New MN Radon Law Effective Jan. 1 2014

Sellers must declare the results of any radon test to potential buyers beginning January 1, 2014.

This new MN Radon law is quite wordy, but can be essentially distilled down to just two issues:

  1. Testing by the seller is not mandatory.
  2. The event of a radon test having been performed, the result must be made available to potential buyers before the sale is closed.

Buyer’s agents will obviously be recommending to their clients that they request a radon test from the seller. Selling agents should get ahead of this by recommending to the client that they have a radon test performed and any needed mitigation carried out before the house comes onto the market.

Testing is not expensive and should be carried out by a reliable professional.

Many quality home inspectors offer this service. In the event that mitigation is required, care must be taken to find a reputable mitigation professional. Mitigation is usually quite inexpensive and can be as simple as balancing the ventilation of the house. This can be done by installing an outside air inlet duct balanced by a continuously operating exhaust fan. A bathroom fan would be a good example. Balanced ventilation overcomes negative pressure, which draws radon into the home through the foundation wall or floor. Balancing ventilation can create a real bonus because moisture is often drawn into the house through negative pressure and that moisture creates an ideal atmosphere for mold growth. So by simply balancing the ventilation in a house: you may often have three benefits. Radon intrusion will be overcome, moisture will be reduced, and mold will be prevented.

Very often, after the ventilation of the house has been balanced, simply applying a coat of a radon resistant material to the floors and walls of the basement will resolve the radon issue. More expensive mitigation may be necessary, requiring the installation of either a passive or mechanical radon ventilation system. However, the cost of mitigation should not exceed one to two thousand dollars; even when the mechanical system is installed. In the case of balanced ventilation the cost may be as little as a few hundred dollars.

Be proactive: make certain that a radon test is done on every sale and use a qualified home inspector to ensure a professional result.

Doug Hastings
MN Home Inspector, Minneapolis & St. Paul
ASHI certified inspector, ACI
Kaplan University, Home Inspection Lead Instructor

Rob ‘Pops’ Leslie
Kaplan Professionals, Retired

4 Top Tips to Keep You & Your Home Safe for the Holidays

What is the #1 cause of house fire?

The answer is electrical wiring. During the holiday season wiring to Christmas lights and trees are particularly dangerous. Some tips to keep you safe are:

  1. Carefully inspect light strings each year and discard any with frayed cords, cracked lamp holders, or loose connections.
  2. When replacing bulbs unplug the light string and match voltage and wattage to the original bulb.
  3. For exterior lights use only those rated for exterior use.
  4. Both interior and exterior lights should have an Underwriters’ Laboratory label.
  5. When connecting multiple strings of lights check how many can be safely strung together according to the manufacturers specifications or UL listing.
  6. When hanging outdoors lights keep electrical connectors off the ground and away from metal gutters and overhangs.
  7. Never connect more than one extension cord together. Don’t use extension cords that are too long. Never install an extension cord under a rug or near a heat source.
  8. Make sure each outlet you plug into is not overloaded.
  9. Always turn off lights when you leave the house or going to bed.

What is the #2 fire hazard?

Over 40% of all home fires are caused by defective heating equipment. If you haven’t already, you should schedule a tune up and safety check of the water heater, furnace or boiler before Christmas. Be sure the heat exchanger, the vent and flue are inspected. These are the primary causes of fire or CO poisoning.

Don’t forget to inspect both gas and wood burning fireplaces for condition and safe operation. Use a screen or glass door and never leave any fireplace unattended. Don’t burn gift wrappings, tissue, or evergreens in the fireplace.

#3 Keep your Christmas tree away from the fireplace, keep water in the base, and turn off the lights when you leave the home unattended.

#4 Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Enjoy this very special season!

Doug Hastings
MN Home Inspector, Minneapolis & St. Paul
ASHI certified inspector, ACI
Kaplan University, Home Inspection Lead Instructor

Rob ‘Pops’ Leslie
Kaplan Professionals, Retired