• Randy Weestrand
    Enforcement of the system alarm requirement (SGM-SF-2017 Soil Gas Mitigation Standards for Existing Homes 9.2.2) is creating discontent in Minnesota. Are they alone?

    The following email was sent to all 120 Minnesota mitigation licensees with a publicly available email address. The response follows.

    Dear fellow mitigators,

    We avoid installing exterior systems, and in 33 years we’ve learned how to reduce their winter freeze up- a common Minnesota problem. We have about 1,500 in operation. When it hits 10 below for a couple days, I’ll get 10 – 20 calls per day saying “My gauge is at zero”. At 20 below, I get virtually nothing done, as I’m fielding freeze-up calls nearly non stop. I’ll tell them “It could be a bad fan, but the pipe is probably plugged with ice. Call in three weeks if the gauge is still at zero”.

    MDH is enforcing the ANSI / AARST rule that all systems have an alarm for “…active visual and / or audible notification…” if the fan fails, vacuum drops or the system freezes. But an alarm, whether smoke, CO, burglar, seat belt etc. implies an immediate risk. A fan failure or freeze up is not an immediate risk and should not be announced with an alarm. All available alarms are audible (think smoke detector). Your client could be awaken at 3am by the alarm, and then for weeks you tell them “don’t worry- just push the ‘silence’ button again. How many, fearing immediate risk, will contact the BBB and move to a motel?

    ANSI / AARST has refused to rescind the rule. Our hope is that MDH will. If not, we are preparing to seek relief in the courts and / or legislature.

    1. TAKE THE SURVEY Insure that the two question survey is completed for every licensee in your firm.
    2. MAKE A PLEDGE Litigation could cost $50,000 - $75,000. If every licensee pledged $12.50 for each system they will install in the next 12 months, we’d have $75,000. Please pledge by responding to this email.
    3. SERVE ON THE MARP BOARD Help guide this effort with a minimal time commitment. Respond to this email with questions.

    CLICK THIS LINK TO TAKE THE SURVEY: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6D2NCD8

    Thank you!

    Randy Weestrand
    President, Radon Removal Inc.
    Director, MARP (Minnesota Association of Radon Professionals)

    Here are the survey results, showing the number of responses and % of total, plus open ended responses:

    1. Which most closely matches your opinion?

    40 ....61% ...Alarms imply imminent danger, and are not appropriate in any climate
    13 ....20% ...Alarms are good, but not in Minnesota’s climate
    7 ......10% ...Require alarms, but only when there is one with just a light and no audible alarm
    6 ........9% ...Require alarms now, the available alarms are fine
    66 . 100% ...Total responses

    2. How would using the currently available alarms most affect your business?

    59 .....88% ...I expect scared, anxious and angry clients when I tell them “Your system froze up. Ignore the alarm.”
    4 .......6% ...We’ll benefit from the rapid replacement of failed fans
    2 .......3% ...The alarms won’t be a problem for us
    2 .......3% ...I’m no longer doing mitigation
    67 .100% ...Total responses

    3. Other thoughts?

    Asinine, unneeded overreach.

    I will not install alarms

    Strongly against the audible alarm requirements.

    I work along the MN/ND border and deal with freeze ups every year. Not excited about the alarms and am tempted to stop doing business in MN.

    We've always provided a 5 year warranty for our fans and systems. Nobody produces an economical alarm that lasts that long.

    Are HVAC contractors required to install fire/smoke/co2 alarms when they replace a furnace? If not why not?

    If forced to install them, I’ll disable them first.

    We are installing manometer‘s. In a conspicuous place. Also we explain to the homeowner that they need to inspect it once a month. Adding more redundancies will not help anything, it will only increase paranoia, anxiousness, and fear.

    This has been a requirement in the standard since Jan 2019 for radon and 2017 for CVI - and one that all certified pros have agreed to follow. This is not an issue and only a selling point for risk reduction. The optics of hating alarms makes radon professionals look bad.

    No good quality alarms are available. We should not be forced to install low quality anything

    If you train the clients about the monitors that should be good enough. Alarms are just more costs and open to more headaches.

