Change Ad Consent Radon / Air in Home | The Boneyard

Radon / Air in Home



Joined
May 1, 2014
Messages
4,352
Likes
6,921
We're under agreement on buying a new house. The Radon test came up at an average of 4.4 pCi/L which is above EPA levels of 4.0 pCi/L. Apparently the seller did not leave the windows closed during the test and the levels fluctuated between 0.5 and 15.7. We've asked for a re-test. There was a mitigation system installed in '13. Our realtor is downplaying it. Should we ask for a week long re-test? Anyone have experience with this type of thing? We have a 1 yo so we're concerned. Is this a deal breaker or no big deal?
 
Joined
Sep 22, 2011
Messages
53
Likes
95
We bought our house in 2006. There is a finished basement, with windows. When the radon test was done, it came back higher than the standard levels. So the sellers had to pay to have it remediated. I would 100% tell them it needs to be resolved before you buy the house...even though you'd have to be exposed to it for years and years to have any real effect on someone.
 
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
Messages
6,900
Likes
13,810
Pretty similar story to when we bought our house. Readings were slightly above the minimum acceptable level. We made the seller put in a radon reduction system then tested a few days after and it was a much lower reading. We test periodically and the readings have never been above the minimum so I guess the system is still working.

Should it be a concern? Sure. I would ask for a re-test and for someone to check the reduction system to make sure it's working. Does the house have a basement? Our higher reading was in the basement and the first floor reading was nothing.
 

Dove

Son of Wayne. Friend of Tony.
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
11,672
Likes
15,654
Do you have a realtor? They should be on the phone with the seller's agent and work this out.

The market is hot and if you really like this house then hopefully they will work this out with you.

Radon is in air and water. Not to be downplayed.
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
1,461
Likes
1,547
We're under agreement on buying a new house. The Radon test came up at an average of 4.4 pCi/L which is above EPA levels of 4.0 pCi/L. Apparently the seller did not leave the windows closed during the test and the levels fluctuated between 0.5 and 15.7. We've asked for a re-test. There was a mitigation system installed in '13. Our realtor is downplaying it. Should we ask for a week long re-test? Anyone have experience with this type of thing? We have a 1 yo so we're concerned. Is this a deal breaker or no big deal?
If there is a functional mitigation system In place and you are still getting high readings, you should be concerned, all else equal. Is there a basement or on slab?
 
Joined
Sep 18, 2011
Messages
3,073
Likes
4,286
We bought a house that failed the initial radon test. The radon remediation system was not on when the first test was done and the house passed the test after the system was turned on.

I would make sure the radon remediation system works properly before you close on the house. Have your realtor contact the owner's realtor to have the owner fix the system is you get radon readings that are too high.

One issue I had with your question. The windows need to be shut when a radon test is done as opening the windows will probably lead to a lower reading.
 
Joined
May 1, 2014
Messages
4,352
Likes
6,921
Thanks all for the input.

Pretty similar story to when we bought our house. Readings were slightly above the minimum acceptable level. We made the seller put in a radon reduction system then tested a few days after and it was a much lower reading. We test periodically and the readings have never been above the minimum so I guess the system is still working.

Should it be a concern? Sure. I would ask for a re-test and for someone to check the reduction system to make sure it's working. Does the house have a basement? Our higher reading was in the basement and the first floor reading was nothing.
Yes there is a basement. Supposedly the levels dissipate by 75% each floor but the readings were only taken in the basement. Its a finished basement where we plan to spend time.

If there is a functional mitigation system In place and you are still getting high readings, you should be concerned, all else equal. Is there a basement or on slab?
Agreed, that's why we're overly concerned because obviously there is a history of it and the mitigation system doesn't seem to be working. Yes there is a basement.

We bought a house that failed the initial radon test. The radon remediation system was not on when the first test was done and the house passed the test after the system was turned on.

