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Troubleshoot IAQ Issues With EPA Guide to Moisture Management




June 25, 2014 - IAQ

Mismanaged moisture in buildings is a major contributor to poor indoor air quality. Moisture issues can lead to mold problems and can negatively impact the health of facility occupants, such as by triggering or worsening asthma symptoms. This is to say nothing of the property damage caused by moisture infiltration and other issues.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a guide for building professionals — anyone who designs, builds, operates or maintains buildings — filled with practical guidance on how to control moisture in buildings.

"Moisture Control Guidance for Building Design, Construction and Maintenance" breaks down moisture management into the design, construction and management phases of a building. It also contains several checklists for problem spots, such as roofs and HVAC inspections.

The section dealing with facility maintenance and operation covers site drainage maintenance, foundation maintenance, wall maintenance, roof and ceiling assembly maintenance, plumbing system operation and maintenance and HVAC system operation and maintenance. " The people who keep buildings working—the HVAC mechanics, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, engineers, custodians and managers—inherit the good points and the bad points of the design and construction," read the introduction to Chapter 4.

The guide is set up in a problem/solution format, listing several guidance points to troubleshoot the situation. For example, facility managers faced with water infiltration through the foundation of the facility are directed to check on the condition of roof drain leaders and look for newly sprouted trees near drain lines, among many other practical steps.

The guide can be found here.

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