Indoor Air Quality:
ADCON Environmental Services IAQ FACTS
In today’s structures, to prevent the buildup of carbon dioxide (which humans breathe out) and other gases, at least some of a building’s air must be replaced - via the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system - with fresh air at regular intervals. Yet, for economic reasons, buildings can’t continuously bring in outside air. They are designed to keep and recycle some of the indoor air. Contaminants get into the fans, filters, and ductwork of these HVAC systems. Indoor Air Quality has become a matter of serious health and comfort concern in the past two decades.
TESTING & INVESTIGATIONS
ADCON’s modern air testing methods and investigatory procedures permit you to have a scientific opinion about whether a building is truly “sick.” We incorporate the use of thermal imagining cameras, moisture meters and an assorted types of probes. Various air gases can be measured by these procedures. The presence of molds, bacteria, and other microbes can be detected and measured. This presence can be compared with current acceptable levels of such gases and microbes.
Building design can be also inspected. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers has developed a standard (No.62-1989) for structure and HVAC design which gives guidelines on how to build with improved air quality in mind. ASHRAE has a newly-proposed Indoor Air Standard (No. 62-2001) which is under review.
HVAC Systems & Duct Cleaning
HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) cleaning has been around since the advent of air conditioning. But in recent years, it has taken on a greater importance. With the buzz phrase “Indoor Air Quality” seeping into the public consciousness, more people are becoming aware of the quality of air in the buildings they inhabit.
The dirt within a duct is a hodgepodge of whatever is floating in the air. Common particles include flakes of human skin, animal hair and dander, fungi spores, vehicle emissions particles, and soil dust. Since all of these can act as allergens to sensitive people, a buildup of these in a duct system can provide a potential pool of irritants to those who suffer from allergies.
In extreme cases, dirt buildup can become so heavy that the movement of air through the duct is restricted, resulting in less air output at increased energy costs.
Microbial growth in HVAC systems tends to occur wherever dampness is found. In the Caribbean, this is normally restricted to the air handler. (In humid climates, such as the Caribbean, the entire duct system may be susceptible.) Microbial growth can result in higher air concentrations of microscopic organisms (fungi, bacteria, algae, etc.). This can result in illness or symptoms of illness (headache, nausea, sore throat, etc.) in building occupants. In extreme cases this has resulted in legal threats or action by building inhabitants.
Standard duct cleaning procedures can dramatically reduce or eliminate microbial growth. More information on HVAC cleaning can be obtained at the Website of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association: www.nadca.com