A preliminary indoor air quality investigation, performed by a building owner, can begin to find solutions for problems caused by airborne particulate and microbial growth.

One primary outcome desired from any IAQ investigation should be to see and document what is normally not seen, namely the existing condition of the entire HVAC system. Our downloadable diagram outlines problem-solving logic that should be used to conduct an investigation. Depending on the reason for an IAQ investigation, there can be many variations of the diagram; however, the key points are to have a good plan and document plans, actions and findings.

A visual inspection for contamination, water (moisture), and microbial growth will often uncover actual or potential causes for indoor air quality problems and can give a building owner an idea of the magnitude of further inspections and corrective action required. The initial walk-through is critical to understanding and ultimately solving indoor air quality problems.

If the purpose of doing an investigation is to respond to employee or tenant health complaints, it is important to discretely interview the appropriate people. In interview situations, particularly with outsiders involved, people often retract exaggerated initial complaints. Conversely, some people will not reveal valuable knowledge until they are asked specific questions in a confidential environment. Care needs to be taken not to unnecessarily alarm the occupants of a building while doing an investigation. Interviews are site inspections are often best done after working hours and/or at a location away from the workplace.

To find out more, download our free Conducting an IAQ Investigation diagram now. Stay tuned for Part 3, Solutions for an Indoor Air Quality Investigation. Content from “Practical IAQ Solutions for Building Owners” written by Carolina Filters’ CEO, Coles Dwight, was featured in this article.