10 Reasons Why Indoor Air Quality Testing is Important

We take 20,000 breaths a day and spend 90% of our time indoors. Do you know what’s in the air you’re breathing? From asbestos and allergens to metals and mold, air pollutants of every kind can linger in many Lehigh Valley homes and offices, making an indoor air quality test more critical than ever. In this article, we’ve summarized ten reasons why.

 

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) testing is important because it:

Identifies Harmful Pollutants that may Otherwise Go Undetected

Even in the most well-maintained homes and offices, billions of microscopic pollutants are often present. An indoor air quality test will identify any unusual suspects, so they can be treated before they cause damage to your property or health.

Prevents Buildup of 28+ known Contaminants

An indoor air quality test screens for dozens of known contaminants, including mercury, metals, mold, allergens, asbestos, airborne chemicals, and fungi. We’ll stop them in their tracks and ensure that they don’t build up in your home or office.

Read the full list of pollutants that our indoor air quality test detects.

Improves Health

An indoor air quality test that reveals harmful irritants in your home or office can be the first line of defense against many health-related symptoms triggered by poor air quality, including:

• Irritated eyes
• Burning nose and throat
• Headaches
• Dizziness
• Fatigue
• Worsening symptoms of allergies, respiratory illnesses, heart disease, or cancer
• In rare cases of high concentrations, death (such as carbon monoxides)

Reduces Absence Rates at Work

If poor air quality at work is causing health-related symptoms for you, your colleagues, or employees, an indoor air quality test can lead to cleaner and healthier air at the office.

Saves Money in the Long Run

An indoor air quality test can determine whether dirty ducts are to blame for poor air quality. Besides improving the air quality, cleaned ducts can also extend your HVAC system’s life, and prevent costly repairs.

Lowers Energy Usage and Costs

An indoor air quality test that points to dirty ducts can also help you achieve a properly cleaned and maintained HVAC system, reducing your monthly energy usage and costs.

Protects Your Home Year-Round

An indoor air quality test examines the air in your home to recognize dangerous pollutants, but it doesn’t stop there. We also create a whole-house Clean Air System that purifies the air and supports safe and healthful indoor air quality year-round.

Enhances Comfort

Whether at work or home, an indoor air quality test will set the stage for fresher indoor air with a cleaner smell, reduced odors, and fewer health implications. These factors play a significant role in enhancing comfort and happiness.

Elevates Performance and Productivity

Studies on the effect of indoor air quality on performance and productivity have found that poor indoor air quality can reduce work performance by up to 6-9%. An indoor air quality test can reveal the pollutants to eliminate to restore healthy productivity levels.

Lends Peace of Mind

As we’ve outlined in this list, poor air quality can be detrimental to our health, property, and even finances. An indoor air quality test can uncover the answers you need to improve your indoor environment for a healthier, happier, and more productive work and home life.

Contact us to learn more about indoor air quality testing and home air allergen testing. With a focus on service, quality, and professionalism, we’re your local source for quality indoor air.

What Goes Into Commercial Space Air Testing and Its Importance

6 Critical Commercial Air Quality Testing Measurements

Indoor air quality isn’t only a concerning factor in the home – it also affects businesses, building managers, tenants, and employees who spend most of their working hours indoors in commercial environments. Poor commercial air quality can take a toll on health, comfort, wellbeing, and productivity levels, costing tens of billions of dollars each year in lost productivity and medical care costs. However, an EPA report to Congress concluded that improved indoor air quality at work could increase productivity and reduce lost working days.

Commercial Air Quality Testing Measurements

If you’re a Lehigh Valley business owner or facility manager, commercial air quality testing can help you identify and remedy harmful pollutants lurking in your space, enhancing environmental safety and your bottom line. In this article, we’ve outlined the six critical measurements that go into our commercial air quality testing process and why each one is vitally important.

Relative Humidity (RH) Testing

Relative humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air, and concrete is a common RH source in commercial spaces. RH testing is the recommended method for assessing a concrete slab’s moisture conditions, the best predictor of its dryness. Guidelines from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommend 30-60% relative humidity in a commercial space to inhibit microbial growth and promote optimal comfort.

Air Velocity Testing

Air velocity refers to air speed in a commercial environment, an essential factor for thermal comfort. Improper air velocity can make a space feel stuffy, drafty, or otherwise uncomfortable. As part of a comprehensive commercial air quality testing process, an air velocity measurement can help you optimize your building’s thermal environmental conditions for employee comfort.

Carbon Monoxide Testing

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless contaminate that can have severe health consequences, including chest pain, fatigue, impaired vision, or even brain damage or death at too high levels. Our commercial air quality testing will detect any signs of carbon monoxide in your office or industrial space to help keep its occupants safe.

Carbon Dioxide Testing

Poorly ventilated commercial spaces can cause a buildup of carbon dioxide (CO2), often making employees feel drowsy and resulting in lower productivity, loss of concentration, and decision-making challenges. Our commercial air quality testing detects CO2 levels in your building, which provides a useful foundation for understanding your HVAC system’s efficiency.

