What I'm Seeing Now


"It's NOT Exactly A Professional Radon Remediation System"

Walking into the basement my client asked me what the device on the far wall was and my answer was, "It's NOT exactly a professional radon remediation system."

There are a lot of things that make up a PROFESSIONAL radon remediation system.

> It would be a completely enclosed system, with sealant around the base where it enters the basement floor.  Sometimes the basement floor slab is sealed also, where it meets the foundation wall.

> A solid tube so no leaking can occur.

> A wall switch so it can be controlled, with its own wall receptacle, not a part of the basement circuitry.

> A test tube with colored water inside so you can see if proper suction is taking place.

Something else that cannot be discounted is that a PROFESSIONAL radon contractor should install the system! You know, licensed, insured, trained...!

Usually in a corner off out of the way, or in a closet, a PROFESSIONAL would not put it in the center of the basement family room wall as it is here.

Another pretty important criteria with any radon remediation system is where it discharges!

Typically the tubing connected to the fan will run up an exterior wall of the house (sometimes through the attic space and roof) to discharge high above anyone's ability to breath in the discharge.

The system here blows its air about 6" above the soil and UNDER the (very clean and cared for) deck!

I could not actually see the discharge, but could hear the fan!  It was blowing right under the center of the photograph!


In this house some inventive homeowner did some of that there reading on the Internet.  He learned EVERYTHING he needed to know about radon and radon remediation.  Everything!  And he went at it!

My recommendation:  sometimes you look at something and don't initially know what it is, but when thinking further can actually figure it out.  The donut fan is the tip off here that this is to remediate radon!  And I think I'm correct in thinking that someone did some research to know exactly what to do to take care of that pesky radon problem all by himself!  We don't need no stinkin' professionals!  Wow, where is Billy Jays when you need him?


Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 27 commentsJay Markanich • January 11 2014 04:17AM


Hi Jay,

Looks like someone had an idea of a way to try and save some money over a real radon pro. If a radon pro did install the unit. They really did see the owners coming.

Have a good weekend in Bristow.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) about 7 years ago

None of the pros around here that I know would have done this Clint!  But it is cute, givem them credit.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

We have lots of radon pockets in Wisconsin...we are ordering a test today. After installation it is required to supply another test indicating that the level is reduced....not sure this contraption you show would accomplish that.

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) about 7 years ago

Yep.  The only word is "cute".  Not exactly what we want for a matter as serious as Radon Mitigation.

Problem with Radon Mitigation is that many have not a clue about that "silent killer" or the requirements under the Radon Contingency in a contract of sale.

When dealing with matters of health and/or safety, listen to the experts.  Don't try to practice self help.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 7 years ago

What I have never been able to figure out is why the EPA doesn't make radon mitigation a legal requirement because of the health risk radon presents. There are no U.S. laws requiring mitigation. Are there rules and regulations in your state that legally require mitigation?

Posted by Doug Dawes, Your Personal Realtor® (Keller Williams Realty - Topsfield, MA) about 7 years ago

An interesting radon system. I hope they did not pay someone to install that.

Posted by Ellie McIntire, Luxury service in Central Maryland (Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Another great example of how a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing! The idea may have been good but the execution? Not so much. Hope Billie Jays make an appearance soon. Recharging his batteries somewhere? Maybe too many nuts over the holidays?

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) about 7 years ago

Wow! Weekender special! I know that wasn't installed by a radon mitgation contractor. Right? 

Posted by Juan Jimenez, The Richmond Home Inspector (A House on a Rock Home Inspections LLC) about 7 years ago

Hi Jay,

But it looked so good Jay, how come it's not the right way......

Have a Great Week and a Pfanntastic 2014

Posted by Peter Pfann @ eXp Realty Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986., Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490 (eXp Realty, Victoria BC www.pfanntastic.com) about 7 years ago

Yikes.  Of all things to NOT DIY. Radon remediation would be high on the list.  

Posted by Coral Gundlach, Real Lives. Not Just Real Estate. (Compass) about 7 years ago

One of the things we don't have to deal with in Florida is Radon. No basements. In 25 years of Real Estate have heard of only a few instances across the state. Maybe more but just not an issue here.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max By The Sea) about 7 years ago

Wow, some of the things you see done in homes just makes you shake your head and wonder what whoever did it was thinking.