    I think alarms are a good feature in a sense that they let people know the system is not operational and are a more direct and obvious indication of that than a manometer. However, I also believe system alarms need a quick shut off button as well as a detailed and properly worded sticker that explains that this is not an immediate danger but just an audible and visual indicator/notification of potential system failure. I believe the best option would be something that is audible and visual and something that carries a Wi-Fi capability so that people can link it to a phone notification if desired. Further, because of cooler climates like that of MN and many other northern states (most of which are the states where radon is a major issue particularly because of the heating months) something needs to be developed that is not just based on airflow but gives other indicators as well like loss of electric power or even if a fan is cycling on and off due to overheating, etc. because this is also a fire risk. Moreover, until this is figured out, this shouldn’t be a standard and also should not be required to be retroactive because that isn’t fair to the mitigators or the customers that have to deal with the “false alarms.” It also makes the industry look disorganized and unprofessional.

    An alarm will make homeowners panic thinking they are in immediate danger... who will get a call in the middle of the night? The fire department, 911 or installer? I can't get them from my supplier. Not only has Covid-19 hurt business in 2020... as people didn't want you in their homes. The additions of alarms to systems (which are not readily available unless buying from one company) would require us to back track, taking time away from earning an income. I got into this business to help improve the quality of life for people in their homes. This could very well run me right out of business!

    An alarm would be a very bad idea to make a requirement. Systems will freeze due to our climate!! If alarms are put into place can we give the scared homeowners the personal phone numbers of the people responsible for passing this requirement? That way they can call you at 3 am and you can explain to them why it’s going off.

    No point in a visual alarm as the manometer functions the same way. Currently I show clients how to take the battery out if the pipe freezes up.

    A) The alarm available on the market does not work when installed according to the instructions. B) There is no such thing as a radon emergency unless you are M. Currie. C) Who will pay for all of these alarms?

    Not needed u-tube is enough. Alarm seams to radical

    I am concerned about getting a call in the middle of the night. How many cold climate states have the alarms? I think homeowners will take the batteries out of them after we tell them what is happening. I like a flashing light better than the audible alarm.

    All systems installed to guidelines already have a Utube or visual indicator of system performance

    In Minnesota with our extended cold periods this will cause considerable un-necessary apprehension on the part of home occupants.

    We have installed alarms at apartment complexes that required us to return and disconnect the audible portion because their maintenance staff received calls at 2am

    The standard in place right now is to the benefit of radon mitigation contractors and end users. The presence of the alarms ensures that the end user has a working radon system, or is notified when it is not. The contractor will benefit from the call received for repeat business, and the alarm sets their business/workmanship apart from others who do not include an alarm as part of their installation.

    Maybe give the homeowner the option in writing.
  • Admin
    Randy and all,

    Your statement that ANSI/AARST has refused to rescind the rule is not factual. The form for Standards change request submittals can be found on the AARST Standards Consortium website at https://standards.aarst.org under on the Public Access page.

    Please understand that ANSI requires the consortium to follow due process. As the AARST Executive Director, I do not (cannot) make unilateral decisions regarding the standards. You and several of your colleagues sent complaints to my email address and I responded with instructions on how to seek a change.

    The very first standards change request on the alarm requirement was received on December 4th, six days ago. As a result, the matter has not even been discussed beyond the SGM committee. Several additional submittals have been received since the 4th and will be presented to the Executive Standards Committee for consideration next week.

    I regret that you feel justified to threaten lawsuits before even attempting to communicate through the proper channels. The volunteer stakeholders who work on the various standards committees, as well as the consortium leadership, include mitigators just like you. The Consortium Secretariat, Gary Hodgden and his family have operated a mitigation business for 30 years. Nobody has an agenda to place unnecessary hardships on mitigation contractors.

    I can assure you the submittals received last week will be considered with an open mind.

    Dallas Jones
    Executive Director
  • Randy Weestrand
    Hi Dallas,

    Maybe there’s some confusion on my part. I was told that around Oct 28, the standards committee discussed changing the alarm standard, and the Minnesota Dept. of Health vigorously endorsed the alarm requirement. A vote was held and the alarm standard was left intact. Shortly after that, our group began exploring legal and legislative options, and the email above was drafted.

    I’m sincerely grateful for the advice and recent guidance you’ve given on this- the Oct 28 meeting was not the end of the line, there is hope. I hope you can appreciate the tension. Contractors have told me that they would defy the government or leave the business before they would subject their clients to a system alarm.

    Randy Weestrand
  • Wally Dorsey Jr
    Do interior run systems freeze up in the northern latitudes? Systems which are entirely contained within the home until they enter an unconditioned attic and then pass through the roof. I've never freeze ups happen on the slightly more difficult interior installed systems, even on those rare occasionswhen we do hover around the 0° temperature range. Perhaps that technique would help alleviate many of those freeze ups? I thought about the available insulated piping, I just can't see where that would offer a significant difference at -20°.

    I'm in Virginia where we don't get the type of cold I was accustomed to in my youth in Wyoming, where -40° was just a winter day. We do not do mitigation but cross train in mitigation and consult on difficult mitigations with several local mitigators, so I've inspected thousands of systems under all types of construction technologies and weather conditions and never have seen an interior system freeze up.

    Testing Since 1987
  • Randy Weestrand
    We rarely see a froze-up interior pipe. And when they do freeze, it's easy to add insulation. But after a couple days of -10, I do get calls from guys asking if they should go up on the garage roof and remove the 3' inverted icicle on top of the radon pipe.
  • Wally Dorsey Jr
    I love those "beards" for their aesthtetic, not so much for the very real potential safety hazzard if they're in a location that could impale somebody when they break loose in a free fall . I've never seen or heard of it happening, "never say never" though.

    So the point is, that interior installations in a cold climate environment is a very real solution to sidestep the issue of alarms going off because of freeze ups. Additionally, it's a given that those systems are far more beneficial to the aesthtetics of the home.
  • Robert Burns
    Just last year I had a system entirely inside freeze up. There was a blizzard in the Northern Black Hills durring which the power was out for a short time. The fan was in the attic and froze when it was not running.
    Two days after the storm the homeowner called me because the manometer was at zero. I asked if the power had gone off and he said no. I drove over 100 miles the next day to check it out and everything was working fine. The wife confirmed my suspicion that the power had gone off for a short time durring the storm.
    Audible alarms were popular in 1989 when I first started but lost favor because of the false alarms.
    Low cost continuous monitors have become very popular for homeowners in my area and I had to use one in a home that had no suitable location for a manometer. That one resulted in a call back 3 years later when the homeowners visiting son unplugged the fan. The monitor did its job.
    I have considered using a monitor on houses that have the entire system outside and there is no way to mount a manometer inside. I have found no suitable enclosure to protect it from the elements . The labels fade, the red fluid turns clear. Any solutions to that problem out there?
  • Wally Dorsey Jr
    Hi Bob,

    The power outage thing is a real wildcard, not really part of a normal operational expectation, though it obviously should be, once you've experienced it.

    People are amazing, no amount of signage or warning helps, if people don't read. We get calls from sellers fairly regularly who read the first sentence of our closed house door hangers that go like this, "how am I supposed to go into or leave my house if I can't open the door"...my response is to ask them to read the 2nd sentence, also in 1" tall print. "Ohhhh except for normal entrance and exiting, I probably should have read that". So folks constantly disable mitigation systems regardless of signage too. Usually because that motor is either "too expensive to run", it keeps tripping the breaker or its too loud. The last 2 should warrant a call to the mitigator.... but it's easier to turn it off or unplug it. Jeez.

    I have seen mitigators use a small water proof tackle box, mounted with tapcons to the exterior of the home to house the U-Tube outside. They seem to cost from US $5-$10. I've seen clear, translucent and opaque. Drill the correct size hole for the U-Tube, properly caulk the gap around the U-Tube line and presto, awesome little U-Tube housing. I'm not sure what temperature the fluid freezes up at, I suspect the tackle box scavenges some heat from the structure, helpng that a tiny bit.
    FishingTackleBox_6_1024x1024.webp (86K)
    71QeFLmkFPL._AC_SX425_ (26K)
  • Robert Burns
    Thanks for the reply. I've found the best information often comes from other professionals and not the CE courses. I started using tackle boxes 3 years ago but the ones I used tend to get brittle and fall apart
    In the sunlight. I have calls to replace two right now. I'll check out the links you sent to see if there is a better choice. It would be nice to continue to use clear ones but maybe that isn't possible with UV protection.
    I'll bore you with another freeze up story. I installed an exterior system on a walk out basement and used the plumbing opening in the slab under the basement bathroom tub as our suction point. It was about 12" by 12" wide, almost as deep and right next to the exterior wall. I did my typical process of placing a 4" pipe in the void, filling it with clean gravel up to the bottom of the slab and sealing the top with spray foam.
    A couple of years latter the new homeowner called because the tub wasn't draining and thought it had something to do with the radon system. They had unplugged the fan. I concluded that with the fan off cold air was going down the pipe and under the tub next to the P trap. I activated the system again and talked to them about my suspicion and the danger of radon. They called the next day to let me know the tub was draining.
    I usually just seal these plumbing penetrations but it's location was adjacent to the only location we could drill. I neve suspected it could result in a frozen P trap until it happened.
    Thanks for the advice. I'll check those links out.
  • Robert Mahoney
    Being Canadian, we protect our bmo49cri2017worn.jpeg
    systems to -40 and most of us mandate the use of 24/7 monitors, not just Utube visual indicators, that doesn’t tell you if system is actually mitigating radon levels-Air things monitors are very accurate for the price point and tell the true story of function.
    Just my 2 cents.
  • Chad Robinson
    Robert Burns, We use minihelic gages on outside systems. They work great, and not too expensive. They also don't have the issue with the u-tube fluid getting clear.
  • Robert Burns
    I've considered the 0-5 minihelics but I was a little worried about labeling that would explain its message through changes in ownership and not fade over the years. Following Wally's photos led me indirectly to a different weather proof tackle box that is solid on the back and sides but has a clear plastic lid that is
    treated to protect itself and whatever is in the box from UV. If you have a photo of a minihelic installation or suggestion for better labeling my email is .

    The Canadian solution certainly has merit for solving the labeling, freeze up and astetic issue. I know there were good reasons for putting fans outside in the 1990s when fans were screwed together and spewed radon out the seams. That is no longer true and perhaps it is time to revisit those standards.
  • Marcel Brascoupe
    Here are some pictures of what we have to deal with on a regular basis up here is Canada

  • Robert Mahoney
    Especially scary when builders are using thin wall pipe!
  • Kevin M Stewart
    This thread is a good time, I think, to call attention to the fact that the process by which ANSI-AARST standards are developed include, in addition to ensuring diverse stakeholder representation, a required stage of sharing draft standards with the public and the affected constituencies for their review and critique seeking their comments and recommendations for changes.

    It has been my experience, having served on certain standards committees, that these calls for review and comment have always been made openly (through forums such as this listserv), and that all comments offered through the straightforward mechanism provided are given a full hearing and consideration by the relevant committee. This process is painstaking and may take some time to come to resolution, but it has the advantage of ensuring that opinions are widely sought, and that all voices are given fair consideration without fear or favor.

    Finally, please note that, even once all comments with respect to a particular version of a proposed or existing standard are addressed, ANSI-AARST standards are not set in stone but are subject to continuing review. Everyone should know that the opportunity for making comments or requesting changes are always available through https://standards.aarst.org/public-review/
  • Bill Brodhead
    As a standards committee member I have been involved in the discussions on both sides of the alarm issue. For myself the over riding reason for alarms is what I have seen and I'm sure every radon contractor has seen. When we go to replace a fan, we often notice there is a fan on the house next door and that fan is dead. We all know homeowners don't do the recommended re-test every two years. We also know that homeowners often have no idea what a u-tube is doing especially if they are new owners of a house with a radon system installed. If the auto industry had oil gauges instead of low oil warning lights there would be a lot of cars with blown engines. The average home owner needs at least a flashing light if the fan is dead and we need the oil gauge to determine how the fan is performing.