Formaldehyde Testing

A common chemical in building materials and manufacturing processes, formaldehyde is a pungent gas that can cause a range of health issues, including sore throat, burning eyes, breathing difficulties, nausea, rashes, allergic reactions, respiratory problems, and cancer. A reading from our independent commercial air quality testing professionals can ensure your company doesn’t exceed safe levels.

Particulate Testing

Particulate matter (PM) is a complex mixture of solid and/or liquid particles suspended in the air. These particles are measured in micrometers, with the number after the PM representing the average particle diameter in microns (1/1000 of a millimeter). For instance, PM10 describes 10-micrometer diameter particles. The smaller the particle, the greater the danger. PM10 particles and smaller can travel deep in the lungs, where they can affect your respiratory system, heart, and other systems. Particulate testing can identify whether your building has small particles that require filtration, often as part of an HVAC system.

The Importance of ASHRAE 113 Compliance

As the EPA has observed, even the most well-managed buildings can experience low indoor air quality episodes, highlighting the importance of commercial air quality testing and compliance with the ASHRAE 113 standards on room air diffusion. As indoor air quality (IAQ) experts, we can help ensure your commercial space is legally up to code by taking these critical measurements for enhanced health, safety, and profitability. Contact us to learn more about indoor air quality testing for commercial buildings today.

Why Air Quality Testing is Critical in 2021

As we covered in a recent blog post, air quality testing is important for many reasons, including improving health and reducing work absences. However, the past year’s events have revealed even more critical health-related reasons to know what’s in your indoor air. In addition to threats from allergens and bacteria, dangerous airborne viruses like COVID-19 can lurk in your environment, increasing the risk of disease spread and other health consequences.

In this article, we’ll cover more about how poor air quality affects your health and summarize a few types of air quality testing to protect yourself and those around you in 2021.

How Poor Air Quality Affects Your Health

Indoor air testing helps diagnose the causes of poor air quality that can affect your health in the following ways:

Infectious Disease Spread

When a person sneezes or coughs, they release tiny water or mucous droplets filled with viruses and bacteria into the air. Inhaling airborne viruses or bacteria can spread coughs, colds, influenza, COVID-19, and other infectious diseases. Congested indoor environments and poor air circulation are a couple of the factors that can promote the spread of disease. Viruses and bacteria thrive in these conditions and circulate through poorly maintained ventilation systems, creating unhealthy spaces.

Adverse Irritant Effects

Whether in response to a single or repeated exposure to an indoor air pollutant, some people may experience irritation of the eyes, throat, or nose. Other common irritant effects of poor air quality include headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Experts aren’t sure why some people experience these effects more than others. Still, they have identified a few factors that influence the likelihood of these responses, including age, preexisting medical conditions, and individual sensitivity.

Long-term Health Conditions

When repeatedly exposed to a harmful indoor air quality pollutant, some people may be at risk for developing long-term health conditions that can be debilitating or fatal, such as respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer. The risk of these severe health conditions even further highlights the need for indoor air quality testing to identify and remove damage-causing pollutants before they harm.

Health Benefits of Indoor Air Quality Testing

In 2021 and beyond, Indoor air quality testing will likely play a more significant role as businesses and families strive to create safer and healthier indoor environments.

The following are just a few of the health benefits of testing your air:

  • Prevent infectious disease spread
  • Reduce eye, nose, and throat irritation
  • Minimize other debilitating and fatal health effects of short- and long-term pollutant exposure

Indoor air quality testing leads to cleaner air that everyone can enjoy, reducing work absence rates, increasing comfort, and boosting performance and productivity levels.

Types of Indoor Air Quality Testing to Consider

Air quality testing can help you identify and resolve factors that can affect your health, including high humidity, mold, dirty HVAC systems, volatile organic chemicals, and inadequate ventilation.

The following are a few essential air quality tests to consider:

  • Relative humidity (RH) testing – Measures the amount of water vapor in the air, commonly from concrete in commercial spaces. Too much moisture can cause microbial growth and increase the adverse health effects for the building’s occupants.
  • Air velocity testing – Measures the air speed in an indoor environment that can cause the space to feel stuffy, drafty, or uncomfortable. Unhealthy air velocity can impact thermal comfort and weaken the immune system, promoting a slew of adverse health reactions.
  • Carbon monoxide testing – Detects the odorless, colorless, and tasteless contaminate that can have severe health consequences for some people, from chest pain and impaired vision to brain damage and death.
  • Carbon dioxide testing – Tests for a buildup of carbon dioxide in your space, a sign of poor ventilation. The EPA and other health experts have identified that well-ventilated indoor areas are critical for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses.
  • Formaldehyde testing – Looks for the pungent gas called formaldehyde that can lead to many adverse health effects, such as irritation, allergic reactions, respiratory issues, and cancer. This type of air quality testing is critical in manufacturing facilities.
  • Particulate testing – Measures particulate matter (PM) suspended in the air that can affect the respiratory, cardiovascular, and other body systems. Including this test can help identify whether you could benefit from increased filtration through your HVAC system.

