Will any contractor do? EPA recommends that you use a state certified and/or qualified radon mitigation contractor trained to fix radon problems. You can determine a service provider's qualifications to perform radon measurements or to mitigate your home in several ways. First, check with your state radon office. Many states require radon professionals to be licensed, certified, or registered, and to install radon mitigation systems that meet state requirements. Most states can provide you with a list of knowledgeable radon service providers doing business in the state. In states that don't regulate radon services, ask the contractor if they hold a professional proficiency or certification credential, and if they follow industry consensus standards such as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standard Practice for Installing Radon Mitigation Systems in Existing Low-Rise Residential Buildings, E2121 (March 2001), or the U.S. EPA's Radon Mitigation Standards (EPA 402-R-93-078, revised April 1994). You can contact private proficiency programs for lists of privately-certified professionals in your area. Such programs usually provide members with a photo-ID, which indicates their qualification(s) and the ID-card's expiration date.
How to select a contractor - get estimates Choose a contractor to fix a radon problem just as you would choose someone to do other home repairs. It is wise to get more than one estimate, to ask for references, and to contact some of those references to ask if they are satisfied with the contractors' work. Also, ask your state radon office or your county/state consumer protection office for information about the contractors.
Use this check-list when evaluating and comparing contractors and ask the following questions:
Will the contractor provide references or photographs, as well as test results of 'before' and 'after' radon levels of past radon reduction work?
Can the contractor explain what the work will involve, how long it will take to complete, and exactly how the radon reduction system will work?
Does the contractor charge a fee for any diagnostic tests? Although many contractors give free estimates, they may charge for diagnostic tests. These tests help determine what type of radon reduction system should be used and in some cases are necessary, especially if the contractor is unfamiliar with the type of house structure or the anticipated degree of difficulty.
Did the contractor inspect your home's structure before giving you an estimate?
Did the contractor review the quality of your radon measurement results and determine if appropriate testing procedures were followed?
Compare the contractors' proposed costs and consider what you will get for your money, taking into account: (1) a less expensive system may cost more to operate and maintain; (2) a less expensive system may have less aesthetic appeal; (3) a more expensive system may be best for your house; and, (4) the quality of the building material will affect how long the system lasts.
Do the contractors' proposals and estimates include:
Proof of state certification and/or professional proficiency or certification credentials?
Proof of liability insurance and being bonded, and having all necessary licenses to satisfy local requirements?
Diagnostic testing prior to design and installation of a radon reduction system?
Installation of a warning device to caution you if the radon reduction system is not working correctly?
Testing after installation to make sure the radon reduction system works well?
A guarantee to reduce radon levels to 4 pCi/L or below, and if so, for how long?