I would make sure the radon remediation system works properly before you close on the house. Have your realtor contact the owner's realtor to have the owner fix the system is you get radon readings that are too high.

One issue I had with your question. The windows need to be shut when a radon test is done as opening the windows will probably lead to a lower reading.
Our realtor says that open windows acts like a vacuum and sucks the radon out of the mitigation system back into the house. You would think otherwise. Either way, it made the test go off like a seismograph. You can see the changes where the windows were opened and closed. We're waiting to talk to the inspector tomorrow to get his take. We feel like our realtor is pushing for the easy, quick sale and doesn't want it to go belly up.

We're asking that the current system be evaluated and then retested at the seller's cost. We're arguing that we don't want the original installer doing the evaluation and retest, but to have another party do it. We're pushing for a week long test to be done. After we speak with the inspector tomorrow, we'll have more clarity and put forth our demands.
 

CL82

The best thing about puppies is they become dogs!
Joined
Aug 24, 2011
Messages
37,785
Likes
63,384
Pretty similar story to when we bought our house. Readings were slightly above the minimum acceptable level. We made the seller put in a radon reduction system then tested a few days after and it was a much lower reading. We test periodically and the readings have never been above the minimum so I guess the system is still working.

Should it be a concern? Sure. I would ask for a re-test and for someone to check the reduction system to make sure it's working. Does the house have a basement? Our higher reading was in the basement and the first floor reading was nothing.
Maybe think about having the retest done by your vendor, with protocols to prevent manipulation of the sensors
 
Joined
Sep 18, 2011
Messages
3,073
Likes
4,286
Our realtor says that open windows acts like a vacuum and sucks the radon out of the mitigation system back into the house. You would think otherwise. Either way, it made the test go off like a seismograph. You can see the changes where the windows were opened and closed. We're waiting to talk to the inspector tomorrow to get his take. We feel like our realtor is pushing for the easy, quick sale and doesn't want it to go belly up.
Typically, the radon remediation system exhausts above your roofline so I'm not sure what your realtor is talking about. I just looked up our test and the windows were required to be closed for 12 hours before the test.

Finally, you want your own radon test performed by someone you hire not the seller.
 

Exit 4

This space for rent
Joined
Feb 3, 2012
Messages
8,279
Likes
12,443
I have a radon mitigation system. We installed it after our older home which we had just purchased tested above 4.0. The system worked fine for many years until we expanded the house (and the basement) at which time we had to install a second vacuum point on the other side of the house which cured the problem. A radon mitigation system tends to run $800 to $2k depending on how accessible your basement and walls are for the PVC piping. I wouldn't consider this situation a deal breaker at all unless there is something really unique about the architectural style of the house that would prohibit the installation of a second exhaust line.

For piece of mind I recommend buying this real time radon detector. Been using it for years, lets you know your system is working.
 

Poe

Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
166
Likes
170
If there is a mitigation system and it’s functional a retest would show the level below 4.0. Since the sellers screwed up by opening the windows I think it’s reasonable to ask that they pay for a retest since you payed for the first one. I don’t think it needs to be a week long test since there is a mitigation system.

In a normal/buyer’s market a seller would likely agree to pay for a retest/remediate, but in the current market sellers seem to be able to move on pretty easily to the next buyer.

If you really want this house, then factor in a cost of about $1500 for a new remediation system, probably less if the current one is fixable/upgradable, in case the seller balks at your request.
 

MTHusky

UCONN Grad class of 1970, living in Brookings OR
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
575
Likes
530
I haven't lived in CT for 30+ years so I might be wrong with this but most realtors represent the seller although some do act for the buyers behalf. I would demand a retest.
 

Poe

Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
166
Likes
170
I haven't lived in CT for 30+ years so I might be wrong with this but most realtors represent the seller although some do act for the buyers behalf. I would demand a retest.
Typically, there are two realtors involved in a transaction, one representing the seller and one representing the buyer. Ultimately, realtors want a deal to go through so they get paid. It’s the realtors’ jobs to negotiate to get the best deal for their client without letting the deal fall apart, which also means negotiating with their own clients. Whether it’s a buyers/sellers market likely determines who gives in more.
 

