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Understanding IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

 

Indoor air quality is defined by the depiction of concentrations of pollutants and thermal conditions that may negatively affect the health, comfort, and performance of a building’s occupants.  Indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air are a primary cause of indoor air quality problems in homes. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough fresh outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the home. High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some pollutants.

The Environmental Protection Agency states, A good way to judge whether your home has or could develop indoor air problems is to identify potential sources of indoor air pollution. Although the presence of such sources does not necessarily mean that you have an indoor air quality problem, being aware of the type and number of potential sources is an important step toward assessing the air quality in your home.

Look for signs of problems with the ventilation in your home. Signs that can indicate your home may not have enough ventilation include:

  • moisture condensation on windows or walls
  • smelly or stuffy air
  • dirty central heating and air-cooling equipment
  • and areas where books, shoes, or other items become moldy

To detect odors in your home, step outside for a few minutes, and then upon reentering your home, note whether odors are noticeable.

Immediate health effects could soon start to show up after exposure to single or multiple pollutants causing symptoms such as eye irritation, nose, throat and respiratory troubles, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.  The immediate reactions to indoor air pollutants depends on several factors including the age and preexisting medical conditions of the individual and vary greatly from one person to another.  If the irritant is swiftly identified and remediated most symptoms will be go away on their own.  On the other hand, long-term exposure to poor indoor air quality could develop into lasting effects that could seriously jeopardize one’s overall health and lifespan.  Some long-term effects and conditions associated with years of consistent or repeated periods of exposure could be severe asthma and other respiratory diseases, heart disease and cancer.  It is important to property identify and property treat indoor pollutants.  If the symptoms fade or go away when a person is away from the area, for example, an effort should be made to identify indoor air sources that may be possible causes. Some effects may be made worse by an inadequate supply of outdoor air coming indoors or from the heating, cooling, or humidity conditions prevalent indoors.

Some common indoor pollutants that contribute to negative indoor air quality are:

  • Secondhand Tobacco Smoke
  • Indoor Combustion
  • Radon
  • Molds
  • Pet Dander
  • Silica
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Dust
  • Bacteria

If you think that you may have a mold problem in your home or want to ensure that your indoor air quality is not making you sick, we can help.

Coastal Air Assessments will conduct a Mold Assessment which 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 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 to 48 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.

 

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.