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Messages posted by: Dawn Coffee
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If you've ever taken the NRSB or NRPP radon measurement exam you know it can be grueling. Not everyone passes. While passing is definitely achievable the pass rate is less than average.  Here is why...

This weekend I had the pleasure of being a part of a recent select few asked to rewrite NRPP's radon exam as I am somewhat considered an expert in this field. I can tell you the exam writing process was more grueling than the exam itself. One must have taken a good initial measurement course and include an ample amount of study time in order to pass. Among the group I was with, it was suggested to allow 2 weeks or more for study. There are several documents referenced on exam questions such as the NRPP's Candidate Handbook which covers ethics, two EPA guides - Citizen's Guide to Radon and Home Buyers and Sellers Guide to Radon, along with the recently updated ANSI/AARST MAH 2023 (measurement) and MS-QA 2023 (quality assurance and control) standards. This is a lot of reading! All questions come directly from these publications and the initial course taken (reminds me of a mini-nuclear physics class).  When summarized down to 125 questions  2-3 hours is allowed to take the open book exam (depending on if you choose to be a field tech or a measurement professional). But don't let the open book part fool you. There is not enough time to find the answers if you don't know the material because half the battle is knowing WHERE to find them in WHICH publication.

I am often asked WHY a measurement professional such as a home inspector is expected to know all this material when industry technology allows for just starting and stopping a machine giving the client the radon "number" they need to know. We will cover that in Part 2 coming up.

***have you taken the radon exam? what did you think??

New MOLD PUMPS just arrived !!

Ever heard of anyone actually dying from radon induced lung cancer? Maybe you haven't. But it is true. In fact, two people die every hour from lung cancer caused by high radon according to the EPA.

Here is a great short news story making this invisible gas more real.


Clients won't know if they have a radon problem or not unless they test. Testing is recommended every two years. If you currently do not offer radon testing in your business you are missing out on helping the world be a better place and you can actually save a life in addition to bringing more revenue in. If you're looking to get started go to www.discoverbreeze.com
Surface vs Air Testing - How do you know what method to choose for your clients?

Surface aka Swab testing is commonly used when there is suspected visual mold. Choose this option when the client needs to know if the stuff you are seeing is active growth or not. You can use a cotton swab or bio tape to obtain a sample for surface testing. Priority Lab will also tell you what kind of mold it is in addition to whether or not the growth is active.

Air testing is typically chosen when a client wants to know if the air quality is effected. This does not necessarily mean visual mold is present. There are invisible mold spores floating throughout the air we breathe. The air test gives a count of how many spores are in a room and whether or not those levels are elevated or a problem. Priority Lab will also identify what kinds of spores were found in the air sample. This may help determine where the spores are coming from if elevated. This info is also helpful to remediators. It's also important to note that air testing isn't typically done in attics or crawlspaces due to the fact that occupants do not habitat these areas but there is always THAT customer that insists

In some cases you may want to chose BOTH methods to give more complete information.
PFAS aka "Forever Chemicals" are a hot topic right now as everyone is concerned about the safety of drinking water. Here's a top 10 things you need to know about PFAS so you can confidently answer customer questions.

1. A recent government study shows some level of PFAS is present in tap water in half of U.S. households
2. PFAS is a group of man-made chemicals used in a variety of consumer products and industries throughout the world
3. PFAS can be found in carpet, clothing, fabrics for furniture, food, packaging, cookware, and firefighting foams et.
4. The EPA has proposed regulating PFAS with a MCL (maximum contamination limit) of 4.0 parts per trillion (ppt)
5. Testing for PFAS in drinking water is recommended if your well is located within one to two miles of a known source of PFAS or other water supplies where PFAS has been detected - Examples include: airfields, landfills, and manufacturing sites
6. There are special collection procedures for PFAS to ensure accurate results that can be found on the EPA's website -just filling a bottle is not enough
7. Use a laboratory that is certified in PFAS for drinking water - can be found on the EPA's website
8. After initial PFAS testing is complete, testing is recommended every 10 years
9. Point of Use or Point of Entry filters such as Reverse Osmosis systems can be used to remove PFAS from drinking water but you need to test to know what levels you have to ensure proper filtering
10. Ingestion of water contaminated with PFAS is the main concern rather than for showering or doing laundry




Closing up a house that has no air conditioning for two days seems cruel. One can argue testing should be done under normal living conditions and for most having windows open in the summer would be normal for summer cottages for example. However, closed house conditions is required whether there's air conditioning or not. So a few things can be done in this situation.


#1 If the home is not occupied, you could test anyway under closed house conditions. Keep in mind though protocol also says to keep inside temps between 65 and 80 degrees which may be difficult in the heat of summer.

#2 Buyer pays for the test now and the seller puts $$ into escrow if mitigation is needed. Testing is done at a later time (fall) when weather has cooled down and is probably now occupied by the new owner. Bonus -the new owner probably won't be cheating on their own test at this point so you know results are accurate.

#3 While it is an option to have closed house condition testing in a non A/C house in the summer, it would be unrealistic for occupants to comply with protocol. So probably scratch that.

The #2 escrow solution provides a cool way to tackle the challenge. Sellers avoid the heat, and buyers maintain testing control. Sure, there are a few hiccups, but with careful planning and communication, you'll BREEZE through it.

