New Berlin Radon Testing and Mitigation
New Berlin is the second largest community in Waukesha County and lies to the west of Milwaukee. Like most of Waukesha County, the radon levels for homes tend to be high. In fact, about half of the New Berlin area ranks among the highest radon levels in the state.
The map to the right shows the two zip codes for New Berlin. The light brown area (53151 zip code) indicates 42% to 58% of homes in this area had radon test levels greater than 4 pCi/L, the level at which the EPA recommends mitigation. The homes in the dark brown area (53146 area code) fare even worse: 59% to 100% them had radon levels greater than 4 pCi/L.
About The EPA’s 4 pCi/L Level For Radon Mitigation
The 4 pico Curies per liter level was set by the EPA back in the 1980s, when the cost of radon mitigation was around $1,200 to $2,500. They didn't want to force anyone to install an expensive mitigation system, but at the same time had to specify a level at which one should seriously consider taking action, due to the inherent risk. That level was determined to be 4 pCi/L.
To put this in perspective, the EPA has concluded the average radon level outdoors measures .4 pCi/L. According to the EPA today, the average indoor radon level is about 1.3 pCi/L. However, homes in many parts of Wisconsin tend to have higher radon levels than the national average.
Radon gas is everywhere, but in the small amounts present outdoors it poses little risk. The problem is when it is trapped indoors. You cannot see it or smell it, so the only way to know if your home has a high radon level is by testing. One thing to keep in mind, though: Radon is a radioactive gas, so there is no “safe level” of radon. We can mitigate the risk it poses, but can never completely eliminate it.
New Berlin Basement Remodel Starts With Radon Test
Lifetime Radon Solutions was contacted by New Berlin homeowner Kurt for a radon test. Kurt was planning to remodel his basement to add two more bedrooms, and wanted to know what the radon level was for his basement. He was aware of the risk radon poses, and was particularly concerned because these would be bedrooms for children. Kurt contacted Lifetime Radon Solutions and arranged to have a radon test done.
Because radon enters through cracks and gaps in the concrete foundation and walls of homes, radon levels are usually highest in the basement. Lifetime Radon Solutions placed two electronic continuous monitoring devices in the basement of Kurt’s home to record data on radon levels there. After 48 hours, we picked up the devices and took them back to analyze the data. The results showed an overall radon level average of 7.1 pCi/L—well above the national average of 1.3 pCi/L, but not at all unusual for the New Berlin area.
Radon Mitigation For New Berlin Homeowner Yields Impressive Results
After getting the bad news on radon levels in his basement, Kurt hired Lifetime Radon to install a radon mitigation system. Due to an awkward sump pump location, we could not put the PVC exhaust pipe in the sump pump at Kurt's house. Instead, we drilled a hole through the floor in an area where the exhaust pipe could be routed to the outside of the house without conflicting with the air conditioning system. Yes, we can do that! Our experienced radon mitigation system installers completed the entire installation in one day. Before leaving, they placed two radon monitoring devices in the same spots as they had been placed before to measure the radon levels after the mitigation system was installed. After 48 hours, we retrieved the units and took a look at the data. The results: An impressive .7 pCi/L!
With the new radon mitigation system in place, the homeowner proceeded with his plans to add two bedrooms in the basement--with the peace of mind that comes with knowing his children won't be breathing high levels of radon gas while in their new bedrooms. If you’re in a similar situation, or just concerned about the radon levels in your home, have it tested—especially if you spend a lot of time in your basement or are planning renovations to add more living space there.