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  1. #1
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    Default radon testing location

    I deployed a Sun Nuc 1027 for a short term test in a small Baltimore row home today. The test was prompted during a real estate transaction.

    I normally test in the lowest occupiable level of the home during real estate transactions. When I went to the cellar in the home, I found the ceiling height to be 69 to 70 inches. It is an unfinished area and that measurement is from the concrete floor to the bottom of the floor joists.

    I considered this cellar not occupiable due to low ceiling height and elected to set the equipment up on the main living level.

    Did I make the right decision?

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    Default Re: radon testing location

    I'd say you made the correct call.

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    Default Re: radon testing location

    I agree. The low ceiling height would not qualify as a liveable area.


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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Yes you did.


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    Thumbs up Re: radon testing location

    What they all said, yes, right call.


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    Default Re: radon testing location

    I was almost sure my decision was right. The thing is, the client was expecting me to test in the cellar. I needed to hear from my brethren here to make absolutely sure.

    What good is anything if you don't follow some set of standards? I have training materials that talks about testing the lowest occupiable level in real estate transactions. Other then that, do any of you know where such language might be listed within EPA protocol? I'm looking for it but it seems to be hiding from me.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: radon testing location

    John, I would respectfully disagree with the current "Opinion's". If the cellar is accessible, dry and almost 6 ft high the occupants can use the space for Laundry room, Work bench area and the biggest concern is those rug-rats having a play room in the cellar. Gets pretty cold in the winter. Always take the clients intended uses into account and not speculate.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Good call on the consideration for the kids Paul!

    Reminds me of an inspector that told me about a house that he was going to test and when he got into the basement he found a ceiling less than 6' high, so he thought that this was too low to occupy, so he headed up the stairs to test the first floor. When he got to the top of the stairs, he was met by the buyer, who happened to have dwarfism, which I guess we call "Little People' in this age of political correctness. Without a word he turned around and went back down the stairs to start the radon test.

    One just doesn't know what a buyer plans to do with the space unless they ask.

    Shawn


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    Default Re: radon testing location

    I have to agree with Paul and Shawn.

    I would have placed the CRM in the celler/basement. My bet is that they will use it for a playroom, weight room or who knows what.

    I place my test in the lowest area of the home that could be used by the owners for normal activities.

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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    I deployed a Sun Nuc 1027 for a short term test in a small Baltimore row home today. The test was prompted during a real estate transaction.

    I normally test in the lowest occupiable level of the home during real estate transactions. When I went to the cellar in the home, I found the ceiling height to be 69 to 70 inches. It is an unfinished area and that measurement is from the concrete floor to the bottom of the floor joists.

    I considered this cellar not occupiable due to low ceiling height and elected to set the equipment up on the main living level.

    Did I make the right decision?
    In my opinion, Yes. I believe the term is "lived in" or "livable" area not "occupiable". Has to do with the amount of time one might spend in the area in question. BUT - the Buyer's Seller's Guide has been updated to say "lowest level that could be used regularily"

    From the "Citizen's Guide"
    The test kit should be placed in the lowest lived-in level of the home (for example, the basement if it is frequently used, otherwise the first floor). It should be put in a room that is used regularly (like a living room, playroom, den or bedroom) but not your kitchen or bathroom.

    From the Buyer's Seller's Guide 2009 Edition
    Radon Test Device Placement
    EPA recommends that the test device(s) be placed in the lowest level of the home that could be used regularly, whether it is finished or unfinished. Conduct the test in any space that could be used by the buyer as a bedroom, play area, family room, den, exercise room, or workshop. Based on their client’s intended use of the space, the qualified testing professional should identify the appropriate test location and inform their client (buyer). Do not test in a closet, stairway, hallway, crawl space or in an enclosed area of high humidity or high air velocity. An enclosed area may include a kitchen, bathroom, laundry room or furnace room.

    The last two sentences in the above seem ambiguous to me. There will be people who will take it say that testing in a kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, or furnace room is now okay.

    BUT - the key point in the new B&G Guide is to test where the buyer desires as long as it isn't a prohibited enclosed area.

    Last edited by Stuart Brooks; 08-27-2010 at 08:50 AM. Reason: Added last sentence
    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Stuart, EPA protocols are different depending on whether you are doing a radon test for a homeowner or as part of a real estate transaction.

