Go With What You Know

Approximately 90% of all structural building failures are caused by moisture. With the exception of the homeowner, moisture is the #1 enemy of the house. Unfortunately, moisture damage typically occurs in concealed spaces. This makes it difficult for most home inspectors to identify.

Good inspectors know there are 3 major elements that impact the risk of moisture intrusion.

  1. The more complex the design of the home the higher the risk.
  2. Poor drainage of water on or around the house increases the danger.
  3. Missing or improper flashing details can be a disaster.

Based upon the analysis of these 3 principles, an experienced inspector will determine whether the probability of concealed moisture damage is low, medium, or high. Regardless of what other ‘experts’ may say, home inspectors are required to communicate these observations to our client and make the appropriate recommendation.

Let me give you an example. Within the last year I inspected an Italian Renaissance home with an elaborate and complicated building design. This building included numerous room projections from the main structure, a 3rd level tower, and a traditional stucco exterior finish.

A flat roof deck was incorporated within the main hip roof structure that included a large skylight and an internal drainage system.

Flat Roof Deck & Skylight
Internal Roof Drain

The perimeter of all windows, doors, band boards, and corners had ‘bump out’ projections without any flashing. Doors onto the flat roofs were level with the deck and had no room for threshold flashing. The stucco was extended below grade without any drip screed flashing. And the roof did not include kickout flashing.

Bump Outs With No Flashing
No Kickout Flashing

Seemed like a no brainer…complex house design, poor roof drainage, and missing flashing details made this high risk. However, the home had been previously moisture tested by a very reputable contractor. The infra-red imaging and meter probing results were all negative. The ‘expert’ concluded no to low probability of moisture intrusion.

Should a professional home inspector change their conclusion and recommendation? Absolutely not, go with what you know. In this example my clients relied upon the moisture testing, moved into the home and quickly discovered the exterior wall structure was rotted out, the house was unsafe to live in and would require over a half a million dollars to fix.

Always remember…STAY WITH WHAT YOU KNOW…an inspector is paid for their opinion not someone else’s.

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

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Radon Testing Protocols

Does your radon tester follow the EPA guidelines?

In a real estate transaction most radon tests are performed by the home inspector. There is nothing wrong with that, but there is the assumption that they are doing it ‘right’. This may or may not be true. The proper testing protocol you should expect is the following:

  • Homeowner contacted to discuss the test and EPA rules.
  • The house closed up, doors and windows shut, a minimum of 24 hours before test.
  • Set the monitor at the lowest potential habitable level of the home.
    •    Approximately 3’ to 6’ off the floor.
    •    Centrally located and not on outside walls.
    •    3’ from a furnace supply or return air register.
    •    6’ from a fireplace.
  • A notice describing the do’s and don’ts left on the kitchen counter.
  • A notice at all entry doors reminding people to keep the doors closed.
  • Short term tests should be between 48 and 72 hours long.

EPA guidelines are not regulated by the state of MN.

Unless you are certain about who is doing your radon test, you should ask for a copy of their certification and a document verifying the monitor has been calibrated within the last year. An electronic tamper-proof monitor is the best way to assure accurate test results.

A faulty test puts the home’s occupants at high risk.

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

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Controlling Radon Gas

In Existing Homes:

After testing for radon and if the level exceeds 4.0 picocuries, the next step is to begin mitigation. You should look for a ‘certified mitigation contractor’. They will have completed the EPA required training and testing. In a nutshell mitigation for an existing home includes the following:

  • Cover all exposed earth with a 6 mil poly and seal all edges.
  • Caulk all cracks and openings in the floor slab.
  • Put a 3” pipe in the earth, thru the floor slab, or in a sump.
  • Install the pipe inside or outside the house.
  • Extend the pipe a 12” above the surface of the roof.
  • Pipe must terminate minimum of 10’ from a window
  •  Pipe must terminate 10’ from another home.
  • Re-test and verify a level of 4.0 picocuries or less.

