1. Wasted money on a  poor installation.Make sure that the company you hire to perform Radon work is on the National Certified list (NEHA / NRSB) or Wisconsin’s state contractors list which publishes the certified NEHA and NRSB list. Ask to see proof. Don’t just take their word for it. Individuals who are certified for Radon mitigation have gone to school and passed written tests to become certified. Continuing education credits are required in order for the individual to remain certified. Because of this, they stay up-to-date with NEHA’s standards and goals. We’ve seen many systems installed by non-certified people. Unfortunately, the customer has to pay an additional fee in many cases to get the system up to NEHA’s standards. The first system was less expensive, but because it wasn’t up to EPA standards it ended up costing more in the long run. Not to mention that the improperly installed system may have also been a serious health risk. The photo on the right shows an example of this. This ineffective installation by a professional who wasn’t certified for radon mitigation wasted $300 of the homeowner’s money, and had NO effect on radon levels.
  2. Fire collar installed.Check to see if the contractor has included fire collars in the bid if the system is being routed through the garage. When a pipe that is two-inches or larger penetrates a firewall (the wall connecting the garage and home or if there is a ceiling in your garage) it needs to have metal fire collars placed on the pipe at the penetration. By doing this, you ensure that a fire could not spread to the home through the opening. Fire caulk can be used on pipes smaller than two-inches. But most systems use three or four-inch PVC pipe. These sizes require a metal fire collar like the one you see on the right. It could potentially save your home and your life. Do not hire a company that is willing to put your home and family in danger by not installing fire collars.
  3. Ask the contractor to provide a copy of their Liability and Workers Compensation insurance certificate.  Someone might have liability insurance, but not workers comp or completed works insurance. If they don’t have workers comp, you as the consumer take a great financial risk should anyone you hire gets injured on your property. It is not a law that the owner of a sole-proprietorship has to have workers comp on themselves, but only on the employees. But if that owner doesn’t, then how are they protecting themselves? Let’s say they install Radon systems part time. They have health insurance from their job. Well, if they get hurt working at their own business the health insurance from their regular job may not cover their costs.  Sure, its expensive to have workers comp on yourself. But why take the chance? Signing a waiver wouldn’t stand up in court.   If the owner & company has workers comp, then you are protected from any unfortunate mishaps. If the company does not have completed works insurance then there is no coverage on their system when they leave your home. So if their system or work somehow causes damage to your home after they leave they may not be able to afford to pay for the damage. By having the proper insurance, the company is keeping you the consumer in mind by protecting your liabilities. Do not hire a company that cannot provide proof that they are covered by proper insurance.
  4. Make sure that the company you hire gives a guarantee on the system and fan in the contract.  If you hire someone to mitigate your home of Radon it will cost hundreds of dollars. Would you pay someone $600 to fix your brakes with no guarantee that you can stop when you come to an intersection with a red light? We have had to go back a few times to a few houses to get Radon levels lowered to the levels we guarantee, and did not charge extra for those trips. We even had a home that could not be lowered below 4 pCi/L at first. We installed a second system and did not charge for the labor or materials. We lowered it from 20 pCi/L to 6 pCi/L, then down to 0.8 on a long term test. The bottom line is we stood behind our guarantee. Why hire a company, no matter what they do, without a written guarantee? Protect yourself and your investment.
  5. Ask for references and addresses where you can check on the quality of the work yourself. If a system is installed in the garage there might not be much to see. But if your system will be outside than you could drive by a home to see what to expect.
  6. Make sure the contractor is working with a licensed Electrician. It is illegal in the state of WI to install electrical work for hire without proper credentials.  If electrical work is done, and the person is not licensed, the work may not be covered by the liability insurance coverage. The city of Appleton requires a permit to do the electrical work within the city limits. Most other cities do not require a permit for a simple outlet, but they reserve the right to inspect the work.
  7. The bottom line is buyer beware. Make sure the company has your best interest in mind. If something would go wrong or break you would want to be able to call to have them fix it. Radon Specialists is my business, and it provides a living for my family. With all that on the line, you can be sure that I will do everything possible to satisfy the customer.
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