    If the radon test is for a homeowner you place your device(s) on the lowest occupied level of the home. If the house has an unfinished basement but the homeowner states they never use the basement you would place your device(s) on the main level. Your test results will show the radon levels the occupants are being exposed to.

    If the radon test is part of a real estate transaction you would place your device(s) on the lowest occupiable level of the home. If the house has an unfinished basement but the buyers state they do not plan to use the basement at all you would place your device(s) in the basement if you want your radon test to meet EPA protocols. Your test results will show the radon levels future occupants could be exposed to.

    Hope this clears things up.

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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Breedlove View Post
    Stuart, EPA protocols are different depending on whether you are doing a radon test for a homeowner or as part of a real estate transaction.

    If the radon test is for a homeowner you place your device(s) on the lowest occupied level of the home. If the house has an unfinished basement but the homeowner states they never use the basement you would place your device(s) on the main level. Your test results will show the radon levels the occupants are being exposed to.

    If the radon test is part of a real estate transaction you would place your device(s) on the lowest occupiable level of the home. If the house has an unfinished basement but the buyers state they do not plan to use the basement at all you would place your device(s) in the basement if you want your radon test to meet EPA protocols. Your test results will show the radon levels future occupants could be exposed to.

    Hope this clears things up.
    Uhh - isn't that pretty much what I posted? The posted quotes above came directly from the current EPA documents. You know, "highlight text and right click to copy". I wouldn't think it's necessary for you to "clear" things up. Since John is certified, I'm sure he knows the difference between the Citizen's Guide and the Buyer's & Seller's Guide

    Last edited by Stuart Brooks; 08-27-2010 at 11:09 AM. Reason: spelling
    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Have a nice day.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Breedlove View Post
    Have a nice day.
    You too!

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

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    Default Re: radon testing location

    The test ends tomorrow evening. If the result is above 4.0 pCi/L the recommendation will be to mitigate anyway. If it's below 4, I'll offer to test again in the cellar at no additional charge. I'll already be there so it will be one more leg of a round trip. No big deal.

    There still doesnt seem to be a consensus on this issue.


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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    There still doesnt seem to be a consensus on this issue.
    Follow what the EPA says to do. This is for a buyer so you want to test in the lowest area of the home that could be used.

    From the EPA Buyers/Sellers Guide
    Radon Test Device Placement

    EPA recommends that the test device(s) be placed in the lowest level of the home that could be used regularly, whether it is finished or unfinished. Conduct the test in any space that could be used by the buyer as a bedroom, play area, family room, den, exercise room, or workshop. Based on their client’s intended use of the space, the qualified testing professional should identify the appropriate test location and inform their client (buyer).


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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Follow what the EPA says to do. This is for a buyer so you want to test in the lowest area of the home that could be used.

    From the EPA Buyers/Sellers Guide
    Will do, which is also why I'll re-test at no charge.

    "could be used" seals the deal because it "could be"

    I hadn't realized that language was there. One could argue the validity of some EPA stuff but it's the only standard out there right? I guess we need to follow it then. Either that, or go out on a limb.

    Now I seem pretty wishy washy huh?


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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    Now I seem pretty wishy washy huh?
    Nah, you are fairly new at this gig. Experience is the best teacher when it comes to the inspection profession, and that includes radon testing.

    You are a good guy for re-testing for your client and you have shown that you care about the profession and your clients by putting your questions on this forum.

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  19. #19
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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Unanswered questions are the worst kind.

    Better to say no radon is in the space below.


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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Radon Test Device Placement

    EPA recommends that the test device(s) be placed in the lowest level of the home that could be used regularly, whether it is finished or unfinished. Conduct the test in any space that could be used by the buyer as a bedroom, play area, family room, den, exercise room, or workshop. Based on their client’s intended use of the space, the qualified testing professional should identify the appropriate test location and inform their client (buyer).


    Is there an EPA definition of "could be used"?

    If not, the Existing Building Code has one:
    - 201.3 Terms defined in other codes. Where terms are not defined in this code and are defined in the other International Codes, such terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them in those codes.