    Every area of the country has different issues they must deal with when installing radon systems from the clay in Kansas soils to the Karst soil in Tennessee to the sand under the slabs in Florida and of course the freezing pipes in the North mid-west states. What would be really helpful for everyone on this list serve is to discuss solutions to each issue they face such as the outdoor gauges that were discussed in this string. By the way at Home Depot they sell a 6X6 electrical box that works nicely as a waterproof box to install a magnehelic gauge in using a 4.5 inch hole saw to cut a hole in the lid.

    What I would love to know both for my mitigation class and for the Standards committee is what design features have any mitigators found that reduces pipe closures due to ice formation and what system designs increase the potential for ice freeze up.

    1) Does foam core schedule pipe minimize freeze up?
    2) Is freeze up more likely with 3" pipe or 4" pipe?
    3) Have you observed more freeze with high flow (small u-tube difference) or low flow (large u-tube difference?

  • Andrew Costigan
    In MN where we can experience below zero temps for weeks. RE: Pipe size 3” or 4”, foam core, air flow makes no difference. They all usually end up with the classic snow cone at the top / exhaust end and a phone call from the homeowner. This is especially true on newer systems where the humidity leaving the pipe is far greater then on older systems. And installation of all interior systems is not a practical answer. So are we to tell the homeowner of an old 2 story home that your system will cost you 3 times the amount of $ so we can install a system alarm? 3 times the amount because of the disruption we will cause in your house to thread the pipe through walls and closets.

    I and most mitigators in MN (see Randy’s original post) do not agree with setting off an alarm at 3:00am and waking up a homeowner because their system froze. A terrible idea to say the least and crippling to our businesses when the next day we will get run over by phone calls.

    There are many low cost crm monitors available today that would be a great alternative to a blaring alarm. And I think most homeowners would agree.
    A failed radon fan event does not need a blaring alarm event that instant. This individual standard needs more time to be thought through and more input from the ones being forced to install them.

    After looking at the list of names that contributed to the ANSI/AARST SGM 2017 standard I find it troubling that the amount of mitigators on their are of a small percentage. And of the ones on the list - I would like to know how many actively install systems in a climate like ours.

    I personally would also like to see a new method for including mitigatior’s in on decisions that effect our business’s like a system alarm. I would have love to have been a fly on the wall while the standards committee discussed such a controversial issue.
    We are the back bone of the industry and I fell like we are getting pushed to the side while a small majority tries to insert themselves into what we built.
  • Bob Wood
    a view from the north (Canada)
    In 2005 while starting my radon mitigation business in Southern Ontario, Canada i swore that i would never install a SSD system that did not follow EPA guidance. As we had no training for Canadians yet my training was NRPP certification. My favourite systems were garage roof discharge's and had installed many exterior fans and above second story eave discharges.

    My clients in the north (we service a 5 hrs driving distance from Toronto) were seeing lots of freeze ups on exterior systems and some uninsulated garage systems. I have now converted to almost 100% in basement fan systems with horizontal discharges at the rim joist, and other than the odd fan quitting on us little to no service calls. interestingly most fans that are going to quit do so in first 5 years ( we had one last month that went 1 day before five year warranty).

    I would highly recommend that the ANSI AARST standards look at the Canadian Standards where we do not recommend exterior fans or uninsulated piping in ashre zones 6 and above. We do insist on schedule 40 pipe. It is very difficult to design everything in one large country where you have such varied climates and construction methods. In Ontario it is very unusual to find a slab on grade home (if you have to dig foundations down 6 plus feet anyway why not give them a basement) yet finding a basement in some parts of southern BC is rare.

