Wisconsin, if you were not already aware, is one of the US states most at risk of higher than recommended levels of radon. This is because Wisconsin is a state that was filled to the brim with glaciers and other ice formations. These sorts of cold water formations had the tendency to break down and move land while also creating/leaving deposits of soil and rock formations that have arguably led to the release of higher than average levels of radon into the local area.
The risk of radon radiation remains very real. In fact, radon gas itself decays into radioactive particles – which, in turn damage the lungs when humans breathe in. Breaking down further and further, these noxious radioactive particles release small bursts of energy ultimately leading to lung cancer. According to the EPA, radon has been the number one cause of lung cancer for non-smoking patients!
In order to help you combat radon radiation exposure in your Wisconsin home, we here at Lifetime Radon Solutions, Inc. have prepared for you this quick guide – in order for you to be more prepared to protect your loved ones living and residing within your home.
What are the Risks of Radon in Wisconsin?
Indeed, as stated above – the state of Wisconsin (along with many other midwestern US states) – has a heightened risk of radon radiation due to the high number of glaciers and other ice formations that were located within the local area. These formations break down, producing radon gas, which in turn breaks down into radioactive daughter particles. Moreover, the energy efficiency construction practices in WI, adopted to keep homes warm during turbulent winters and cool during hot summers, ultimately trap the radon gas within the structure allowing it to grow to higher concentration than recommended for indoor air. Once in the lungs, these radioactive particles can break down even further into cancerous bursts of energy – which as you can imagine is extremely hazardous to health!
How can you Prevent Exposure to Radon?
In order to prevent and minimize your loved ones’ exposure to radon in the home – it is important to seek professional help. Professionals, such as Lifetime Radon Solutions, Inc., can start by safely, efficiently, and reliably detecting higher than recommended levels of radon in your home. Once higher levels are detected, we can also install a custom, comprehensive radon mitigation systems as well.
What is the Treatment for High Levels of Radon?
Recusing radon in residential structures is most often achieved through what is known as sub-slab depressurization. That is, the ability to create a negative pressure under the foundation of the structure that is greater than the natural pull of the home on the soil itself. While the concept is relatively simple, implementing the solution on each home can vary greatly depending on the homes construction. It is important to consult with a professional, certified radon mitigation contractor like Lifetime Radon Solutions, Inc. because building envelope science can be a tricky area to navigate as a homeowner.
What if my House has High Radon Levels?
If your house has high radon levels, it is important to consult with a certified mitigation professional because each home has its own unique set of circumstances. In addition to seeking out a certified radon mitigation contractor, it is also important to consider both industry experience and years in business as well. This is because knowledge about the dangers of radon has grown so much in recent years and many contractors, tradesman and even handymen have become “opportunity jumpers” - viewing radon mitigation and testing as a new source of income. Many times, while these contractors may have professional certifications, they do not have a good understanding of how to address radon in certain, difficult situations and in varying forms of construction. This leads to mistakes, injury and even higher radon levels of radon in some circumstances. Moreover, we receive phone calls nearly every day from homeowners that had a system installed improperly or the contractor who initially put in the system is no longer in business and cannot be reached. Lifetime Radon Solutions, Inc. has been in business since 1998 and has successfully mitigated well over 20,000 homes throughout WI and countless commercial properties in both WI and all over the country. While we strive to get better and learn new things each and every day, our mitigation technicians have seen most situations in the past and are experienced in addressing even the most difficult radon mitigation projects.
Testing and Mitigation Strategies for Radon in Wisconsin
Both radon testing and radon mitigation are not regulated by the state government in Wisconsin so many times we as professional contractors see very interesting and concerning approaches to both radon mitigation and radon testing. However, while there is no state certification, licensure or permit requirements for radon mitigation in Wisconsin, the WI Department of Health Services does recommend hiring a NRPP/AARST certified contractor. Our technicians are certified by AARST and the NRPP for radon mitigation and radon testing and we follow the national standards set forth by these accrediting organizations when implementing both radon testing and radon mitigation protocol.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is radon mitigation required in Wisconsin?
Radon mitigation is not required in WI but radon testing (and mitigation if the levels return above the EPA action level of 4.0 pCi/L) is highly recommended by the US EPA, the WI DHS, the CDC, the WHO and virtually every other health service organization worldwide. The consistent recomendation is to test EVERY residential home every 2-years even if you have already tested your home in the pasr or have a mitigation system already installed. This is because radon levels can change and vary greatly depending on an unpredictable amount of circumstances, not limited to remodeling, settling of soil under the foundation, landscaping around the home, and many home upgrades like better insulation and even new windows. The only sure way to know if you have a radon issue is to test your home.
Where is radon most commonly found in homes?
Because radon is a soil gas and also a heavier molecule, radon is most often found to be highest in the lowest level of the home. In most Wisconsin homes, that tends to be the basement area. However, if you live in a slab-on-grade home that does not have a basement, it is still VERY common to have elevated radon levels. Additionally, HVAC systems can spread radon throughout the home through the ducting systems and it is not unheard of to find radon in building materials - especially those with natural stone or masonry compounds. In some rare circumstances, these building materials can off-gas radon leading to detecably high levels of radon from these sources on upper floors. Lastly, if you have elevated levels of radon in your well-water, sometimes radon gas can be detected in the steam produced during a hot shower or bath.
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Brian S. Thompson