    Thus we go to the IRC:
    - HABITABLE SPACE. A space in a building for living, sleeping, eating or cooking. Bathrooms, toilet rooms, closets, halls, storage or utility spaces and similar areas are not considered habitable spaces.
    - R305.1 Minimum height. Habitable rooms, hallways, corridors, bathrooms, toilet rooms, laundry rooms and basements shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet (2134 mm). The required height shall be measured from the finish floor to the lowest projection from the ceiling.
    - - Exceptions:
    - - - 1. Beams and girders spaced not less than 4 feet (1219 mm) on center may project not more than 6 inches (152 mm) below the required ceiling height.
    - - - 2. Ceilings in basements without habitable spaces may project to within 6 feet, 8 inches (2032 mm) of the finished floor; and beams, girders, ducts or other obstructions may project to within 6 feet 4 inches (1931 mm) of the finished floor.
    - - - 3. For rooms with sloped ceilings, at least 50 percent of the required floor area of the room must have a ceiling h
    eight of at least 7 feet (2134 mm) and no portion of the required floor area may have a ceiling height of less than 5 feet (1524 mm).
    - - - 4. Bathrooms shall have a minimum ceiling height of 6 feet 8 inches (2036 mm) over the fixture and at the front clearance area for fixtures as shown in Figure R307.1. A shower or tub equipped with a showerhead shall have a minimum ceiling height of 6 feet 8 inches (2036 mm) above a minimum area 30 inches (762 mm) by 30 inches (762 mm) at the showerhead.

    "Could be used" can be defined as "legally" "could be used", thus "habitable space" applies.

    If you do not want to use that, which I am sure would be legally defensible, and instead use as described above, then you have cross from a legally defensible definition to "whatever you think", and with that if you *do not test* any space which "could be" used, even a 2 foot high space, you "could be" legally liable for elevated radon levels and any negative resulting from your failure to test there.

    Be careful where you make *your own* definition. Now (as I said at the beginning) if the EPA has defined "could be used" ... then you could, and should, use that.

    Has anyone asked the EPA as to what constitutes a minimum ceiling height for "could be used"? I would think that someone has at some point in time.



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    Default Re: radon testing location

    I knew this thread wasn't over.

    Part of testing in questionable areas is the information may be submitted to parties that will be asked to pay money to fix things. They could question the validity of the testing locaton and create a liability issue as well.

    Last edited by John Dirks Jr; 08-27-2010 at 07:00 PM.

  22. #22

    Default Re: radon testing location

    I would explain this to the customer and test both places.


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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Quote Originally Posted by Rolland Pruner View Post
    I would explain this to the customer and test both places.
    Or explain to your client that the basement is not considered habitable space and is therefore not a space which could legally be used for ... but, if they think they may ever use that space even though they should not, that you can ADD that space to your testing for a nominal fee.

    Now you have established: 1) it is not part of your normal testing (for anyone who complains about it being tested); 2) advised your client that the space is not legally allowed to be used for ... (whatever); 3) offered to do something for them should they want you to (at a nominal cost); 4) when your client says 'No, we have no intention of using that space for ... ', then you have given them the opportunity to have had it tested and they cannot come back and say 'Why didn't you test that area?"; 5) you tested that area for your clients benefit, and I suspect (I don't know as I do not do radon testing) that the EPA covers MINIMUM testing locations, but does not prohibit additional testing once the required MINIMUM testing locations have been addressed.

    What say you guys who do radon testing?

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    Default Re: radon testing location

    I don't see much difference in testing a basement with a 5-10 ceiling height or a 4 ft ceiling height. They're both considered crawl spaces, and not a place to be considered habitable space or an occupiable level of the home.

    To meet the EPA protocols the test would have to be run on the main level as John did. However, I would do the same as John and offer the clients another test in the crawlspace to keep them happy. If that second test came back with high numbers I would indicate in the report that EPA protocols were not met when conducting the test.

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    Default Re: radon testing location

    I see lots of tv areas, exercise equipment, office areas set up in basements with low headroom. Just because it has a low ceiling doesn't mean a homeowner won't use it as habitable space.

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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Comb View Post
    I see lots of tv areas, exercise equipment, office areas set up in basements with low headroom. Just because it has a low ceiling doesn't mean a homeowner won't use it as habitable space.
    Which is why I kept stating: (I've added bold and underlining)
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck
    Or explain to your client that the basement is not considered habitable space and is therefore not a space which could legally be used for ...
    That way, if you do not test, that space is not "legally" allowed to be used, and that is a defensible position to take, but if you do test, you are notifying your client that, while that space is not "legally" allowed to be used, if they so choose, you will test it anyway. Then advise them as Ken said:
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe
    I would indicate in the report that EPA protocols were not met when conducting the test.
    This is because testing that space does not meet the requirements of the EPA minimum requirements.