In New MN Homes:

There is no preliminary testing. The state requires either a passive or active system that consists of the following construction requirements:

Below the floor slab a minimum of 4” of gas –permeable aggregate or sand.

  • Cover the sand or aggregate with a minimum 6 mil poly overlapped a minimum of 12”.
  • All penetrations thru or joints in the slab must be caulked.
  • Hollow core blocks must have at finished grade a solid course of blocks.
  • Exterior walls of foundation must be dampproofed below grade.
  • Ducts below the slab must be continuous or sealed.
  • A plumbing tee inserted below the floor slab and poly.
  • A minimum 3” pipe extended thru the building and marked as radon pipe.
  • Pipe must terminate 12” above the roof and a minimum of 10’ from a window or another house.
  • A fan (active) is optional.  No fan (passive) or radon testing is required.

Radon gas is real…this hazard should be taken seriously.

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

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No More Debate…Radon Kills

Radon mitigation is part of the MN State Building Code. 

What does it mean when the MN State Building Code is modified to include radon mitigation methods as a requirement to build a house? Building codes are ‘minimum’ safety standards for construction. This says a lot about how dangerous radon gas is. It is no longer a scientific theory, it is a reality. Most of MN is designated as having radon amount levels greater than the EPA standard 4.0 picocuries. And did you know the EPA standard may soon be lowered to 2.0 picocuries.

Radon disclosure is part of the MN Real Estate Disclosure Statement.

There is misinformation about how radon gas travels. Too many people think that if their neighbor has a low radon level in their home it means they must too. It doesn’t work that way. Radon concentrations are a combination of soil decay, construction methods and materials used in building each home, and the occupant’s use of the house. Together these factors contribute to elevated radon levels. For these reasons and more, MN now requires disclosure of any radon testing that has occurred in a home being offered for sale. Unfortunately, there are no rules regulating radon testers; that part is still buyer beware.

Radon testing is not regulated in the state of MN. 

Make sure your test is performed by a nationally ‘certified’ technician using the highest quality, calibrated, and tamper-proof electronic monitor.

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

Radon Gas is a Proven Danger

January is National Radon Awareness Month.

Radon gas and real estate don’t mix well. The more energy efficient we make our houses the greater the risk of developing radon induced lung cancer. The radon gas health concern is no longer debatable; it is the #1 cause of lung cancer for non-smokers and the #2 cause for smokers. MN homeowners, real estate agents, builders, and home inspectors should do all they can to identify, assess, and resolve this ever present threat to our families.

Most people know that radon gas is a colorless, odorless gas that occurs naturally in the decay of soil below all houses throughout the U.S. What most people don’t know is the southern and central portion of MN is designated by the national building code as Zone 1 having the highest potential for elevated radon levels in the basement, main and upper levels of our homes. Because our senses are not aware of its presence, this danger has long been overlooked and ignored.

Times have changed.

Some have argued the rapid increase in radon awareness is attributable to the “me” generations X and Y concern for themselves and their children. Maybe so, but there is a huge increase in ‘boomers and grey’s’ having their homes tested too. A possible reason could be their concern for children and grandchildren. Or maybe everyone just wants to live a longer and healthier life. For little money and inconvenience everyone can have their homes tested for radon. It takes only 2 days and all you have to do is keep your windows closed. That’s why January through March, the heating season, is the best months to perform a test.

It might be time to have your home tested!

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


Wet Where and Wet When

What Makes My Window Panes Wet?

Problem:  The window is wet on the room side of the glass for a few weeks in fall.

Solution:   Moisture has accumulated, over summer, in the structure of the house from cooking, showering, and even the family breathing. This can be overcome by having fans exhausting to the outside in the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry.

Problem:  The window is wet or has frost on the room side of the glass in the winter.

Step 1:  Keep window drapes up 2-3” above the window sill to allow for air circulation.