Posted by Bruce Swedal, Denver Real Estate about 7 years ago

I have never seen anything like this! I wouldn't have even thought it was supposed to be a Radon system. We have a lot of ledge around here so high Radon levels are common. A proper radon remediation system is not that expensive so why not d. It right?

Posted by Christine Smith, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA (Buyers Brokers Only LLC - www.BuyersBrokersOnly.com) about 7 years ago

I once had a homeowner try to seal the cracks around foundation and basement slab and sump pump with scotch tape thinking that would stop the radon from seeping in so his radon test would pass! I'm glad he didn't know about this gadget.

Posted by Jeff Pearl, Full Service Full Time Realtor (RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA) about 7 years ago

I think they decided to put it closw to the electrical outlet so they would not have to have an electrician install another outlet.  

Posted by John Anello, Stamford Area Electrician, Call Safe and Sound Electric at 203-536-0021 (Safe and Sound Electric LLC) about 7 years ago

But they carpeted it and ran the trim around it professionally!

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) about 7 years ago

It likely would not S&D!  And they do follow-up tests here too.

Lenn - you mean we shouldn't diagnose ourselves and give ourselves penicillin shots?

Doug - likely because nobody with lung cancer has been shown to have had it caused by radon.  Many states have the remediation in the contract, like Virginia.

Ellie - I doubt they did!  I think this was a DIY job!

Tom - Billy has gone in a different direction and will come out with a new product tomorrow!  Interesting that you ask!  I'm sure you will want one.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Likely not Juan.  None that I know anyway!

Peter - it looks a little bit like that cartoon character Walle.

Coral - don't we all self medicate?  This guy only lacks a couple of degrees, some training, experience and proper materials.  But he was close, right?    ;>)

Slab homes have less likelihood Bill, but I have seen them here have radon.

Bruce - and this guy probably thought he was doing really well with this!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Why do it right when you can do it for very little cost Christine?  Kidding of course.

Jeff - what a dope.  Everyone knows you do that with duct tape.

See how much money they saved John!

Than - professional from top to bottom, side to side.  You could really hear it outside too!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Ah the joys of when things suck and blow at the same time :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 7 years ago

Oh my word, that just is not acceptable! What were they thinking?  Let's save some money, it looks to good no one would even know we did it outselves...pecky inspectors!

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Jay, I do not believe professional radon remediation system installation is really very expensive! However, as long as this DIY shows results below EPA standards, it's fine.

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) about 7 years ago

So to speak Charlie.  I love English and the ability to use so many words in different contexts to serve two thoughts at once!

I am being a sticky fellow Evelyn.  This just didn't cut it for me.

Praful - properly done it is almost always less than $1000.  At least around here.  Nobody will be doing a test to see if it works.  This was only one of a dozen things that caused my client to bolt from this contract.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Is there any possibility this is not for radon? Maybe its intent is to suck out moisture. I saw a device once somewhat similar, although much more professional, for that purpose.

There is one point I would disagree on. I think a professional should not hide the pipe or install them in corners or out of the way places. Physics and logic would tell you that for optimum effectiveness the pipe should be installed somewhere in the center of the basement, not jammed in a corner like they so often are. There have been a good number of times I have run a test with a system in place where the levels are above 4. In every instance the pipe is at an extreme part of the basement. I as rule place my tester at a location extremely far from the pipe. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 7 years ago

Jim - once after a radon remediation system was installed the level went up!  The particular house, very large, had a basement with two different levels.  They put the remediation on the upper end.  The lower end apparently reacted accordingly!

As to this system, there was no moisture evidence anywhere.  But in the middle of the floor in the family room is odd to say the least.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

All seriousness aside, I see lots of "fixes" for this that make this look VERY professional!

Posted by Chris and Berna Sloan, Tooele UT (Group 1 Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Perhaps Chris, but the materials are not correct, it does not have it's own receptacle, there is no suction meter and it discharges below the deck!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments