A customer recently contacted us, in a panic, about their well water having too much radon in it. They were selling their house and the potential buyers, tested the water for just about every contaminant possible. When they received the results, radon levels were almost four times the allowable limit for the state of Connecticut. The sellers also requested they fix their well water tank and softener system. We receive phone calls, with similar situations, all of the time, maybe even 2-3 times a day. The following is one particular situation and how we found a solution.
The customer had already received a couple quotes from other companies in regard to mitigating the radon and fixing their broken equipment, so they were aware of the possible cost to rectify the issues. The best solution, in this situation, for the sellers, would be to fix these issues and spend the least amount of money possible. Since they are selling their house and won’t be using this equipment, they wanted to make some money on the sale. We have to decide what is best for both the sellers and buyers, since our name is going to be on the service provided, we have to think about the buyers being our potential customers in the future. If another company is recommending a cheaper fix, but it is going to leave the buyers with a temporary solution, it is not the right solution.
Issue 1: Radon in the Water is 4X the Allowable Limit in Connecticut
Since the radon level is that high, carbon filtration will not be an option (I can get into more detail about that, at another time). The customer needed aeration, which is the process of introducing air to the water (at the entry point), which releases radon gas dissolved in the water. After the radon gas is released from the water, it can then be vented outside, over the house roof. This equipment is sometimes called a bubbler and it’s not very cheap to install. Luckily in this situation, all of the companies she had called recommended this option too. So she understood why she needed it already. Our price for the unit was a little bit more, but our explanation of the actual process of installation was systematic and professional, they understood what they were getting and how long the process would take, which made it easy for them to decide.
Issue 2: Well Tank Diaphragm is Blown Out and Needed To Be Replaced
Diaphragms are next to impossible to fix, so replacement is the only option. She had an oddly sized tank, not common to be installed. Our recommendation was to slightly downgrade the storage tank, to save some money on the install. Keep in mind that radon system was going to add about 20 gallons of storage to the system. Which compensated for the loss of the storage tank. We were able to save money on this install, which offset the price of the bubbler.
Issue 3: Softener was Draining to Sewer (against code) and Not Backwashing
This situation needed to be assessed when we arrived at the house, but the game plan was to be discussed first. We would test the water and see if the softener could be fixed, then decide the right way to approach.
The customer liked what we had to say, we gave a fair price for the work and we were out the next day to do the install and assess the situation for her.
Once we were able to determine that she did not even need a softener, but a sediment filter would work perfectly fine, we were able to eliminate the need to fix the drain to the sewer (which is against code, drywell did not need to be installed), this would save them hundreds of dollars. Keep in mind, that we made sure the potential buyers knew we were removing the softener and replacing it with something else. Not only did they allow it, they were thrilled to know that did not need to add salt to the system every month.
After we completed the installation, we re-tested for radon, which brought the levels down 99.9%. This was the perfect outcome to a situation that needed to be fixed and fast, since the closing date was only 2 weeks away. The water passed all re-tests.
The end result was, the seller was able to quickly install and fix her well system for the buyers. Not only did she install the right equipment for the sellers, but she did so, without losing too much profit on the house. Our price was fair and competitive, we saved her over $1,000 on the install price and she didn’t have to postpone her closing. Mission accomplished, you can’t ask for a better outcome, everyone was happy. We look forward to our new customer’s, the buyers.
When selling or buying a house, always get a second price. Not only can this save you money, but you can discover that you have options, maybe even a better solution to your problem.
Til’ next time, wishing you WELL.
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