If you’d like to learn more about these different types of air quality testing, head to our blog to check out the full article.

Perhaps more than any other time, air quality testing is vital for promoting safe environments and good health. With over 30 years of experience, our indoor air quality experts are dedicated to helping Lehigh Valley residents, businesses, and medical facilities improve air quality and well-being. Contact us to learn more.

How Pollution Affects Indoor Air Quality & Human Health

When you think of the term pollution, outdoor air quality may come to mind first. However, pollutants can also affect indoor air quality, where they can pose serious risks to human health. This article outlines specific indoor contaminants of concern and their potential sources. We’ll also cover some of the health symptoms that can arise from polluted indoor air.

 

Types of Pollutants that Impact Indoor Air Quality and Human Health

The following are a few indoor air pollutants that can contribute to unhealth

y air quality and potential sources in your home, commercial building, or industrial site.

Particulate Matter (PM)

Particulate Matter (PM) is a class of pollutants characterized by variable and small diameter particles that vary from ultra-fine (PM0.1), fine (PM2.5), and coarse (PM10). PM affects humans when the air particles penetrate the respiratory system via inhalation, increasing the risk of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, reproductive and central nervous system dysfunctions, and cancer. If a person is exposed to fine dust over an extended period, the immune system can deteriorate rapidly, contributing to health risks.

Potential sources of particulate matter air quality pollution include:

  • Road dust
  • Fossil-fuel combustion
  • Biomass burning
  • Waste incineration
  • Cooking
  • Vehicle emissions
  • Industrial facilities

Gaseous Compounds

Carbon monoxide is one of the most known types of gaseous compounds that can decrease indoor air quality, provoking various health symptoms and even death when breathed in at high levels. Beyond carbon monoxide, other gaseous compounds that can affect your health include nitrogen oxide, ozone, and sulfur dioxide.

Potential sources of gaseous compound air quality pollution include:

  • Fossil fuel combustion
  • Vehicle emission
  • Wood burning
  • Waste incineration
  • Electric utilities
  • Industrial facilities

Heavy Metals

Heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, nickel, and arsenic are other indoor air pollutants that could be lurking in your air. When these compounds are absorbed into the human body, they can lead to direct poisoning or chronic intoxication, depending on the exposure level.

Potential sources of heavy metals air quality pollution include:

  • Metal refineries
  • Battery manufacturing
  • Waste incineration
  • Industrial facilities
  • Leaded fuel
  • Lead-based paint
  • Plumbing materials
  • Aircraft industry
  • Television manufacturing
  • Casting
  • Welding

PAHs

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) describe a broad class of environmental compounds that can adversely affect indoor air quality. They include organic structures containing the elements carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur. These widespread pollutants form during the combustion process, resulting in unhealthy indoor air quality.

Potential sources of PAH air quality pollution include the incomplete combustion of organic material, such as:

  • Biomass and garbage
  • Vehicle emissions
  • Asphalt road fumes
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Grilled or charred meats

VOCs

Widely used in many household products, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) refer to gasses emitted from solids and liquids that can cause many adverse health effects. The EPA has found some VOCs have levels 2 to 5 times higher inside than outside, significantly affecting indoor air quality and health.

Potential sources of VOC air quality pollution include:

  • Fuel combustion
  • Aircraft emission
  • Household products
  • Chemical solvents
  • Paints
  • Varnishes
  • Cigarette smoke

SVOCs

Semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) are a subgroup of VOCs with a higher molecular weight and boiling temperature. These indoor air quality pollutants can be found in residential and commercial buildings. Whether from gaseous airborne chemicals or surface adsorption, SVOCs can cause many adverse health effects, including endocrine and thyroid disruption, immunotoxicity, reproductive toxicity, and cancer.

Potential sources of SVOC air quality pollution include:

  • Solvents
  • Fragrances
  • Bactericides
  • Antimicrobial agents
  • Flooring
  • Furniture

Health Symptoms Of Poor Air Quality

Depending on the type of pollutant and the duration of exposure, poor air quality can cause a range of adverse effects in humans that can develop into or worsen health conditions, including:

  • Respiratory illnesses, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lung cancer
  • Cardiovascular diseases, such as heart failure, arrhythmias, and cardiac arrest
  • Central nervous system dysfunctions, such as ADHD, dementia, depression, multiple sclerosis (MS), schizophrenia, neurodevelopment problems
  • Skin conditions, such as pigment spots, wrinkles, acne, atopic dermatitis, and eczema

Experts also believe that air quality pollution affects the geographical distribution of many infectious diseases, even further highlighting its dangers.

As we covered in a recent blog article, now is an especially critical time to check the indoor air quality for potentially harmful pollutants in your home, office, or industrial building. With over 25 years of experience, our indoor air quality (IAQ) team is skilled in providing high-quality and effective air quality services to promote clean air for everyone to enjoy.

CALL: (866) 318 0271