    However, no one has yet answered my question: Does the EPA allow testing above and beyond their "minimum" requirements? If so ... then what Ken said would be incorrect as the testing still met the EPA requirements (if all the other requirements were done) and the EPA requirements were then exceeded. So ... for the question: Does the EPA allow exceeding their minimum requirements by testing in additional areas?

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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Which is why I kept stating:

    However, no one has yet answered my question: Does the EPA allow testing above and beyond their "minimum" requirements? If so ... then what Ken said would be incorrect as the testing still met the EPA requirements (if all the other requirements were done) and the EPA requirements were then exceeded. So ... for the question: Does the EPA allow exceeding their minimum requirements by testing in additional areas?
    Nobody mandates tests. A technician can place a monitor anywhere they want. However, to be a legal test the test must be conducted to the EPA, or in some cases State, protocols. A test conducted in a crawlspace with a 5-10 ceiling height would not meet EPA protocols. So to meet the legal requirements for the EPA protocol, the test, in this case. should be conducted on the main floor. A supplemental test could be conducted in the crawl space, but a crawl space test on it's own is not sufficient.

    I see lots of tv areas, exercise equipment, office areas set up in basements with low headroom. Just because it has a low ceiling doesn't mean a homeowner won't use it as habitable space.
    Depends on how low of headroom you're talking about. This thread is talking about a floor to joist height of 5-10.

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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    A supplemental test could be conducted in the crawl space, but a crawl space test on it's own is not sufficient.
    Okay, that is getting to my question.

    From that I surmise that one is allowed to test supplemental areas as long as the required areas are tested. Is that correct?

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    Default Re: radon testing location

    The EPA and other prominent health watch dog organizations have teamed up to establish guidelines for radon measurement including placement of the measurement device.

    You guys who have been radon testing for any amount of time will by now have a handle on differences in readings from level to level of a home. What are you finding? I find that it varies perhaps 1 or 2 pCi/L at most becoming less concentrated as it travels upward.

    No one will argue that radon gas is typically drawn into the dwelling in the basement or crawl space area. If the basement is a bit too cramped to be "legally" labeled as living area but still may be used as such by the owners, given the relatively small difference in readings from the basement to the 1st level, it doesn't matter much which level is tested. They should be pretty close to one another. Crawl spaces are not habitable and will not be used (by normal people anyway!) as play areas or living area.

    It's been my practice to test the basement even if it was marginally livable to find the highest reading possible and from there discuss the issue variations with the client.

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    Default Re: radon testing location

    The reading on the main level was .3pCi/L.

    The monitor is now in the cellar and the result will be out on Monday evening.

    Who thinks the cellar reading will prompt mitigation? Not me.

    I still think there needs to be a well defined standard on habitable space with regard to selecting a testing location. Without one, we have more gray paint to paint an already gray practice of short term radon testing.


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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Okay, that is getting to my question.

    From that I surmise that one is allowed to test supplemental areas as long as the required areas are tested. Is that correct?
    Correct. For Minnesota anyways. Several states have their own protocols which may not allow supplemental testing.

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    Default Re: radon testing location

    My practice is to test the lowest level of the sturcture. If your buyer says he will not be useing the basement because it is not finished remind him that the buyer he sells it to may tell his radon tech that he will be useing the same basement and the reading could be above the current standars at that time.


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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Hi John;

    I had the exact same problem several years ago.
    Another company did a test in an un-finished basement with headroom of about 6'1". That test was high so the seller called me into do another test. When I got to the house, I informed him that the test was done in error. I did the test on the first floor and the reading was acceptable.
    The 'fight' was now on. I sent a letter to NJDEP and basically the reply was simple.

    NJ IRC states a habitable space (and basement) needs a minimum height of 7 feet. Since the basement was only 6'1"; it could not be considered habitable (NJ DEP requires "that testing be performed in the lowest livable level of the house that is used, or could be used, as living space.")

    My computer crashed so I don't have that letter in a PDF; but if you want me to fax it to you, send me your fax number.

