Indoor Air Quality Issues and Solutions
So after the Nashville Flood my family and I faced numerous Indoor Air Quality issues. As a child I was diagnosed with allergies to dust, pollen, mold and mildew. So when the flood happened and we had issues with mold and outdoor contaminants I was encouraged to learn more about Indoor Air Quality and how different factors play into our indoor environment. This is when I found DocAir.
I want to encourage you to browse their website for more information and solutions, but for today’s blog I will try to touch on some of the highlights.
First what is Indoor Air Quality?
Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a term referring to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants.
I am sure it would not surprise you to know that Mold is one of the leading causes of Indoor Air Quality issues. Mold spores can cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Some mold can even be fatally toxic to humans. If you have mold it needs to be removed as soon as possible. Depending on how much of the mold will determine if you can handle the removal ,or if a professional is warranted. If the mold is visible there is no need to spend time and money on sampling as all mold growth is cleaned in the same manner.
The key to controlling mold is to control humidity levels. Ideally the relative humidity indoors should be between 35-55%. If the humidity is low you may experience symptoms like dry skin. If it is too high , condensation will occur on cool surfaces, such as windows, AC vents, floor joists and beams in the crawlspace. This condensation is an invitation to mold growth.
Something you may not have even considered as an Indoor Air Quality issue is the site drainage outside of your home or building. This plays a huge role in IAQ. For instance, if surface water is directed towards or is trapped against the foundation wall, moisture may enter the basement, concrete pad or crawlspace. The moisture in turn raises humidity levels and encourages mold growth. Check and may sure all gutters are properly fitted and well- maintained and that downspouts discharge water at least 6 ft. away from the building structure. It is important to make sure the soil near the foundation grades so the water flows away from the building eliminating any gullies or puddles. Keep leaves, mulch and pine straw, and debris away from the foundation as these items hold moisture.
Another factor in poor Indoor Air Quality is Negative Building Pressure.
Negative Building pressure results when an HVAC system inside a building draws in more air from the return ducts than it expels through the supply ducts.
Most buildings operate under some degree of negative pressure, which means some air must be introduced from the outside to balance the pressure on the inside. In an ideal situation the air would enter the HVAC unit through a valve or duct and be dehumidified before coming indoors. However, this is rarely the case. So the air finds ways to enter the home through means such as loose sealed windows and doors, cracks in the foundations and crawlspace. Overtime this increases the indoor relative humidity levels.
Although Crawlspaces are not intended to be a part of the breathing environment, because of negative pressure and cracks, mold, moisture, radon and other elements are being sucked up in to the building above. It is important to seal your crawlspace, plumbing, and ductwork to avoid toxic air traveling to the living space.
Routine Maintenance and Inspection of the HVAC system is a key component to good Indoor Air Quality.
- Set up and keep regular scheduled cleanings and inspections by a licensed professional HVAC contractor. Have them inspect the drainage pan and tube for proper flow. Have them check all ductwork, repair any leaks and damage as needed.
- Set the thermostat to a proper temperature like 72* to ensure both regular system cycling ( which provides dehumidification) and also to prevent condensation.
- Always have the fan on AUTO not ON. Leaving the fan ON causes the fan to run continually thus increasing negative building pressure issues.
After researching mold and Indoor Air Quality issues I enlisted the services of DocAir for my home. We used them for mold remediation services( 2 year guarantee). They also installed a dehumidifier in the crawlspace and sealed it as well. They did some drainage modification and site grading and installed a Proof Positive system to combat negative building pressure.
We are now “Indoor Air Quality” certified which brings great peace of mind to me and my family.
The dust in our house is down tremendously and our family allergies at home have dramatically decreased. We are very pleased with the results. TVA is also running a special for many of these services in which they will give a credit for up to $500.00 towards improvements. Flood victims are waived the initial inspection as long as a certified TVA vendor is contracted to do the work. We took part in this initiative. More here
Doc Air is an expert in IAQ issues. Thanks DocAir for all the research and helpful information.
For even more information about IAQ issues and how you can treat and improve your environment visit www.docair.com
DocAir provides services for residential, industrial, governmental, medical, and commercial clients throughout the South East.
- Flood Recovery
- Proof Positive- solution to negative building pressure
- IAQ evaluations
- Exposure Assessment
- Mold Abatement specification and remediation
- Testing and Sampling
- Drainage modification
- Expert Witness in IAQ area
- Forensic Investigations
- HVAC Systems analysis
- Ventilation Studies
If you have questions or need assistance, or know someone who needs help, feel free to contact Barry at firstname.lastname@example.org or call DocAir at 615-373-2498