Step 2:  Install bath and kitchen exhaust fans that vent directly to the outside of the home.  Turn on the fan when room is in use.

Step 3:  Put timer switches on all exhaust fans; keep the fan running for a half hour after the user leaves the room.

Step 4:  Install a continuous rated exhaust fan in the highest level hallway or bath.  This fan should be variable speed from 30 to 110 cubic feet per minute (CFM).  Be sure there is an outside air supply into the furnace room in the basement.  Leave fan running 24/7.

Solution:  Take this slowly, one step at a time.  You may not need to do all 4 steps.

Problem: The window glass is wet or fogged in between 2 glass panes all year round, but most noticeable in the winter.


Insulated glass:  The air seal is leaking and glass must be replaced.

Storm windows:  Glass putty must be in place and sealed tight to wood sash.  Wood sash must be sealed tight to the window frame.

All humidity problems are fixable.  Winter relative humidity levels are typically 30 to 40%.  On super cold days you may need to reduce the humidity to 25%.

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

‘Pops’ Rob Leslie
Kaplan Professionals, Retired


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My Ice Dams Are Really Bad

Icicles indicate the formation of ice dams. What do ice dams indicate?

Icicles form where water is dripping from the roof when snow is melting and the air temperature is less than freezing. Older houses are most prone to ice damming and large icicle formation. Recent building and energy codes addressed this problem and provided solutions. Assuming homes built in last 40 years are properly constructed, they have little to no problem with icicles. This is because the heat loss through the ceiling is small and warm house air does not reach the roof. Current roof ventilation design and adequate ceiling insulation will not allow snow to melt and refreeze as it crosses the cold overhang of the roof. This refreeze forms the ice wall that causes water backup under the roof shingles. This is also how the interior ceiling, wall, wood structure and insulation become water damaged.

Remember mold forms in building materials that remain wet longer than 48 hours. 

Today, what can be done about a problem that is knocking on the door? The only answer is to have the ice dam professionally removed by an insured contractor. However, the long term solutions is to have an expert assess attic insulation and ventilation levels, examine for proper roof flashing and shingle underlayment, determine if poor roof design necessitates using heat cables.

Converting roofs to meet a standard that will prevent ice dams is not difficult, but it can be costly. 

Begin the solution to your ice dam problem with an unbiased home inspector analysis. Or ‘Like Us’ on Facebook for more day to day information.

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

Rob ‘Pops’ Leslie
Kaplan Professionals, Retired

Is Your Life Worth $25?

This very cold winter has been responsible for many accidents, including deaths from CO (carbon monoxide) poisoning. 

These disasters might have been averted if a properly located and operating carbon monoxide alarm had been installed. For just $25 a battery-operated or for $50 a hardwired alarm can be purchased and installed.

What is CO?  Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that is tasteless, odorless, invisible, and none irritating gas. It also weighs approximately the same per cubic foot as the air in your house. If it is going to poison you, you won’t know anything about it!

What causes CO?  CO is a product of incomplete combustion due to an insufficient oxygen supply. This can occur by not supplying a fossil fuel burning appliance with enough air. Your furnace, water heater, fireplace, automobile either needs to be located in a wide open space or have an outside air supply. There are formulas for how big an open space is needed, but by installing an outside air supply you are assured of having sufficient air for complete combustion. Or carbon monoxide occurs when fossil fuel appliance burners are incorrectly tuned or when the burner exhaust system is blocked or leaking. In other words you are re-burning the original exhaust products. A safe appliance produces carbon dioxide (CO2). Only when there is not enough oxygen in the air or when you re-burn oxygen from the CO2 does the appliance become a CO producer.

All homes should have a CO detector within 10’ of all bedrooms.