    Darren www.aboutthehouseinspections.com
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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Quote Originally Posted by Darren Miller View Post
    NJ IRC states a habitable space (and basement) needs a minimum height of 7 feet. Since the basement was only 6'1"; it could not be considered habitable (NJ DEP requires "that testing be performed in the lowest livable level of the house that is used, or could be used, as living space.")

    Darren,

    Ahh, but that misses the crux of my question: Does the NJ DEP PROHIBIT "supplemental" testing?

    If not, then the other test was *also* a valid test, just not a *required* test.

    Which is, after all, why I asked the question.

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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Darren,

    Ahh, but that misses the crux of my question: Does the NJ DEP PROHIBIT "supplemental" testing?

    If not, then the other test was *also* a valid test, just not a *required* test.

    Which is, after all, why I asked the question.
    Jerry, a supplemental test would not be a "valid test" as it does not meet required protocols.

    Here in MN we'll test unfinished basements. But the basement must not have a dirt floor and floor to ceiling height that a person can stand up in. (at least 6 feet). If a person can not stand up (less than 6 feet) it is considered a crawl space and does not meet testing requirements. A basement with a hard floor and 6' headroom could easily be used as a workshop, laundry room, play room etc where occupants may spend quite a bit of time. The EPA states,
    "EPA recommends that the test device(s) be placed in the lowest level of the home that could be used regularly, whether it is finished or unfinished."
    It does not mention the space needs to meet the legal requirements for the term living space. But, as I stated previously, many states have adopted their own, more stringent requirements for testing.

    So to answer your question. At least one of the tests must be conducted meeting the EPA or State protocols. Any other areas could be tested, but would only be viewed as supplemental tests and would not stand on their own merit.

    In Darren's example, the first test conducted in the basement sounds as if it would be a valid test here in MN. But because the state of NJ has stricter testing requirements the basement test would not be a valid test in NJ. If I remember correctly, for a valid test in Illinois monitors must be placed in every level of the home with a different foundation. So if the home has a basement, slab and crawlspace each level needs to be tested at the same time. You'll need to research your own state's protocols.

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    Default Re: radon testing location

    To further extend the question:

    Suppose "supplemental" testing were allowed. You perform a supplemental test in a cellar with a 5 foot ceiling ( clearly not habitable). Is it legitimate to give the results with readings at 4 pCi/l or above to sellers and ask them to pay for mitigation?

    Don't get me wrong because I'm all about representing my clients interests, but I would like to avoid producing reports that make ridiculous demands.


  37. #37
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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    Jerry, a supplemental test would not be a "valid test" as it does not meet required protocols.
    Ken,

    That is incorrect if the protocols *allow* supplemental tests - the protocols would be minimum standards.

    Here is an example: Let's say the protocols *require* *one* test in the lowest living area, now let's say that you test *ten* locations in that lowest living area. ALL BUT ONE of those tests is "supplemental" as only one was required.

    Okay, now let's say that IN ADDITION TOO the above ten tests in the lowest living area YOU ALSO test ONE location in a basement with a ceiling height of 6 feet, that is also a "supplemental" test.

    Now, let's re-word the protocol such that it *requires* *and only allows* *one* test in the lowest living area. Under that protocol, then *only* *valid* test would be *one* in the living area, none of the other testing locations would be valid.

    So, back to my question, which - SO FAR - no one has completely answered: Do the protocols *allow* "supplemental" tests, or do they prohibit supplemental tests?, except for your answer below, which is incorrect of you are correct, which means it also is not a complete answer.

    (bold and underlining are mine)
    So to answer your question. At least one of the tests must be conducted meeting the EPA or State protocols. Any other areas could be tested, but would only be viewed as supplemental tests and would not stand on their own merit.
    An NO ONE is saying the supplemental tests will "stand on their own merit", only that they are valid tests done under the protocols - at least you said they would be valid tests under those protocols as you said "Any other areas could be tested ... ".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  38. #38
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    Default Re: radon testing location

    A NJ state certified radon technician must follow state protocol. I have done invalid tests at the request of a client, but the report would state something like- 'these results are for informational purposes only'; after all, the law in NJ requires a seller must disclose all previous radon test results.

