon mitigation systems I install are paid for by the seller of a home and usually the only question they have about the installation is, “what will it cost?” That is all they really care about in most cases. For this e reason the radon mitigation business is extremely competitive, price wise. Some radon mitigation companies cater to the demand for low cost systems, and have developed reputations of using cheaper and substandard materials and installation methods, saving them costs in materials and labor, allowing them to undercut their more ethical competition.

Two primary reasons for unsafe (improper) radon mitigation systems:

  1. Cutting corners to save time and materials cost.
  2. Ignorance and or laziness; just plain not knowing or not bothering to figure out the proper way to do it.

I believe in most cases the reasons for unsafe radon mitigation systems fall into the category of selfishness (lack of concern for the safety of others) and greed.  This could be the radon mitigation contractor who cuts corners by not using quality materials or proper and safe installation procedures to achieve higher profits. This could also be a person selling their home, who wants the absolute cheapest system regardless of quality or safety – in this case the installation contractor is also complicit.

Ignorance may be the reason in some cases either by a do it your self homeowner or an unexperienced contractor.  However, with the voluminous amount of information readily available on the proper installation of radon mitigation systems, there is really no excuse in most situations for ignorance. When ignorance is the reason for an unsafe mitigation system is installed, it is most likely due to the lack of concern for proper and safe installation. Ignorance is overcome with proper instruction which can be obtained with a little effort.

Please leave your questions, comments or stories of unsafe radon mitigation systems below for the help and learning of others. For additional information you may want to see “Improper and Unsafe Radon Mitigation Systems” a page on this website that contains pictures and examples of unsafe radon mitigation systems that I’ve come across my self or examples found on the web.