Myth #10 – Short-term tests aren’t enough to make a decision about taking action to fix radon in your home. This last of many myths is still a common one.

Fact: The fact is that short-term tests can be enough, provided you use more than one. Radon.com notes that two radon tests could be enough to take action provided that at least one of the tests is above the recommended 4.0 pCi/L. This would indicate that levels at least some of the time are above recommended level, and therefore that you might want to take action. Note that if you conduct two radon tests and neither is above 4.0 pCi/L that does not mean you are safe from radon. To conclusively know if you are safe from radon you must consistently monitor radon levels. That said, short term tests can lead to radon mitigation action if they conclusively show radon levels are too high. 

from Top 10 Myths

Myth #9 – Having lived in my house for many years it wouldn’t matter if I took action against radon now. This is the least fortunate of all the radon myths.

Fact: As the National Cancer Institute notes, “Long-term exposure to radon can lead to lung cancer.” It is long term exposure that matters, so it’s never really too late to check your home for radon. At the very least, you might find out you do have high radon levels, allowing you to take action to protect your home.

from Top 10 Myths

Section 703 of proposed HB1001 outlines the specific degree to which a home inspector shall conduct his/her inspections. It begins with a general definition and proceeds to a very specific description, introducing a new responsibility for all home inspectors.

Section 703. Degree of care of home inspectors.

(a) General rule. — The home inspector shall conduct a home inspection with the degree of care that a reasonably prudent home inspector would exercise.

(b) Standard. — In ascertaining the degree of care that would be exercised by a reasonably prudent home inspector, the court shall consider the standards of practice and codes of ethics as established by the board by regulation.

(c) Immediate threat to health or safety. — If immediate threats to health or safety are observed during the course of the inspection and the home is occupied, the home inspector shall disclose the immediate threats to health or safety to the property owner and occupants of the property at the conclusion of the home inspection. Posting a notice on a form prescribed by the board by regulation on the front door of the occupied home in a position that ensures the occupants see the notice shall constitute proper disclosure.

 

The upcoming HB1001 will specify liability responsibilities and limitations for both inspectors and their clients. Among them are:

  1. The home inspector shall not be held liable for the contents or omissions of a home inspection report if relied upon by any individual or person other than the client as identified by the executed contract for the specific home inspection.
  2. The home inspector shall maintain insurance against errors and omissions and general liability, with coverages of not less than $250,000 per occurrence and $500,000 in aggregate and with deductibles of not more than $15,000.
  3. An action to recover damages arising from a home inspection report must be commenced within one year after the date the report is delivered regardless of when the claim is discovered by the client.
  4. The PA state licensing board will wield the broad power to revoke, suspend, limit or otherwise restrict a home inspectors license.

Myth #7 – All homeowners should conduct water radon tests. This statement is alarmist. It would be more accurate to say, “In some instances, a water radon test may be advisable.” 

Fact:  The EPA has proposed the action level in water to be 300 pCi/L compared to 4 pCi/L in an air sample. If you are on a public water system your water should already be tested for radon as well as other contaminants. If you have well water the first and most important step is to test your air for radon. Then consider a water test if your levels are high.

from Top 10 Myths

When HB1001 enacted it will call for home inspectors to be licensed to inspect homes in Pennsylvania with the goal of raising the bar on professionalism in the industry. Here are some of the requirements for obtaining a license to inspect homes in PA.

The applicant must be:

  1. Of good moral character.
  2. At least 18 years of age.
  3. In possession of a high school diploma or equivalent life or occupational experience.
  4. Completed a board-approved training program consisting of 120 hours of instruction.
  5. Completed no less than 75 mentored home inspections under a licensed home inspector.
  6. Passed a board-approved exam.
  7. Paid an application fee.
  8. Not addicted to the habitual use of alcohol, narcotics or habit-forming drugs.
  9. Not been convicted of a felony.
  10. Maintain proper insurance coverages.

Existing home inspectors will be granted licensure if they apply within 2 years of the effective date of the law and they have met the qualifications of steps 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 and 9 above.

HB1001 calls for the establishment of a board to oversee the home inspection profession in the state of PA. The newly formed Home Inspection Licensing Board will be composed of:

  • A secretary or a designee of the secretary.
  • The Attorney General or a designee of the Attorney General.
  • Six home inspectors who are licensed in the Commonwealth.
  • Three members of the general public without expertise or training as a home inspector.
  • One real estate agent or broker who is licensed in the Commonwealth.
  • One engineer or architect licensed in the Commonwealth.

Some of the powers and duties of the newly created Board will be:

  • Grant licenses to home inspectors.
  • Oversee regulations.
  • Examine, deny, approve, issue, revoke, suspend or renew home inspection licenses.
  • Conduct hearings on complaints.
  • Establish requirements for continuing education.
  • Spend money 🙂.
  • Submit a yearly report to the House and Senate.
  • Submit an annual budget request.
  • Maintain an up-to-date list of licensed home inspectors in PA.
  • Establish licensing fees.

Next post will be on requirements for licensure.

Myth #6 –Radon tests from a neighbor’s house are accurate indications of radon in your own home. This is one of the most common myths.

Fact: “A study from the National Institute of Health showed that soil composition and ground permeability are key factors affecting radon in your home, and they are factors that are specific to your plot of land (NIH).” While this is true, it is also true that a homes construction method and the contractors building practices weigh heavily in whether or not radon is able to permeate the home.

from Top 10 Myths

The bill coming before the PA Senate this week is 32 pages long. For anyone interested, and that should include real agents and home inspectors, The PA General Assembly will soon be voting on HB1001. The act broadly proposes the

“Regulating home of inspectors; establishment of  the Home Inspection Licensing Board; provisions for licensure and practice, for disciplinary action, for remedies and for penalties; for making an appropriation; and for repealing provisions relating to home inspections.”

In putting forth these regulations the act seeks to accomplish

  1. Enforce certain safety standards through regulation,
  2. Promote the public health, safety, and welfare,
  3. Set educational standards to protect the public from unqualified and unscrupulous inspectors,
  4. And to provide consumer protection, both economically and legally.

In future posts, I will highlight other important aspects of the bill.