Causes for an Indoor Air Quality Investigation (Part 1)

Building owners or their representatives, who are responsible for maintaining the building’s indoor air quality (IAQ) systems, are becoming more aware of their responsibility and liability for the IAQ in their buildings.  A major reason is the old true adage “out of sight, out of mind”.  Most indoor air quality problems are not visible to building owners and occupants.  As a result, many IAQ problems have been ignored.

Indoor air quality issues can be complicated and difficult to diagnose.  Specialists in varying fields, such as medicine, engineering, industrial hygiene, microbiology, and contracting may be required to diagnose and solve indoor air quality problems.  This paper is written to give building owners a practical, effective, and relatively inexpensive approach to begin addressing their indoor air quality concerns.  This approach is centered around a preliminary Indoor Air Quality Investigation done by the building owner.  References are also given to assist with problems that are out of the building owner’s control.

There are a number of reasons for investigating and controlling the air and the systems effecting the air in buildings.  Although IAQ problems causing health concerns are the primary focus of this paper, actions taken to address the causes of these health problems may also improve other situations that are effected by poor indoor air quality, such as the ones listed below:

  • Health Complaints from Tenants or Employees
  • Fire Hazards Due to Flammable Airborne Contaminants
  • Unpleasant Odors
  • Visible Microbial Growth in Work Areas
  • Product Quality Problems in Manufacturing Facilities Due to Airborne Contaminants
  • Performance or Maintenance Problems in HVAC Systems Due to Airborne Contamination Build-up
  • Aesthetic Concerns Due to Airborne Contamination Build-up on Building Surfaces
  • Proactive Planning to Prevent Future Indoor Air Quality Problems Before They Occur

Stay tuned for Part 2: Conducting an IAQ Investigation, and a free downloadable diagram. This blog post was an excerpt from “Practical IAQ Solutions for Building Owners” written by Carolina Filters’ CEO, Coles Dwight, and Part 1 of a three part series.

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