Q. Were the radon test canisters left too long?

Q. Hey Mark,
The buyers of a home I have listed hired a company to do a radon test. The test came back a little high (4.9). I’m concerned about the test because they used canisters, and they left them in place from Wednesday through Saturday. Wouldn’t this increase the radon levels in the canisters by leaving them longer than 48 hours?

A. Hey Michelle,
The simple answer to your question is no. The radon levels don’t increase the longer the canister is in place. However the validity of the result in this circumstance is dependent upon the type of measuring device used. Continue reading


How to Improve Radon Test Results

Hey Readers,

Occasionally, I’ll take a look at the types of internet searches that bring folks to this page. I’ve recently noticed some people who found http://www.HeyMark.info via a search similar to the title of today’s post. ‘How do I improve a radon test?’

My first thought was one of shock. On the surface it appears someone may be looking for ways to make their radon levels test better than they actually are. Continue reading

Q. Vermiculite Insulation — Does It Have Asbestos?

Hey Mark,

The home I am selling has vermiculite insulation. The buyer’s inspector said that it is asbestos, and now the buyers want me to remove all of it. That’s going to cost over $10,000.00. Is that really necessary?


Hey Sue,

Vermiculite insulation MAY contain asbestos. You can have some samples taken from various places in the attic, and have it analyzed, but the results of that testing may not be conclusive. The EPA recommends that you simply leave the insulation alone and don’t disturb it.

Continue reading

Q. Utilities Weren’t Turned On for My Inspection

Q. Hey Mark,

I’m purchasing a home that is currently owned by a bank. The inspector stated that we had to make sure that the bank had all the utilities turned on. We thought they had but when we got there, there were signs all over saying the home was winterized. My inspector really couldn’t inspect everything. What should we do?


A. Hey Frustrated,

I feel your frustration because I was that inspector just last week. I showed up to inspect a bank-owned home, which was supposed to be ready for inspection. However, there were winterization signs all over, and the water and the water heater were both turned off. Unfortunately, my client was frustrated with me because I refused to turn the water on.

Continue reading

St. Louis Earthquake, Cracks in Foundation & Radon Gas

5.2 Earthquake and Radon

Hey Readers,

Since the recent earthquake here in St. Louis, I’ve received calls from folks who are concerned about cracks that have formed in their homes. Earthquakes instill a fear in all of our hearts that the structural integrity of our home might be compromised. For larger earthquakes, that is a very real and serious concern. When we experience a medium intensity quake, as we did this week, typically the only damage is minor cracking of foundation walls, and basement slabs, as well as cracking of masonry. Continue reading

Q. My Inspector Couldn’t Access the Attic

Q: I am purchasing a home, and I just had a home inspection done. The sellers still live there, and they had some belongings in the closet that were blocking access to the attic. My inspector said that he was unable to look in the attic because it was blocked. It was only a couple of boxes, shouldn’t he have simply moved them? It just seems lazy to me. I mean, for the money I was paying him, I think he could move a box or two.

A: I understand your frustration with the situation you encountered. Unfortunately, this is a common misunderstanding; so let me address it. This probably is not an issue of laziness on the part of your inspector. Continue reading

Q. Why Do Inspector Prices Vary?

Q: Hey Mark

I’ve been getting prices from different home inspectors and it seems the prices vary quite a bit. Why are there so many different prices for the same thing?

A: Well, I think you answered your own question. They are not different prices for the same thing. They are different prices for different home inspections.

Each inspector will probably be inspecting similar things (Structure, Electrical, Plumbing, Roof, HVAC). How that inspection is performed, what specifically is covered, and how thoroughly it is covered, is unique to each inspector. Inspectors also have different ways of reporting the homes defects. Different inspectors offer different services.

I recommend using a list of questions to ask a home inspector you are interviewing. If you follow this link you will find a good and impartial list of questions from H.U.D. titled: “Ten Important Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector.” It will help you get a better feel for what is or is not being done for the price that is quoted.