What is the action level?  Obviously you would like to have zero CO in your house. But that may not be possible; you should expect a level of less than 15 ppm in your home. Exposures at 100 ppm (parts per million) or greater can be dangerous to human health. At this level the symptom would be a slight headache in 2-3 hours of exposure. People who survive CO poisoning and complain of low to severe headaches and nausea are lucky. They just got a relatively low dose of this insidious poisoning. Elevated levels of CO will simply kill you before you know anything about it.

All systems that burn fossil fuels… Oil, Gas, Wood… should be examined and tuned by an expert annually.

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

Rob ‘Pops’ Leslie
Kaplan Professionals, Retired


6 Easy Steps To Reduce Radon

EPA does not recommend sub slab suction as the only way of reducing radon levels in your home.

In a real estate transaction there is limited time to test and mitigate radon concerns. Time is of the essence and contractual agreements must be completed. So typically when radon levels exceed the EPA guideline of 4.0 picocuries, buyers will demand a sub slab suction pipe and fan be installed in the home. This is an approved and proven method of reducing radon levels, but it is also the most expensive.

Radon gets into our homes when there are cracks and openings in the below grade foundation and floor slab or when the outside air pressure exceeds the interior building pressure. Understanding this opens up a savvy Realtor or homeowner to alternative, less costly, methods of mitigating high radon concentrations.

Try these before spending a lot of money:

Step 1. Get out a caulking gun; caulk all cracks in the floor and walls. Pay particular attention to the connections between the floor and walls, beam posts, sump basket, plumbing pipes and drains.

Step 2. Get on a ladder; make sure the top of the foundation walls do not have any cracks or open cores.

Step 3. If you have a sump basket, seal the cover shut and caulk the edges.

Step 4. Make sure there is no exposed dirt in the basement or crawl space. If so, those areas would need to be covered with 6 mil poly and the seams taped.

Step 5. Open furnace supply air registers in the basement and close off the returns. Turn the fan switch on your thermostat from auto to on. This continually circulating air will pressurize the basement.

Step 6. Re-test

This may be a good reason to have your home tested for radon before you put it on the market. It may save you some aggravation and money!

For more about Radon and other hot topics ‘Like’ us on Facebook!

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

Rob ‘Pops’ Leslie
Kaplan Professionals, Retired

Does Your House Breath?

I never had frost buildup on my windows before!

Like many houses my 1974 rambler was in need of attention.  For the past 5 years my justification for postponing the needed exterior maintenance was the bad economy.  I felt investing a large sum of money in the house was not wise.  Some of you may agree with this and some will not.  Regardless, at the insistence of my wife, last summer became the year of THE HOME IMPROVEMENT.  We contracted for new roof, windows, doors, siding, soffits and fascia.  Keep in mind to meet new state building and energy code requirements housewrap, window and door flashing, caulking, weather-stripping, and low E glass need to meet a very high standard of insulation and heat loss.  This old leaky house no longer leaked.  It is warm and comfortable inside, but this lack of breathability resulted in very large frost buildups on all of our windows and doors as soon as the weather changed.  Any home inspector would quickly recognize this as a problem that needed to be resolved now.  By ignoring this very obvious moisture sign, which many homeowners do, the next concern is going to be mold.  (http://bit.ly/19ut8aA)

I never had radon before!

But…it didn’t stop there.  As a MN home inspector radon testing is a big part of our business operation.   I had tested the basement previously and my radon concentration was at the minimum EPA standard of 4.0 picocuries.  Upon re-testing after the exterior remodeling was completed, my radon level is 3 times higher.  What is the lesson to be learned from these 2 events? (http://bit.ly/1huOoxd)

Houses work as a system.  By changing the exterior envelope of a home it will have a huge impact on how the interior functions.  What was never a problem yesterday may be a major problem today. 

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

Rob ‘Pops’ Leslie
Kaplan Professionals, Retired

What Is Ventilation?

Ventilation is not just air blowing in through an open window and it certainly isn’t the bathroom fan turned on to get rid of a bad smell. 

