Air Quality

The Inspectors Goals

Ventilation is a key factor to control air quality and the inspector must be clear, concise, and objective in his findings. The inspector should not make health recommendations or claims. An air quality inspection should be detailed to the conditions of the environment. Well-written reports should be given to the client to help solve poor airflow and maintain air ventilation without compromising heat loss.

Background

For the last several decades much attention has been focused on indoor air pollution and its associated heath risk. Since the energy crisis in the 1970’s, changes in building material and new construction techniques have increased levels of pollutants. This has created problems related to indoor air quality. The need to conserve energy and the need for well-ventilated living and working areas is often in direct conflict with each other.

Research, with extensive new studies, tells us that we now spend up to 90% of our time indoors. Recent studies show a worker’s productivity may drop by 50% due to air quality. Inadequate ventilation can raise indoor levels of pollutants and may not bring in enough outdoor air to dilute the indoor air pollutants within the environment. Another cause that will add to indoor air problems, is the increase in temperature and humidity, prevalent in the last decades. Besides mold there are other potential sources that give cause to control and monitor indoor air quality.

  • Asbestos
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Formaldehyde
  • Pressed Wood Products
  • Household Cleaning and Maintenance
  • Personal Care Products
  • Nitrogen Dioxide Pesticides
  • Second Hand Smoke
  • Radon
  • Construction Material
  • Ventilation

There are numerous mechanical devices and outdoor-vented fans that will remove air from a single room, such as a bathroom or kitchen. The use of air handling systems (fans and ductwork) will continuously remove indoor air and bring in filtered, conditioned outdoor air throughout the environment.

The continuous flow of filtered air is known as Air Exchange Rate (AER). AER is the rate at which outdoor air replaces indoor air. The industry standards recommend a minimum ventilation rate of 1 cfm per 100-sq. ft. of floor space, plus 7.5 cfm per bedroom.

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