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Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

Mold, Mildew, and Bacteria

Mold, mildew, and bacteria can create hazardous indoor environments. Preventative measures such as cleaning drain pans, clearing drains, ensuring proper drainage from basins can help prevent adverse conditions from occurring in the systems. Proper positive air pressurization and humidity control (60% and less) can prevent other hard structures from condensing and creating growth zones for airborne pollutants.

Humidity and Temperature Reporting

Some buildings require special needs that warrant the control of humidity, such as computer rooms or operating rooms. This control is accomplished by adding humidification or dehumidification controls and equipment. In office buildings, it is generally advised to keep relative humidities below 60% in the cooling season and above 20% or 30% during the heating season.

Temperatures and humidity are recorded and compared to baseline recordings and used to make recommendations and adjustments to systems.

HVAC Systems

The term “HVAC system” refers to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment that provides heating, cooling, filtered outdoor air, and humidity control. The features of an HVAC system in any building will depend on several things, such as the design, climate, building codes in effect at the time of design, budget, initial use of the building, owner and designer preferences, and any other modifications that have been made. An HVAC system can range from a stand-alone unit to a large, centrally-controlled system. Some buildings use only natural ventilation or exhaust fans to remove smells and other contaminants.

Indoor Air Quality

All buildings require a supply of outdoor air, and depending on what the conditions are outside, the air may need to be heated or cooled off before it is distributed throughout the building. As the air from outside is drawn into the building, air escapes, thus helping stop unwanted infiltration.

The components of an HVAC system to maintain indoor air quality are outdoor air intake; mixed-air plenum and outdoor air control; air filter; heating and cooling coils; humidification or dehumidification equipment.

Indoor Air Contaminates

Indoor air quality problems can come from when contaminants get into a building from the outdoor air. Wall-mounted or rooftop intakes are sometimes placed adjacent to or downwind of exhaust outlets or other sources of contaminants. Problems can also arise if debris builds up in the intake, which means airflow is being blocked and potentially harvesting contaminants.

Indoor air quality problems can also occur if the leakage site is a door to a loading dock, parking garage, or other similar area associated with contaminants.

Indoor Air and Contaminant Testing

Capital Air Balance tests for contaminants and secures lab samples from the building site. Typical tests include particulate testing, gas composition testing, and testing of hard surfaces where contaminants such as mold and mildew can grow.