    Here's another example of an invalid test.
    When the granite kitchen counter-top radon craze was at it's highest, NJ had one company actually instruct realtors the only way to test for radon in the granite was to deploy 3 separate devices; one in the lowest livable area, one in the kitchen and one in a room next to the kitchen.

    Now, protocol states you cannot conduct a radon test in the kitchen. The official response (verbal) was to conduct a test in the lowest livable area and another one in a room closest to the kitchen. I have no idea how many invalid (kitchen) tests were made and 'paid' for, but I do know the NJ DEP sent a letter to that company telling them to stop promoting invalid tests.

    Darren www.aboutthehouseinspections.com
    'Whizzing & pasting & pooting through the day (Ronnie helping Kenny helping burn his poots away!) (FZ)

  39. #39
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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    If I remember correctly, for a valid test in Illinois monitors must be placed in every level of the home with a different foundation. So if the home has a basement, slab and crawlspace each level needs to be tested at the same time. You'll need to research your own state's protocols.
    So Ken,

    How would you conduct a Illinois radon test in a crawlspace that is only 20 inches high?

    It's funny, but I have NEVER gotten a high reading when testing a house on a crawlspace. I tell my clients this and just confirm they want the test; otherwise, they can do a test after they move in and if the reading is high, just add more vents to the crawlspace.

    Darren www.aboutthehouseinspections.com
    'Whizzing & pasting & pooting through the day (Ronnie helping Kenny helping burn his poots away!) (FZ)

  40. #40
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    Default Re: radon testing location

    How many of you testers are members of AARST or NEHA-NRPP? They are always open to suggestions and have regular symposiums to discuss protocols and gather ideas from the field.

    If where to place the test device is such a close call, why not place two. One on each level? No rule against placing more than one.

    Beacon Inspection Services
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  41. #41
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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    The reading on the main level was .3pCi/L.

    The monitor is now in the cellar and the result will be out on Monday evening.

    Who thinks the cellar reading will prompt mitigation? Not me.

    I still think there needs to be a well defined standard on habitable space with regard to selecting a testing location. Without one, we have more gray paint to paint an already gray practice of short term radon testing.
    If it was only.3pCi/L, I bet it will be around 2.5pCi/L to 3pCi/L on the retest in the cellar.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  42. #42
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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Jerry,

    As Darren pointed out, any test done outside the EPA or in his case, State protocols is considered an invalid test, ie, for information only. Nobody says you are forbidden from testing these areas, only that they are not a valid test. Protocols are not minimum standards. They are THE standards that cannot be deviated from. If any of the protocols are not met it is considered an invalid test. Radon testing protocols are not like building codes or ASHI standards where you have to meet minimum requirements. Radon testing is a scientific test where strict protocols must be followed to have a valid test. For more information, here's a little light reading for you. http://www.epa.gov/radon/pdfs/homes_protocols.pdf

    Darren,

    I'm not from Illinois, but can only assume the test conducted for a crawlspace foundation would not be conducted in the crawlspace, but in the first livable area above it. So if a house had a partial basement, a crawlspace and a slab, three separate monitors need to be used. Maybe someone from Illinois will chime in to confirm this.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
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  43. #43
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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    If it was only.3pCi/L, I bet it will be around 2.5pCi/L to 3pCi/L on the retest in the cellar.
    Last year I did a test in north eastern Maryland. I ran a 1027 in the basement and another on the first floor at the same time. The results were 1.1 in the basement and 1.2 on the first floor. They say the outdoor levels average in that range.

    I'm betting the retest in the cellar in Baltimore City will be less than 2. The house is near the shipping port. Practically across the street from it.


  44. #44
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    Default Re: radon testing location

    In NC there is only one law for Radon. It is that a high Radon reading has to be reported on the real estate disclosure form. No license or certification is required. There are many doing Radon test who simply added the service on to their real estate inspections. I took and passed the CERTI course and learned a great deal. I also do mitigations and have a good following with the realtors. There are many who do mitagations for less than $1000.00. I nor anyone else who does a good mitagation with a good system can compete with that. I include on my invoice "WE repair cheaply installed radon systems". Realtors have started to see some of the cheap systems fail after 4 or 5 years and their buyers are complaining to them. I have repaired two in the last six months by replacing the fans.