    We used to strongly recommend radon alarms (safety siren) but we experienced so many failures on bench testing them that we quit recommending them. We have talked about starting to recommend the air things monitor that glows green and red but with such little markdown available for bulk purchases have not implemented this in our mitigation procedures.
  • Andrew Costigan
    I agree Bob - the air things or radon eye monitors is a much better solution. I would say 50% of our customers already have them. It seems like the system alarms are actually an old solution when we see how many own these crm’s already.
    Also - are these system alarms being field tested?
    The newest one available has a 48 hour delay (but is made in China with a Chinese battery). Bill brings up the analogy of an oil gauge and a warning light.
    Those 2 work together in a hardwired system from the factory in a car. Sounds great in theory - but that is a far cry from what represents this in a current radon mitigation system and what is available to us.
  • Rich Whisler
    This is a copy of the AARST rule change request referenced by Dallas in his post.

    I encourage everyone to fill out the form and officially submit your comments. The Listserve is nice but processes for change have to be followed.

    • Name: Affiliation: Richard Whisler Radon Mitigation Professional Illinois Licensee RNM2003202
    1879 N Neltnor #169 West Chicago, IL 60185 Office Telephone 630-876-0800
    • Clause or Subclause: SGM-SF-2017 Soil Gas Mitigation Standards for Existing Homes 9.2.2
    • Comment/Recommendation: The use of audible alarms on radon mitigation systems is inappropriate and will decrease the safety of the homeowners and add liability to our profession by encouraging homeowners to ignore their systems (unless there is an alarm going off) and will diminish the number of homeowners that actually listen to our industry when we say
    “The EPA Recommends that every home is retested every 2 years”
    I believe there is increased legal liability for the mitigator or standards organization if we tell people they are protected from system failure with an audible alarm, and then system performance is compromised by a failed alarm or some other unforeseen circumstances.
    When temperatures are below 0 Farenheight in the upper Midwest (Northern Illinois) some radon system discharges freeze. I then receive dozens of telephone calls every day from concerned homeowners. We explain it’s probably frozen, Radon risk is based on accumulated exposure over time, and that they can stay in their homes during the freeze up event. We then put them on a list for follow ups when things warm up to make sure the systems are ok.
    I don’t know how we would handle the volume of calls we would if there were audible alarms going off in hundreds (thousands) of homes. I also expect that convincing people it is ok to stay in their homes while an alarm is going off is going to be much tougher than we experience with our clients today.
    I would probably not be able to do anything else but take these calls and this would severely negatively impact my ability to remain in business.
    • Substantiating Statements:
    These airflow alarms will only indicate airflow is present and will not replace the need for subsequent radon testing.
    They will provide a false sense of security because they are not going off.
    They will discourage future testing.
    They will not indicate if a homeowner has disrupted a systems effectiveness by removing a sump pit cover, adding an addition to the home, home improvements such as new roofs, siding, windows etc.
    If someone wants to monitor their systems effectiveness the consumer radon testing devices are a better option than an airflow measurement alarm. As long as they are not provided by a radon professional and represented as an acceptable alternative to properly calibrated follow up testing. (In Illinois sales of these devices by radon professionals is illegal)
  • Robert Mahoney
    Wow, seriously- if one of my systems isn’t maintaining levels below 2.7 and its -40, I’m there fixing issues- but guess indoor fans are a better choice- never got a call in 14 years.
    Yes we all support thousands of systems- but they are my salespeople, treat them right!
  • Randy Weestrand
    You're right Rob. But when it's been below zero for a while and your phone is backed up with clients waiting to tell you "my gauge is at zero", all you can do is tell them to call back if it's still at zero in 3 or 4 weeks. A service call won't fix a freeze up- it takes warm weather.
    And what about normal fan failures. You'll tell the client to push the "hush" button on the alarm. But can all of us get the fan replaced before it goes off again? How many times can you tell them to push the "hush" button before they move to a motel? Once? Twice?
    30 years ago, I was taught "Advise the homeowners to check the gauge when when they change their furnace filter- they'll establish a habit- and a couple month's of radon exposure has minimal risk". So maybe we need an alarm that sounds when the fan has been off for 3 months. I'm being facetious. Alarms are a silly misuse of other people's money. They may benefit some businesses, but given the option, how many clients would pay for one?
  • Bruce Decker BGIS
    I have been following this with great interest as I sit on a CSA standards committee for infection prevention in healthcare. Standards are a tricky thing to right and you will never please everyone. In My experience is that there is little feedback during the public review process and lots of concerns/complaints after the publishing of the standard/guideline. In our committee there has been many heated debates. We often reconsider our opinions by remembering that our ultimate goal is protecting human health, which is what radon mitigation is all about.

