Michigan Radon Contractors
Dozens of contractors in Michigan advertise radon services, but very few are actually qualified. Most people agree that you should not even consider hiring a company that can’t meet these very minimal requirements:
Can legally work on a home in Michigan
Minimum Requirement: Licensed builder or some other trade. Details below.
Knowledge of radon
Current certification by a national radon accreditation organization (NEHA or NRSB). Details below.
Satisfactory rating from the Better Business Bureau. Details below.
Checking Up on Radon Contractors
Many states (Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, for example) require that a radon tester or contractor be licensed. These states perform regular audits of the firm’s quality procedures, testing equipment and conformance to EPA standards and protocols. Michigan, however, is not one of those states. As a result consumers are left to fend for themselves, and find it difficult to sort out misleading or blatantly false claims. Here are a few ways to protect yourself:
1. Is the contractor operating legally in Michigan?
Michigan law treats radon mitigation as a construction trade. In order to charge more than $599 for a radon mitigation, the company must:
- Carry General Liability insurance and, if there are employees, Workers Compensation insurance
- Hold a current a builder’s or other trade license such as plumbing or heating, and
- Have a publicly announced place of business in Michigan.
The law requires that the license number be shown on the contract document, so if you don’t see one be suspicious. If you do hire an unlicensed or uninsured contractor, you might be jeopardizing your homeowner’s insurance coverage or risking building code violations, and you lose important protections that are available under Michigan construction law.
Warning: Several unlicensed contractors advertise in the yellow pages. If your contract is with a company, make sure that the company name appears on the license, not just the owner’s.
Your tax dollars at work: If you ask the Michigan DEQ Radon Office for help in finding a radon contractor, they will send you a list of what they call “qualified contractors.” Unfortunately, this list includes unlicensed out-of-state companies and some new in-state companies who cannot install a system in Michigan without breaking the law.
Checking up: Look for the license number on the contract. You should also verify the license in the new State of Michigan Department of Consumer and Industry Services online database. Remember that by law an individual and a corporation are two separate entities, and you are out of luck if the company itself does not have a license.
Ask for current insurance certificates for Workers’ Compensation, General Liability. Errors and Omissions (Professional Liability ) is what protects you against faulty designs, but few firms can afford it. Finally, it says a lot about the company if its employees are bonded. [Protech’s certificates]
2. Does the EPA consider the contractor to be qualified?
Instead of its own radon licensing program, Michigan has relied on the US EPA Radon Proficiency Program. Contractors qualify for EPA listing only if they pass proficiency exams, meet continuing education requirements, and install systems that adhere to EPA’s design standards. In late 1998, the EPA stopped taking new applications, and transferred program administration to the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) and the National Radon Safety Board (NRSB). Accreditation by either of them is now equivalent to the old EPA listing.
Warning: One contractor claims to hold “Every required Michigan and federal license available” and uses the EPA logo on his sales materials. These are grossly deceptive. [To give one example, he was removed from the EPA’s “qualified” list in 1997.] More detail including examples of his work.
Flash: This character is now out of business, having moved to Florida and leaving behind many hundreds of customers who fell for his “Lifetime Warranty to reduce radon levels.” You decide for yourself what lesson is to be learned from this.
Checking up: Ask for a copy of the contractor’s ID card, and check the expiration date. You can also verify radon credentials by calling the tax-supported hotline in Lansing (1-800-RADON GAS). Current listings are also posted on the NEHA and NRSB websites.
3. How does the contractor treat his customers?
While it is a good idea to check references, common sense says that you should not rely only on referrals that a contractor may provide. After all, who would give out the names of unhappy customers? Here’s a small sample of our own customer list. Fortunately, the Better Business Bureau can tell you how other people in your situation have fared.
Checking up: Call the BBB Hotline (248-644-9100) or use their online database.
Bottom line: Do not take a contractor’s claims at face value. Demand proof.
Have A Question About Radon Treatment?
Super quick and efficient service of installing a radon mitigation system in the house we were selling. The installers were very knowledgeable and explained the system and the information to pass on to the buyer's. Definitely would recommend.
(a) at least ten feet off the ground,
(b) above the eave (not necessarily the edge) of the roof, and
(c) either ten feet away from, or two feet above, windows.