Source: https://standards.aarst.org/MAH-2019/index.html#zoom=z
When an initial water test reveals issues with water quality, it's crucial to follow up with the homeowner after they've addressed the problem and offer a retest. By doing so, you not only provide peace of mind but also open the door to an additional sales opportunity.

Once the homeowner has remedied the water issue you are able to retest.

A casual call or email will do including the following script as an example:

"Our records show that the water at [Property Address] in [City, State] will need to be retested. Our team is ready to assist you in ensuring your water quality is up to standards.

Please reach out to us when you have addressed the water issue and are ready for a retest. Our technician will promptly collect new samples and get them to our lab which specializes in real estate transactions.

By retesting, you can have peace of mind knowing that the water quality issue has been resolved. Moreover, it will provide you with the documentation required for your transaction.

Feel free to contact us at [Phone Number] or [Email Address]. We look forward to scheduling your retest and providing you with exceptional service."

Don't miss out on this easy avenue for revenue growth. Implement the provided script and you are ready to go.

Remember, WATER RETESTS = EXTRA SALES $, and your proactive approach will be greatly appreciated by homeowners.

Wondering if any of you discount your services for Veterans or participate in Homes for Heroes or other programs like this?

If so what percentage do you discount and how often do you find you accept these discounted orders?

Here is a great outdoor allergy and pollen interactive map.


On the tests you perform it is likely you will see spores into the 10 thousands on your outside control sample during warmer months. This is because spring and summer bring heat, humidity and rain when seeds fly through the air and grow on decaying leaves, compost piles and grasses causing mold spore counts to spike dramatically. In winter, counts can be zero in many places across the U.S. because growth is dormant.

You must take an outdoor control sample to compare what's happening on the inside of the house compared to outside. If levels are more inside than outside, you have a problem.

Note: It is not necessary to take an outdoor control sample if the winter weather outside is below freezing. While you can save a few bucks on lab analysis skipping it, sometimes it's not worth the argument over why you didn't include an outdoor control sample. Happy sneezing!

NRPP Cert Renewals after Oct 1st must include a standards update course (4 hours). And this is NOT a bad thing. If you are in a state like mine (Indiana) they are auditing testers and mitigators grading them on the new standards. If you aren't familiar with or are not following these new standards then you are not going to do well on the audit. There are many changes like what is required to be in your radon testing report and fine details of your QA plan. And so far in Indiana, audit findings show that a big majority of testers didn't have or were not following a QA plan. BTW, the QA Plan is a whole separate course. So time to brush up on these things keeping radon testing professional. That's why we get paid the big bucks right?
Your client fails a NITRATE or LEAD test, installs an RO under the kitchen sink but the re-test still fails. Why? The biggest reason re-tests fail is because the newly installed RO was not run off properly. The RO cannot just be hooked up and you are good to go. You must fill the tank underneath, then run off an entire tank and refill again to truly obtain filtered water. Professional installers know this, however some homeowners and handyman installers do not and assume the filters work upon connection. Make sure you pass along this tip when taking water re-test orders and your client won't be disappointed.
Cross contamination is real.

This simple advice can prevent contaminating city drinking water when filling up a pool or hot tub.


Pass on to your clients buying homes with pools.

Recently conducted a radon test where the mitigation system was in place but not functioning. Client still wanted a test. Manometer showed no suction and the fan was not operational. The 2 day test came out good at 0.8 pCi/l. The realtor asks how can that be?

Answer: The system was installed 2 owners ago with no information on why the system was installed. It may be the owner installed it for preventative reasons. Another possibility is that an initial test was done during the winter months with a possible outcome of testing just over 4.0 pCi/l warranting a system. Weather could have played a factor, no one knows.

So what do you do in this scenario?

Answer: You explain this is good news and while low readings are not cause for concern at this time, in winter months levels can test higher. Therefore, the radon mitigation system should be repaired to working order and running so low levels are consistent throughout the year. Further explain that you will include photos and comments of the non working system so the repair can be negotiated in the real estate transaction.
The Breeze CRM allows your clients to know the results before the machine is even picked up. This is a LIFESAVER because of real estate negotiation and closing deadlines. A must have for today's radon testers.
Radon test comes back high. Mitigator that comes out to quote tells the realtors “The tester shouldn’t have set it in this basement because it has a dirt and stone floor.”

Who is right in this scenario?

If you are testing by the new ANSI/AARST standards that supersede old EPA regulations in many areas you must use this rule:

3.1.1 A test is to be conducted in the lowest level that could be occupied when quick results are needed. If the lowest level is not finished but could serve as a work area or playroom or additional bedroom at some point in the future, a test is to be conducted in this level of the home.

Key words here are "could be occupied" and "could serve as" and "is to be conducted in this level of the home"

This particular home had stored belongings in the basement along with a work bench even though it wasn't pretty, you could stand up in it.

Aren't we are all on the same team here? We test and mitigate homes for a living. So why challenge this and just quote the job? Makes me wonder if in this scenario the mitigator didn’t “like” the job because it was more work than the standard install.

One more thought to add here: science says radon dissipates by half each level you go up. So this test which came out at 8.0, most likely would have still been at the radon action level if tested on the main floor. The house should be mitigated.
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