The investment one may make when starting a radon mitigation business will certainly depend upon what tools and equipment you already have. If you are currently engaged in the remodeling, plumbing or HVAC business you probably have many of the tools already. In fact, we would not recommend someone consider entering the radon mitigation field unless they have had some experience in the remodeling trade and therefore would likely already have many of the tools needed such as, ladders, extension cords, cordless hand drills, sawsall, and hand tools.
Initial Radon Mitigation Certification and Administrative Costs
Before you can really hang your shingle out you need to go through the certification process. Although there are some states that do not require certification, becoming nationally certified makes a lot of sense. If for nothing else, being certified for radon mitigation is a great marketing tool. It puts you on third party websites for consumers to find you, it adds credibility to your website and yellow page ads and is likely a requirement when you seek liability insurance.
There are three basic steps to becoming nationally certified for radon mitigation (for more details see: Steps to Certification).
|Steps Leading to Certification||Source||Cost|
|Requisite Education Course(s) – requires radon measurement as well as mitigation component||CERTI.us||$695|
|NRPP Mitigation Exam – successful completion required only once (approx cost)||NRPP.info||$140|
|Initial NRPP Certification Application Fee – renew every two years for $150 and 16 CE credits (approx cost)||NRPP.info||$200|
|State Certification – check our site for any state requirements|
|Base Cost for National Certification:||$1,005|
Assuming you already have basic carpentry remodeling tools, there are a few items you will probably need to acquire. Think about what you would need to cut a 4-6 inch hole through a concrete slab, apply some caulk and route a 3-4 inch pipe up through a building and exiting its roof. Since you will be doing this often you will need contractor grade equipment. Here is a short list of devices we have had experience with-but please shop around before buying.
|Bosch 11264EVS 1-5/8 SDS-Max Combination Hammer||Drill through concrete slabs||$549|
|Large Bit 1-1/4 inch||Diagnostic holes in concrete slab||$70|
|Pilot Bit 3/8 inch||Diagnostic holes in concrete slab||$53|
|Chisel Bit||Use on hammer drill to bust out concrete||$16|
|Caulking Gun (Sausages) – Cox (Sausage Gun)||Applying caulk to concrete joints and adhering poly to walls of a crawlspace||$60|
|Right Angle Drill with Clutch (Dewalt/Milwaukee Timberwolf / Hole Hawg)||Cutting holes through rim joists and loosening dirt under slabs (with auger)||$349|
|Dirt Auger (Radonpds.com)||Used with right angle drill for loosening dirt in suction pits in concrete slabs||$30|
|Hole Saws (two 3-3/4 and 4-3/4)||Cutting holes through wood for routing vent pipes||$160|
|Estimated Specialty Tool Cost:||$1,287|
Certainly as you expand your business you will consider more tools, such as core rigs, chop saws, etc., but initially the list above is a good place to start.
The intent of a radon mitigation system is to mechanically create a vacuum in the soil completely under the foundation so you preferentially draw out radon laden soil gasses and vent them safely outside of the home. Sometimes soil conditions or construction details offer obstacles to this. Certainly, you could stick in a system and hope it works (we call this “Poke and Hope”), but that approach can be costly in call backs or loss of credibility with your clients.
Seasoned mitigators use devices that can help determine the area of influence of a mitigation system as well as conduct diagnostics before providing a bid to better assure performance. The following is a list of diagnostic equipment that you should consider buying either initially or eventually as your business increases or you get tired of call backs.
|Smoke Pencil||For determining air flow direction through test holes or cracks to identify leaks that need to be sealed or extent of influence of a mitigation system||$48|
(Sensitive to 0.001 inches of water column)
|Measures pressure differential under the slab relative to interior. This very sensitive device is very helpful in diagnosing systems that are not working well. It can also be used to measure system air flow||$445|
|Pitot Tube||Attachment for micromanometer that allows one to measure air flow during diagnostics to properly size a radon fan or diagnose a mitigation system that is not performing properly||$73|
|Estimated Diagnostic Tools Cost:||$566|
Certainly, there are more diagnostic equipment you may eventually want to acquire such as radon monitors, etc., but initially the list above is a good place to start.
The following is a summary of the costs we estimated above. Again, this is approximate and depends upon what equipment you already have. Also, CERTI has worked with a number of students in obtaining workforce redevelopment funding, so if qualify under a state workforce redevelopment program, we can assist in providing documentation to receive tuition and sometimes even even equipment funding.
Hopefully this discussion is helpful but do not hesitate to give our lead instructor a call to talk about gear as well as other questions you may have as you consider entering the expanding field of radon mitigation.