    I think there are two distinct concerns raised here.

    1) Legalities that alarms and home test devices will pose liability to the mitigator.
    2) How will I manage all my false alarms and client expectations.

    Both are valid concerns but one is a legal argument while the other is a business management issue. Standards and guidelines need to reflect current science and technology.

    I am no lawyer but; it would seem logical to me that the installation of any additional device that alerts an occupant to a real or potential health issue (chronic or acute) would reduce liability even if it was prone to false alarms. If we look at the legal definitions of "due care" and 'due diligence"

    due care
    n. the conduct that a reasonable man or woman will exercise in a particular situation, in looking out for the safety of others. If one uses due care then an injured party cannot prove negligence. This is one of those nebulous standards by which negligence is tested. Each juror has to determine what a "reasonable" man or woman would do. Source https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Due+diligence

    due diligence n
    1 : such diligence as a reasonable person under the same circumstances would use
    : use of reasonable but not necessarily exhaustive efforts called also reasonable diligence NOTE: Due diligence is used most often in connection with the performance of a professional or fiduciary duty, or with regard to proceeding with a court action. Due care is used more often in connection with general tort actions.
    Source https://dictionary.findlaw.com/definition/due-diligence.html

    You can educate an owner all you want but they may never check their U-tube or may never retest their home. Alarm technology exists and can alert to a potential health risk. I think a judge or juror would find that a reasonable action. If the plaintiff (who has lung cancer) argued "due care" in a tort claim and you installed a low cost alarm I think it is clear your were a reasonable person who exercised all available options in this particular situation, in looking out for the safety of your client.

    On the other hand if you didn't install an alarm I am not sure how it would work out. I think in any case there is a good chance of a claim being paid out. But the more care you take (i.e. install alarm) the less the claim will be.

    If you are concerned about calls and all the client risks what options to you have to controlling the freeze ups. Has anyone looked at installation a pipe heater similar to a gutter/roof deicer on there systems. Instead of telling the homeowner to hush the alarm for 3 months you could tell them to plug in the heater and give it some time. As my structures professor always said "We can engineer anything for everything".
  • Larainne Koehler
    Fascinating discussion. First to clarify some history. The initial push to move away from band joist exhausts was because we actually saw re-entrainment of exhaust - not leaking from an older style fan within the basement. These were very high homes - in the 100's of pCi/l and the researchers could not get the radon levels down. They attached some dryer hose to the outlet so that the exhaust was past the foundation shrubbery and we could watch the radon levels drop on the CRM.
    As far as I know the re-entrainment issue has not been well researched since then.
    Is it only an issue in very high homes?
    What happens as a home ages and foundation plantings fill in?
    What happens when the driveway is shoveled or plowed for snowing front of exhaust?
    Are lower cost CRM's available now an opportunity to re-visit this idea?
    Would a band-joist exhaust with a CRM actually provide a cost-effective and more aesthetic alternative. Would there be re-entrainment on living levels when windows are open? Has
    Canada ever looked at this?
  • Andrew Costigan
    ...And Bruce - you are exactly why we need more mitigation contractors on the standards committee.
    I thank you for commenting on here because everything you just said proved my and others point and why Randy originally posted this alarm issue on here.
    Thank you!!!
  • Robert Burns
    Very good discussions. Re-entry through the sill seal can easily be observed with a smoke gun in older homes but new homes in our area usually have the band joist spray foamed. I always felt that venting adjacent to the kids sandbox or what could be a frequently used outdoor area was another reason for venting 10 feet above the ground.
    I have been told that at 3' or more beyond the vent, radon is typically at average outdoor levels. Is there research on that?
    The actions and attitudes of the public are varied and unpredictable. I have one client that has two CRMs and sends me a text msg every morning with the results. His aim is to never have the level go above 4 pCi/l no matter what the weather is. Drilling a 3rd penetration and installing a 4th Rn4 seems to have done the trick. If a freeze up occurs this winter I'm sure he will want some sort of defrosting heater installed. Cost and noise is not an issue for him.
    His neighbor has a level above 200 and has delayed putting in a system for 2 years so far.
    Audible alarms may be fine in some areas but not in others. Getting the best science and reasoning behind the standards and perhaps listing some things as options instead of mandatory is the answer.
  • Bob Wood
    Health Canada has researched both of these on band joist depressurization, i have installed hundreds if not several thousand band joist discharges over last 10 years most with discharges in in 5000 Bq/m3 if not 10,000's of Bq/m3 and many where my grab sampler maxed out at the 37,000 Bq/m3. Because of cold and insulation and vapour barrier we may have different construction techniques, but have never had a post test that came back high due to re-entrainment.
    On my commercial VOC systems in colder area's we use EPDM black insulation and a self regulating strap heater on pipe. i will post description in another post. i have to go deliver my customer Santa baskets. Merry Christmas All
  • Admin