ColchVEGAS

Still buckin like five, deuce, four, trey.
Joined
Apr 13, 2018
Messages
223
Likes
379
Radon in a basement is not that uncommon. Other floors I would be a little more cautious.

It is a seller's market right now. Many houses are going above listing, easily. Get a retest done by somebody else and if the radon still comes back think about how much you need the house. If it really checks all the boxes ask for $3-5k back at closing or for them to remediate with a closing test done. Sure they can go to the next offer, but now that they are aware of the issue and will likely go through the same negotiations on the next offer. Again, if you really want this house you are actually in a pretty good position as radon is not too bad to fix.
 

Adesmar123

Can you say UConn? I knew you could!
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
1,573
Likes
1,744
Typically, there are two realtors involved in a transaction, one representing the seller and one representing the buyer. Ultimately, realtors want a deal to go through so they get paid. It’s the realtors’ jobs to negotiate to get the best deal for their client without letting the deal fall apart, which also means negotiating with their own clients. Whether it’s a buyers/sellers market likely determines who gives in more.
Unless you engage a buyer's agent, they both represent the seller.
 

MTHusky

UCONN Grad class of 1970, living in Brookings OR
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
575
Likes
530
Unless you engage a buyer's agent, they both represent the seller.
That's what I was trying to get across in my earlier post, abet poorly.
 

Edward Sargent

Sargelak
Joined
Aug 28, 2011
Messages
1,972
Likes
1,920
We're under agreement on buying a new house. The Radon test came up at an average of 4.4 pCi/L which is above EPA levels of 4.0 pCi/L. Apparently the seller did not leave the windows closed during the test and the levels fluctuated between 0.5 and 15.7. We've asked for a re-test. There was a mitigation system installed in '13. Our realtor is downplaying it. Should we ask for a week long re-test? Anyone have experience with this type of thing? We have a 1 yo so we're concerned. Is this a deal breaker or no big deal?
The sellers have to resolve this now otherwise you will be on the hook when you go to sell the house. Radon is a gas and as such dissipates quickly with adequate ventilation. It really wasn’t much of an issue until we started building tighter energy efficient homes. Opening windows during the test should improve the result by lowering levels however I think the test may be standardized to require windows be closed in order to optimize detection.
 

dennismenace

ONE MORE CAST
Joined
Apr 19, 2015
Messages
1,440
Likes
1,685
Typically, there are two realtors involved in a transaction, one representing the seller and one representing the buyer. Ultimately, realtors want a deal to go through so they get paid. It’s the realtors’ jobs to negotiate to get the best deal for their client without letting the deal fall apart, which also means negotiating with their own clients. Whether it’s a buyers/sellers market likely determines who gives in more.
Well said. In effect, most agents are primarily deal closers first and representatives to clients second to the extent that the law will permit them to circumvent their ethical responsibility. Very important to understand this when choosing an agent. The faster they close the deal the quicker and more (in a per hour basis) they get paid. Their interests are often directly opposed to yours. They want to close and move on to the next deal.
Ultimately you have to decide how much you will settle for either as a buyer or seller and for how long a period of time. The "buyer/sellers market" comment above is very germane as well.

I just noticed a 4+% increase in home sales price value (Zillow) in homes both in Danbury and Bristol. A number of people are moving out of New York and the interest rates for mortgages are low. Somewhat surprising increase with Covid 19 and high unemployment but demand is demand.
 
Joined
Apr 16, 2020
Messages
271
Likes
190
Well said. In effect, most agents are primarily deal closers first and representatives to clients second to the extent that the law will permit them to circumvent their ethical responsibility. Very important to understand this when choosing an agent. The faster they close the deal the quicker and more (in a per hour basis) they get paid. Their interests are often directly opposed to yours. They want to close and move on to the next deal.
Ultimately you have to decide how much you will settle for either as a buyer or seller and for how long a period of time. The "buyer/sellers market" comment above is very germane as well.