In a previous blog, I stated that many older houses are now much tighter than the owners believe. Remodeling, changing surfaces and even a coat of paint can do a lot towards tightening the house and reducing its ability to breath. You should, if you own a house that has new siding, exterior windows or doors installed, be concerned that there is an inadequate amount of ventilation. High humidity levels can cause all sorts of visible and concealed moisture damage to a home. Some clues are frost buildup on windows, ice dams, mold and wood decay.

Ventilation, broadly, is an equal exchange of stale air being continually exhausted from the house shell while being replaced by clean atmospheric air at code specified rates.

There are two general methods of ventilation:

  • The first is balanced ventilation. This requires design by an expert in the field. In balanced ventilation two fans of equal volume will be installed. One will suck air into the housing shell from outside and the other will blow stale air from inside the shell to the outside. Often the two air streams pass, side-by-side, through a heat sink material so that the heat being exhausted from the house may be captured and returned in the incoming air. Systems that employ this kind of heat exchange are usually about 70% efficient.
  • The other method is unbalanced ventilation. Unbalanced ventilation can be a fan sucking air into the house from outside and exhausting, by the pressure created, through an existing vent. Or, more typically, it would be just the opposite. Outside air would come in to the house through a lowering of pressure caused by an existing exhaust fan operating in the home. This method is not nearly as efficient as balanced ventilation but it will do the job.

The easiest and most economical way to ventilate your home is unbalanced ventilation. This is something that you can do yourself at a cost of a few hundred dollars. Some homes may already have the equipment in place and it will take little effort to implement. First you will need to select an existing exhaust fan in the bathroom or perhaps in the kitchen that is vented to the outside. Next, you need to create a vent opening in the basement, connect an insulated flexible air duct, and extend this pipe to the floor. The outside vent cover will need a screen to prevent vermin from entering the home. You may already have this pipe; it would be an open pipe near the furnace called an outside air supply. Finally, turn on the exhaust fan and run continuously. This will remove the stale warm moist damaging air in the home , replace it with fresh cold dry outside air and not depressurize the home. You are now controlling the quality and moisture level of the indoor air.

Any exhaust fan in the home will give you a result. Just remember that the smallest fan required by code is 40 CFM. The higher the CFM fan rating the quicker the home will complete a complete air change. Fans are typically rated from 40 to 130 CFM.

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

Rob ‘Pops’ Leslie
Kaplan Professionals, Retired

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

Are Leaky Houses Healthier?

State of MN doesn’t think so and has adopted a new energy code.

Most realtors and homeowners don’t realize since June 1, 2009 our housing has been subject to new residential energy requirements.  If interested you can download the full Energy Code called Chapter 1322 at www.dli.state.mn.us/ccld/pdf/sbc_1322.pdf

The entire MN Energy Code is essentially about 2 principles…

Envelope Performance
This is all about the rate of energy loss through the shell of the building.  Heat loss is caused by the continuous energy load within the house which is called Base Load.  This includes things such as lights, water heating, and cooking power.  We can control these losses by installing more efficient appliances and devices.  Outside air temperature also effects heat loss and this is called Seasonal Losses.  These losses are reduced by the proper installation of quality insulation, vapor barriers, and efficient sealing.

Because our homes have become so tight the rate of air exchange is practically nothing.  The new code requires a complete air change each hour.  Half of the air in a home can be exchanged by a continuously operating mechanical system and the other half by a passive means, like opening a window.  This can be accomplished with kitchen and bath exhaust fans that run continuously, but this isn’t the most efficient method.  A better way are with either a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) or energy recovery (ERV), but this way is very expensive.

Without these 2 principles in balance and working together, there can be great risk to the air quality of the home.  

Can you hear the whisper of stale air or mold?

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

Rob ‘Pops’ Leslie
Kaplan Professionals, Retired


What is the difference between passive and active radon control? This question is often asked since the Minnesota Department of public health announced the new radon initiatives, effective January 1, 2014.