    To be clear about what appears to be a general misunderstanding, the active notification monitor is NOT required to be audible; as you can see in Section 9.2.2 of the Standard, it says, “active visual and/or audible notification in the event of ASD fan or other mechanical failure.” A blinking light for example, would not awaken the occupants at 3 AM.

    Also, for those asserting the Mitigation Standards Committee does not include adequate representation of radon mitigators, the committee includes Bill Broadhead (PA), Tony McDonald (OH), Aaron Fisher (PA), Fred Ellrott (CA), Kyle Hoylman (KY) and James Fraley (GA), all of whom are active mitigation contractors.

    Finally, while they do vary in price, there are multiple products on the market that would meet the requirement.

    Now that said, the Standards Consortium Executive Stakeholders Committee (ESC) is scheduled to convene Friday Dec.18th to discuss the change requests submitted. After that, the Standards Management Committee will review the matter from a different perspective.

    Thanks for the discussion!
  • Admin
    9.2.2 Active notification monitors required
    In addition to the operating range capacity required in Section 9.2.1, capacity for active visual and/or audible notification in the event of ASD fan or other mechanical failure shall be provided to actively warn occupants or other individuals responsible for monitoring.
    Exception: Active notification monitors are recommended for all systems. Active notification monitors shall be provided for all mitigation systems designed to mitigate hazards from chemical vapor as of the date of this standard’s publication. However, this requirement shall not take effect for radon application until January 1, 2019
    to allow product manufacturers to develop improved and cost-effective products.
    Informative background—Sensors that trigger active notification are typically air pressure sensors, airflow sensors or circuits that detect electrical flow. Each method has its strengths and weaknesses. Product features that deserve strong considerations include but are not limited to:
    a) Lasting service: For example, products that expose electrical or sensitive components to humid airflow within ASD piping can be prone to premature failure.
    b) False notifications: Examples are temporary or seasonal conditions that can result in power outages, low pressure, or low airflow. Delayed notification in terms of hours or even weeks is an example of methods that circumvent false notifications; and
    c) Use restrictions: Monitors that can reliably detect fan failure for ASD systems that inherently generate weak pressure or airflow.
  • Andrew Costigan
    Thanks Dallas for the post.

    We are definitely aware that the active notification monitors are not required to be audible.
    However - I have researched all available alarms on the market and not one has just a light that comes on. They are all both the alarm and a light. A simple switch to turn the alarm portion off would have been great. But no current manufacturer as offered that.
    That being said I don’t feel there are “improved and cost effective products” out there to satisfy the standard at this time.

    Also I brought up the argument on field testing. Has anyone done a comprehensive field study on these alarms? That could be an absolute disaster if these alarms started failing after say a year in use.
    Or in a situation where we install the U-tube in an attached garage that is not conditioned. Zero temps on a battery powered alarm in a garage would be a disaster.

    Also - what I saw was 33 consensus SGM-SF body members that helped create ANSI / AARST SGM-SF 2017 and 4 or 5 of them were radon mitigation contractors. I find a lot wrong in that.
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