Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
Healthy Homes specialization in Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). Above all else, this is the goal of efforts put forth, improve each structures’ IAQ!
Poor Indoor Air Quality IAQ can be the result of deficient building design, occupant activities or acts of nature.
An indoor air quality investigation protocol is best characterized as information gathering, hypothesis formation, and hypothesis testing. It generally begins with Healthy Homes performing a walkthrough of the structure for four basic factors that influence indoor air quality:
• the occupants
• the HVAC system
• possible pollutant pathways
• possible contaminant sources
Optimal Indoor Air Quality results from a combination of efforts. Air cleaning can be a useful adjunct to source control and ventilation but has certain limitations. Particle control devices such as the typical furnace filter are inexpensive but do not effectively capture small particles; high performance air filters capture the smaller, respirable particles but are relatively expensive to install and operate. Mechanical filters do not remove gaseous pollutants. Some specific gaseous pollutants may be removed by adsorbent beds, but these devices can be expensive and require frequent replacement of the adsorbent material. Air cleaners may be useful, but have limitations.
Pollutant source removal or modification is an effective approach to resolving an IAQ problem when sources are known and control is feasible. Examples include routine maintenance of HVAC systems, ie, replacement of filters; replacement of water-stained ceiling tile and carpeting; institution of smoking restrictions; venting contaminant source emissions to the outdoors; storage and use of paints, adhesives, solvents, and pesticides in well ventilated areas, and use of these pollutant sources during periods of non-occupancy; and allowing time for building materials in new or remodeled areas to off-gas pollutants before occupancy. Several of these options may be exercised at one time.
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