  45. #45
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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Ken. Careful about giving the unknowing the wrong impression. The EPA protocols are not chiseled in stone. For example,they don't say the test device MUST be set at 20" above the floor. The protocols state AT LEAST 20".... hanging it down to 6' off the floor from an 8' ceiling would also work. The lowest livable level debate is another one open to interpretation.

    The building codes are not all chiseled in stone either but they are a lot more precise than the radon testing requirements at this stage of the game.

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  46. #46
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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    As Darren pointed out, any test done outside the EPA or in his case, State protocols is considered an invalid test, ie, for information only.
    Ken,

    You are mixing the term "valid" with "for use with a real estate contract negotiation and mitigation.

    It the test was a "supplemental" test, the doors and windows were closed the same as for the other tests, the testing device was placed at a proper height above floor, not moved or disturbed, or any of the other things which are part of the protocol - the test is a "valid" test.

    It may, OR MAY NOT, be used for negotiation or mitigation in the real estate contract.

    In NJ, they stated (as reported in the posts above) that radon SHALL NOT BE TESTED IN A KITCHEN, therefore a radon test in a kitchen is not valid as it is expressly PROHIBITED and is not allowed to even be considered a "supplemental" test.

    If the supplemental test is done to the protocols and not prohibited, the test is "valid". Whether or not the supplemental test is allowed to be used for negotiation or mitigation in a real estate sale contract if a totally different matter.

    Is the supplemental test for "information only" as you said? Could be, depending on if it was prohibited or not, but it would be a "valid" test according to the protocols if not prohibited.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  47. #47
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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Bob,

    Actually it's at least 30 inches off the floor now. The protocols listed are 17 years old and requirements have been changed. However, for certification they still use the material published in 1993.


    Jerry,

    I'm not grasping what you're trying to say at all I guess. The EPA has protocols in place for testing during a real estate transaction. Any test conducted that does not follow the EPA or State protocols would not be a valid test. Sure you could set up 20 monitors in a home and if the protocols were met with each test they would all be valid tests. But if one of them was not set to the protocols that would be a invalid test. We can throw out the word "supplemental" as it has no bearing.

    Speaking for the company I manage in MN, we don't get involved in the negotiation process. We run the tests and submit the reports. If the test is valid, it's noted on the report. If the test is invalid, it's noted on the report. In our case invalid tests don't come from our placements. They come from people tampering with the monitors, opening windows, etc.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
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  48. #48
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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    Bob, Actually it's at least 30 inches off the floor now.
    Ken. It seems you missed or ignored the point. The need to be "right" is a powerful thing for some.

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  49. #49
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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Bob,

    Apparently your interpretation of the EPA protocols and my interpretations are different. It has nothing to do with right and wrong, but what the printed protocols say.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
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  50. #50
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    Default Re: radon testing location

    In this language at the EPA site they mention the change from 20 to 30 inches off the floor that took place in 1989. They go on to reverse that decision and go back to 20 inches. Its in the third paragraph of the revisions.

    Indoor Radon and Radon Decay Product Measurement Device Protocols | Radon | US EPA

    In other news:
    I recovered the test in the cellar and the result was 1.3 pCi/L.


  51. #51
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    Default Re: radon testing location

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    In this language at the EPA site they mention the change from 20 to 30 inches off the floor that took place in 1989. They go on to reverse that decision and go back to 20 inches. Its in the third paragraph of the revisions.
    You are correct, it was changed back to 20+ inches. I stand corrected.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
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  52. #52
    Evan Grugett's Avatar
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    Default Re: radon testing location

    To answer John Dirks question a few posts back.

    "Is it legitimate to give the results with readings at 4 pCi/l or above to sellers and ask them to pay for mitigation?"

    My response is two fold:

    One is that our sole duty is to the client (unless an immediate hazard to health and safety is present). Any information gleaned from inspection is confidential to them. A Home Inspector may supply info to the other side of the transaction here only if the client agrees (some Inspectors want the release in writing). Many will refer an inquiry from the "other side" directly to the client for response.

    Secondly, even if you did supply the lab report to the seller, you are way out of line asking them to do anything as a result of the findings!? Let the contract negotiation process by the other parties continue with the lab report in hand. Home Inspection reports don't assign responsilbilty to any party for what they find. We don't care who fixes what we may find wrong. You are not negotiating the clients contract for sale, you simply provide technical info within the scope of the Home Inspection.

    EG


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