Passive radon control simply means that radon gas developing beneath the floor of the basement will be transferred to the outside of the house by a three or 4 inch diameter plastic tube, without the aid of a fan. ABS, which is black plastic tubing or PVC, which is a white plastic tube, may be used in the system, but; the two are not to be joined together. Their chemical joining systems are not compatible.

The passive system can only be used in areas of the home that are heated because the means of getting the radon from under the basement floor system and out of the house, through the roof, relies on the natural effect of heated air rising. Passive systems are usually found in new construction because the house designer can create a simple flow path within the building structure from below the basement floor to 12 inches above the roof and; a passive system is all that is required under the IRC code, adopted in Minnesota.

New home design in Minnesota, takes advantage of the code required drain tile system that surrounds the house. The drain tile usually drains into a floor sump where moisture gathers to be expelled to the outside via a sump pump. Most modern sumps have a sealable lid with provision to install the radon tube. The warmed air rising in the radon exhaust tube lowers the pressure in the entire drain tile system so directing all radon under the floor system to atmosphere without ever entering the home. The passive system, costing just a few hundred dollars, is a satisfactory system that cannot be said to be ideal in either new or existing construction.

The active system however, costing only a few hundred dollars extra, guarantees control of the gas flow from under the house footprint to atmosphere. The Minnesota Department of public health recommends the active system and calls it the gold standard. Active systems have a silent exhaust fan, that is usually installed either in the attic of the home or on the outside of the house where they can suck radon out without having to rely on the physics of heat rising or passing through the house structure. The precise amount of suction can be confirmed by a simple chemical filled plastic tube (costing about $12), called a manometer, that is installed on the radon tube, in a place where it can easily be observed. Discounted radon fans may be purchased at the Minnesota Department of public health to reduce the cost of the radon installation.

Rob ‘Pops’ Leslie MN

Home Inspection
Minneapolis & St. Paul

Kaplan Professionals (retired instructor)

RADON – Myth or Menace!

Governor Mark Dayton has approved a bill that includes the Minnesota Radon Awareness Act dated May 7, 2013.

This act which becomes effective on January 1, 2014 covers all residential home sales (including: existing homes, new construction and high-rise buildings). What does this mean to the realtor and the home inspector?

To the realtor this act means that the seller must be informed that they must make an accurate written statement about radon and radon testing in their home at time of sale. The written requirements are very specific, including a, “radon warning statement” that must include legislated language. To the home inspector; this act will mean much more business, provided he or she is certified to do in-home radon testing.

Public awareness of radon issues in Minnesota is increasing rapidly. There are two basic reasons! The Minnesota Department of Health in recent times has done a tremendous job in getting knowledge of radon to the public through the media and the other significant reason is that all new construction in residential housing in Minnesota, over the past few years, has required passive radon mitigation.

The public is asking; if radon mitigation is required in new construction, why isn’t it required in existing homes?

You may have noticed in the previous paragraph that I said “passive radon mitigation”! I will describe passive and mechanical mitigation in future blogs. The fact is that the Department of Public health would far rather see that mechanical mitigation is used. Broadly, the differences are that passive mitigation relies on the fact that hot air rises to get the radon gas from under the floor slab of the house out above the roof. Mechanical mitigation uses a fan! Passive mitigation is good, mechanical ventilation, which costs surprisingly little, is much better.

I will go into the written requirements of the act and all that is required for realtor, home inspector, and homeowner to understand the radon issue in future blogs. I will be quoting Josh Kerber from the Department of Public health on the written requirements, for the seller, in the act!

In the meantime, if you want to get ahead of the game, contact Joshua.Kerber@state.MN.US. I am sure that Joshua will be happy to provide the wording of the written disclosure and the radon warning statement. Joshua and others of the Minnesota Department of Health have fought vigorously for a very long time to have this act implemented…Congratulations!

Rob ‘Pops’ Leslie

MN Home Inspection
Minneapolis & St. Paul

Kaplan University