Author Topic: Water, Radon, and Crawl Spaces  (Read 2559 times)


  • Stubble
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Water, Radon, and Crawl Spaces
« on: May 19, 2015, 06:26:46 PM »
First let me apologize for the length of this post.

My SO and I are purchasing our first home (*yippee*). We've hit a few bumps along the inspection process though. We are exactly a week away from closing on the home. We've had our normal house inspection, appraisal, and water testing. The inspection was ordered by us but the water testing was ordered by the sellers a month ago and we finally just got the water report today (really irritated about the time to get the report).

Here's some of our findings and some background info about the home:
1. There's a full basement. In the basement, there appears to be two "crawl spaces". I found the crawl spaces to be very odd though. Basically, you walk down the basement stairs and to the left there is a half broken wall where crawl space #1 is at. Look to the right, and again another half broken wall with crawl space #2. Both spaces are filled with dirt.

At first, I was curious if the dirt could just be removed along with the rest of the broken wall. But it seems like it's a bit difficult to tell if the foot of the house in those corners go down as far as the rest of the basement.

2. The radon level is way too high (approx. 15 pci, needs to be no more than 4-preferably under 2). So there is no doubt about needing a radon mitigation system. Based on research and talking to a couple people who've had a system put in, it'll cost approximately $1500 for the system. Because of the crawl spaces being open and the dirt being exposed, the crawl spaces probably have to be dealt with to help with the radon levels in addition to the radon mitigation system.

3. The house has a private well. The water report showed to tests: Test #1 water directly from well. This came back with multiple issues, but honestly I would've been surprised if there wasn't because the area we live in. Test #2 came from the kitchen sink. The water pump in the basement has a filter which was replaced after the test was done. The test showed that some items were cleared up from the filter, but two items were still much higher than the state allowable amounts. It seems like an "ion exchange" system will remove the two items that are still a problem.

Now that we have all of the inspections and reports back, I've started searching for solutions and this is where I'm hoping some people can shed some light on their own experiences. I understand no two experiences are the same, but I enjoy filling my noggin with as much information and experiences as possible so I can make a better decision.

Although I love the idea of not paying a company for water, I do recognize that we will need to have our water tested probably once every year or every couple years. when seeing these sheets filled with numbers and levels I don't understand, it makes me wish the house was connected to the city lines. But then again, even being hooked up to the city water we may still need additional filters and an ion exchange (our current apartment and previous apartment have horrendously hard water).

Has anyone had a well and then connected to a water line? Do you wish you still had a well?

Has anyone had a radon mitigation system put in? Or have you had a crazy crawl space that had to be sealed up or a crawl space that could easily be seen in the basement? Or a crawl space that you were able to just remove the dirt and you didn't understand why the dirt was there in the first place? Any idea on how you can even tell how far the footing to the house go down behind the dirt?


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Water, Radon, and Crawl Spaces
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2015, 07:33:08 AM »
Given the level, I would consider requiring the seller to put in a system and retest it.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Water, Radon, and Crawl Spaces
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2015, 08:29:26 AM »
I agree with previous poster.

We bought a house knowing it might have radon (it is a pretty good bet in our area) We are just waiting for the test results.

All the other problems though the water the crawl space, the dirt? Was your home inspector able to give you any clues about the crawlspace? Has anyone been inside them, or have you scraped away any of the dirt to see what is behind there? It would make me VERY nervous...and I grew up with a blocked off gold mine entrance and oar shoots in our basement. It was mostly okay except when a portion of our yard sunk by a few meet when the tunnel underneath it caved in.

I'm just wondering if you are  looking at the house objectively and are prepared for all the potential problems with being first time home owners, do you have the skills and the financial cushion in case things get more expensive then you planned?


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Water, Radon, and Crawl Spaces
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2015, 09:07:27 AM »
I see huge red flags here. Water problems, crawl space issues, and a super-high radon level?  Unless there is some pressing reason you have to have this particular house, I would move on. But if you want it, I would make the seller put in the radon mitigation and then re-test…as others have advised. Crawl spaces can be encapsulated…sump pumps put in the basement…foundations sealed…Bee-Dry types of systems put in…big de-humidifiers purchased...but this is all horrendously expensive. Do you want to do that? And the water issues are worrisome. If you had good water from your well, that would be one thing…but not only are you going to have high electric bills from the pump….but the water isn't good anyway. It doesn't sound like a healthy house, all in all. And it sounds like it will cost you a fortune to get it up to speed. Personally, I would just walk away, and find a better house.

I bought a house two years ago with similar basement issues to yours, and it has cost me $7,000 in getting it up to speed. (Water and radon were not issues.) For me, it was OK because this house faces a 4,400 acre park and the park's walking trails…it was worth it to me to fix up the house to be able to live in this wonderful location.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Water, Radon, and Crawl Spaces
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2015, 07:29:41 PM »
Around here, every house has radon issues, guaranteed. If it's a basement, they put in the std system for about 1k, if it's a dirt floor or crawl space, they have to put in the regular system plus cover the crawl space in plastic. It doesn't add hugely to the cost and isn't a big deal (although the seller should expect to pay).  Water, I have no idea.


  • Bristles
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Re: Water, Radon, and Crawl Spaces
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2015, 08:58:30 PM »
I put in a radon system a few years ago and it was $2100. I have a well but connected to town water.
With mitigation you need to carefully scope placement to make sure you don't end up needing 2 systems. I have a small house so 1 draw point was enough. In my parents house they needed 2 draw points so double the cost. If you increase the draw with a heavier duty fan, your electric bill will also increase. Dirt crawl space might require concrete walls to section it off. Just like asbestos, radon should be remediate by current owner
I use well water for my extensive gardens and very happy it isn't treated town water, though I filter all drinking water lines.


  • Stubble
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Re: Water, Radon, and Crawl Spaces
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2015, 04:27:40 PM »
Thank you all for responding. Apparently my reply didn't post earlier lol.

Our area it's extremely common to have a radon system. The sellers have already agreed to cover up to a specific dollar amount for the system. In our area, the majority of systems cost $1500. Im sure ours may cost a bit more than that if we need to cover the crawl space.

The house is relatively small. The basement is concrete floor. There's a spot for a sump pump but i don't believe there is an actual one put in, so chances are the radon mitigation system will use that hole.

As for the water issue, this is also very common for our area. We are requesting the seller to fix the water issue (my attorney is phrasing it more as a requirement for them to fix rather than request). We were suppose to close this upcoming Tuesday, but it's going to have to wait. Really wish they would've gotten us the water results when they were suppose to. This could've been resolved weeks ago. Ugh. Oh well, guess we should really expect there to be hiccups in the process.