IAQ dangers continue to hamper efforts to create healthy indoor air. Facilities managers in all industries, as well as in schools and government facilities, rely on the help of qualified IAQ firms to keep their buildings safe. As 2022 comes to an end we continue our look at the IAQ issues we covered this year as well as our services and methods that address them.
The IAQ Dangers of Allergens
As fall began we used the opportunity to remind facilities managers about the IAQ dangers allergens present to building occupants. Avoiding allergens is difficult both indoors and outside, but the identification of allergens remains a top concern for building owners. As we discussed, allergens exist in the carpeting, upholstery, and furniture of office buildings. As well, pets, bedding, mattresses, and toys present IAQ dangers in the home. They also enter buildings from outside sources in the form of pollen, mold, and bacteria.
To reduce allergens and the IAQ dangers they present, we recommended our Building Health Check to test the indoor environment based on HVAC zones. This evaluation uses lab and field tests to analyze biological conditions within buildings. Readings on wall moisture, temperature, and relative humidity also give our technicians a clear view of IAQ dangers and how to deal with them. We also suggested the PURE-Duct method as a way to knock and remove allergens from ductwork and prevent them from circulating.
Flooding and IAQ Dangers
Flooding affects much of the country regardless of the season. Hurricane season poses dangers to folks living in the southeastern part of the country, while rain storms cause flash flooding throughout the Midwest and other regions. Earlier this fall, we addressed the IAQ dangers possessed by Hurricane Ian which wreaked havoc from Flordia to North Carolina. With flood waters come IAQ dangers such as mold and viruses. With water, intrusion comes bacteria such as Listeria and Legionella.
Other contaminants enter buildings during flooding as well. This includes raw sewage and chemicals from manufacturing plants and refineries. Again, we recommended our Building Health Check to address IAQ dangers. A part of this health assessment includes allergen screening, test and balance reporting, wall and floor moisture analysis, and temperature and humidity logging. An HVAC Hygiene Assessment is also an important part of the process by gauging the effects of the HVAC system on IAQ.
Clearance Testing for Mold
Mold is an IAQ threat year-round. This fall we also took a look at the EPA’s guidelines on mold remediation. The EPA recommends using a remediation manager or qualified IAQ firm to address mold issues. The first step is finding the mold. Once located, further inspections and assessments follow. Corrective action comes next with clearance testing providing the final step in the mold remediation process.
Our full suite of Building Science Services verifies the effectiveness of any attempt at mold removal. This includes our Building Health Check based on HVAC zones, as well as the HVAC Hygiene Assessment to gauge the impact of the system on IAQ dangers. To ensure the continuation of proper indoor air quality, we recommended monitoring. For example, our IAQ Guard®2.0 system uses building monitors to track changes in indoor environmental conditions. When an IAQ threat presents itself, technicians and building engineers act fast to correct the issue. In addition to these services, WTI | Pure Air Control Services offers emergency response services to tackle IAQ issues caused by disasters.
The Building Envelope and IAQ dangers
IAQ dangers to the health of building occupants are something we’ve addressed repeatedly in this space. From allergy and asthma symptoms to fatigue, headaches, and skin irritation, poor indoor air quality is harmful. We also focused on the ways IAQ impacts cognitive functioning, affects student test scores, and lowers worker morale. To protect staff and students, we recommend testing the building envelope for moisture, mold, and bacteria. This requires a host of assessments and screenings as well as analysis by our laboratory at WTI.
Air pressure testing of the building envelope also addresses the IAQ dangers as it minimizes air leakage and reduces energy costs. Further protections come as a result of our HVAC Hygiene Assessment. This evaluation of the system covers the drain pan, blower, EV coil, and ductwork. To protect the indoor environment going forward, we again suggested the IAQ Guard® 2.0 system track changes affecting IAQ.
Fix IAQ Issues Today
Together in 2022, we learned about IAQ dangers caused by natural disasters and those present in our natural environment. Whatever the cause WTI – PACS helps schools, universities, government institutions, and commercial businesses provide healthy, clean air to building occupants. In the coming year, we will continue to provide information to help facilities managers address these issues. To learn more, contact WTI – PACS at 1-800-422-7873 or email us here.