Indoor Air Quality for Home and Business
Indoor Air Quality or IAQ is the air you breathe while being indoors and is crucial to good health and wellbeing, especially in homes and places of business where you spend a large amount of time. While many things can affect indoor air quality, some of the main contributing factors are poor ventilation, high humidity, particles, biological pollutants, and VOC’s. Below is a brief description of each to better understand them and how they can negatively affect the air you breathe.
Proper ventilation is key to helping to dilute indoor airborne particles and pollutants as well as keeping humidity from creeping too high. A suggested target for relative humidity (RH) for an indoor space is 30 – 50 percent. You can tract indoor humidity by using a hygrometer available at big box or online retailers. Exhaust fans should always be used to prevent an increase of humidity while cooking or bathing where moisture build up is common. In warmer climates, HVAC systems may assist in adding humidity to indoor air by pulling the warm humid air inside, in which case a dehumidifier is recommended. Additionally, HVAC systems can also be contaminated with mold in the duct lining or have bacteria on the filters or coils spreading these dangerous pollutants throughout the structure, so regular inspections and maintenance should be performed as well as keeping an eye on and changing air filters regularly.
According to the EPA, “they state that biological contaminants include bacteria, molds, mildew, viruses, animal dander and cat saliva, house dust, mites, cockroaches, and pollen. There are many sources of these pollutants. Pollens originate from plants; viruses are transmitted by people and animals; bacteria are carried by people, animals, and soil and plant debris; and household pets are sources of saliva and animal dander. The protein in urine from rats and mice is a potent allergen. When it dries, it can become airborne. Contaminated central air handling systems can become breeding grounds for mold, mildew, and other sources of biological contaminants and can then distribute these contaminants through the home”. The EPA further concludes “that standing water water-damaged materials or wet surfaces also serve as a breeding ground for molds, mildews, bacteria, and insects. House dust mites, source of one of the most powerful biological allergens, grow in damp, warm environments”.
This can be a mix of solid and liquid droplets suspended in the air. They can be made of many things such as organic chemicals, soot, metals, soil or dust, pollen, and mold spores. Keeping a home or office free of clutter as well as practicing good cleaning habits are important to control the buildup however in a catch-22, such common things as vacuuming, dusting, cooking and smoking produce particle pollution in an indoor environment so as stated above, good ventilation is important.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs):
The easy definition is VOCs are organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperatures. The EPA states, “Examples include: paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions”. The EPA continues, “Organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products. Paints, varnishes, and wax all contain organic solvents, as do many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing, and hobby products. Fuels are made up of organic chemicals. All these products can release organic compounds while you are using them, and, to some degree, when they are stored”.
Our comprehensive Mold Assessment involves a thorough examination of a property to determine if a moisture issue is occurring that could harbor mold growth or if mold is already present.
This includes the following areas of a home that are known to be common points of entry for moisture intrusion:
- Exterior Components
- HVAC System & Ductwork
- Plumbing System
- Attic & Crawl Spaces
- Beneath Cabinets & Appliances with water hookups
We will also collect air samples from inside the home to be tested for mold spores that could be contributing to poor indoor air quality. If potentially toxic molds are discovered, you will be given a protocol to follow for hiring a mold remediator. A full report of our findings will be delivered within 24 hours, including photographs and video of our findings, as necessary.
In addition to a Mold Assessment, we are also able to test for other airborne particulates that are known to negatively impact indoor air quality. We can conduct the following testing services:
- Volatile Organic Compound (VOCs) Testing
- Silica Testing
- Allergen Testing (for allergens other than mold)
The air samples that are collected will be tested at a laboratory for these specific contaminants. You will then be presented with a full analysis of the laboratory findings, typically within 24 hours. This makes us different from many others, whose test results take far longer to be delivered.
At Coastal Air Assessments, we work our way from the outside in, first identifying potential issues at the exterior of the home that could be causing poor air quality inside the home. Our Mold Assessments and Air Sampling Tests are timely, accurate, and a true asset for Florida homeowners. Contact us today for your free consultation.