I just noticed a 4+% increase in home sales price value (Zillow) in homes both in Danbury and Bristol. A number of people are moving out of New York and the interest rates for mortgages are low. Somewhat surprising increase with Covid 19 and high unemployment but demand is demand.
Without thoroughly researching it, from what I have read, a large percentage are in higher income brackets with decent assets, or just higher income relative to what people earn elsewhere, or are young couples able to work at home digitally and have high combined earnings relative to the communities they are moving to.

Others can afford to buy in CT and keep their condo or co-op apartments, and wait out the pandemic, and return at some point.

For renters in NYC, though rents are decreasing now, what they pay in rent is more than enough to afford a home in places like Danbury or Bristol. The NY'ers moving to Westport, Wilton, Darien are in the ultra income brackets or have financial support from older family members.

The Covid 19 increase is driving them to seek a backyard and more open spaces, and not having to be in a crowded city park. Those unemployed have fewer options, especially those in the restaurant and hospitality fields.

Some are moving to the Catskills into areas that are somewhat depressed , but affordable. Those areas known then as the Borscht Belt lost economically over the years when the resorts closed down.

Certainly, those in lower income brackets have limited options, other than to move in with relatives in other areas. This too is happening.

Just my take.
 

pj

Joined
Mar 30, 2012
Messages
7,978
Likes
10,710
Radon is easily mitigated. It is generated in the ground by radioactive decay, then diffuses through the ground driven by differences in air pressure. Radon is a heavy gas so once in a uniform pressure environment, it tends to fall -- that's why in a house it collects in the basement, where it is highest near the floor. It is pulled into the house by air pressure differences. Houses are generally warmer than the environment so, like a hot air balloon, they generally have lower pressure and suck in radon from the ground. Normally, an air conditioned house in the summer will have low radon, a heated house in the winter will have high radon.

Radon mitigation is basically putting a pipe between your basement and the outside air, so that pressure equalizes. If the house is low pressure compared to outside, the basement can suck in radon from an area of several acres. If the house is equal in air pressure to outside, it sucks in radon from a footprint equal to the footprint of the home. This will typically reduce radon levels by >90%.

A pipe and a drill to make the hole it fits through can be had for a few dollars at your local hardware store. The expensive "mitigation systems" are pipes that prevent bugs and rain water from coming in.

I guess the concern in your case is that if radon level is high in summer, it may be very high in winter; and the place has a mitigation system already which suggests the mitigation system isn't working.

It is odd that opening windows led to higher radon -- that suggests you had the counter well above the floor and the air circulation was pulling radon pooled near the floor up to the level of the counter. That's poor measurement practice, and the numbers they got may be unreliable.

But, I wouldn't be overly concerned about the home -- you can fix the radon problem easily. It's more a matter of who bears the cost of replacing or fixing a non-functioning mitigation system.

If it were me, I'd try to avoid inflicting hassle on the seller, and instead try to knock something off the price. If you can use this issue to reduce the price by $5k, you're way ahead because you can fix it yourself for $1k or less. I would get in the home cheaply, check the mitigation system for obvious clogs, then wait for winter and re-do the radon test correctly to see if the mitigation system is working. Then fix or replace it if needed.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 13, 2013
Messages
5,588
Likes
2,236
Housing in North Carolina is on the upswing in price...

The virus has shown that many jobs can be done by telecommuting and some are not ever going back to the office setting. Folks that are freed from the offices in cities like Atlanta are escaping the traffic, the congestion of urban life.

We have radon here in the mountains...we never knew about it when we bought our cabin seven years ago...no realtors mentioned it...we are right at 4.0 with no mitigation. Now, people know..everybody tests...and mitigation companies are at work...
 

Top