Since Ken is looking to play one up :) I have been at inspections that the inspector has an machine that tests within an hour with a printed report. Not too many people have these and the inspector charged much more for this ( I guess he had to pay for the machine) and offered both tests.
How about this, The MOST COMMON test is the canister that is left behind in the house for a measured period of time, retrieved, sealed and sent to a lab for results.
There are not many options on how to have the testing done and I would dare say, from my expereince in Real Estate and being at home inspections 99.9% of all I have seen, the radon test has been the canister form of test with the results being questioned 2x ( two times).
In short ,many procedures and atleast a couple of testing methods.
It is totally up to you to do the test, it usually is about $90 added onto the inspection bill. I recomend that the client do it, especially in certain areas that I know have had high readings. The test is a "mail -in" test for the inspector, where he/she leaves behind a small canister of air collecting material (charcoal) which is left in the basement for a measured period of time, sealed and sent to a lab for results.
While we do not often find Radon in the shore towns of Monmouth County, it has been detected in some local homes. Better to find out ahead of time and have the seller remediate (which isn't very difficult) than find out afterwards and you have to pay for it.
Local inspectors are qualified to perform the test and if you need the name of a good local company, try Eastern Home Inspections. They are excellent.
I always recommend that my clients perform a radon test but it is usually an option with the home inspection companies. Most home inspectors use a canister radon test and yes they are qualified to put the canister in the home and collect the canister when the test is complete. The canister is then sent to a certified lab for the results.
Good Luck with your home search.
This is from the NJ Website:
SELECTING & ARRANGING FOR TESTS
Homeowners can test for radon themselves or hire a New Jersey certified radon measurement company to perform the testing. Some certified radon measurement companies sell test kits, and test kits are often available in hardware stores or from local health departments. A list of certified companies, including companies that can mail you a "do-it-yourself" test, is available through the NJDEP Radon Program’s Information Line, (800)648-0394, or web site, http://www.njradon.org.
If you buy your test from a retail store, make sure that the kit is labeled with the New Jersey certification number of the company that produced the test kit (the number will begin with "MEB9’" followed by 4 digits), or you can call the Information Line to confirm that the company is certified. If you hire a contractor to do the test, make sure the technician who places and picks up the test device is certified by the State, by checking their NJDEP certificate or calling the Radon Information Line. It is against the law to do radon testing or mitigation without certification in New Jersey.
The measurement technician, is the company that receives the canister.. so the statement below is twist of words.
The good that comes from these posts is that we get to notice that some home inspectors get very over dramatic about their business, they feel empowered by overwhelming a petrified home buyer with their vast knowledge of homes and the “potential” of damage and “possible” failure of items. Kind of like, Visualize this.. home inspector walks in.. Takes a deep breath, and states.. well folks, I saw a mosquito in the bedroom, (sighs) well, it may be a sign that possibly, water has gotten into the floor boards near the shower, where there may possibly be a colony of about 90,000 mosquitoes. But don’t be alarmed, be glad that I caught the possible nest. A treatment can take care of it.. feels proud of himself and now moves on to the kitchen (exit, stage left).
If used, will a home owner be arrested by the radon police? Will they be fined? Jail time?
That is a funny one.. ( but of course in a serious vein )
Hey, what you in for? Bank Robbery, You? Radon canister.....
I never thought about it too much, but I am guessing that the licensed home inspectors/engineers that I recomend to my clients are qualified to handle such duties since they offer it and I will be sure to inquire about it.
Kenneth is on the mark there. The cannister tests are always easy to affect the results of and have been done before. The continuous monitoring systems are generally a more expensive test but as Kenneth points out they are much harder to influence by a homeowner. If the CMS equipment is kept properly maintained and calibrated (when necessary) the results are more reliable.
If you would like to read more on Radon and Radon testing (including methods) the EPA site is very good http://www.epa.gov/radon/. There are many sources that can explain also how CMS systems are superior to canister systems.
Good luck on the home purchase!
Emmanuel J. Scanlan
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Knowledge is power, but sharing knowledge brings peace!!
A homeowner may perform their own test with a store bought kit and send it to the lab to get the results. However, this is NOT effective for a real estate transaction (unless the buyer wants to accept the seller's test which is unlikely). Only a state certified Radon Measurement Technician or Specialst may pace or retrieve a test. A home inspection license is not acceptable nor can the seller/owner retrieve this cannister.
The 1 hour test that John described does exist, but is NOT permitted in the state.
There is truth to the fact that any test can be tampered with, but the penalties are very high. When in doubt, another test can be performed after closing and if the results are dramatically different...
Most home inspectors (or at least the good ones) are certified by the state and work with a quality lab. The largest lab by far in the state is Radiation Data in Skillman. Feel free to call them and ask for advise. I have found them to be very helpfull and knowledgable.
Feel free to contact me for more information. When part of a home inspection, I only charge $50 for a radon test as I'd rather my clients have the information than save a few dollars.
Mid Jersey Inspections
NJ Home Inspector Lic. #076900
If an agent moved a cannister or in some way tried to manipulate the results, as a fellow professional a $750 fine seems pretty light. (Personally I believe it grounds for permanent loss of license)
This makes better sense to me, because proper placement, and environmental controls are imperative to accurate results.
The Radon Testing professional cannot control the opening of doors to the house, and operation of ventilations systems which will affect the outcome of the test.
Get a Radon Test done before buying the house, but follow it up with a professional Radon Test after you have control of the home which must be kept closed up simulating winter conditions.
Check out the http://nj-radon.info/NJ_counties.html web site.
Peter W. Bennett, Owner
Residential, Commercial Inspections
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