Common Sources of IAQ Issues
iaq, contaminants, diagnostic tools, air intakes, HVAC, ductwork July 23, 2010
This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s tip is identifying the most common indoor air quality culprits.
Maintenance and engineering managers constantly seek out ways to improve IAQ. The evaluation process often results in managers revamping preventive maintenance tasks so technicians have a detailed game plan for monitoring and diagnosing building systems and components for IAQ deficiencies.
Managers and technicians typically can inspect a few specific areas in facilities to identify causes of poor IAQ. Common sources of IAQ issues are these:
First, air-supply intakes.
They can cause IAQ problems for many reasons. They can receive an inadequate air volume, they are favorite roosting places for birds, and they might introduce contaminated outdoor air.
Next are sub-roof or below-grade areas.
These areas are subject to moisture in still air, which results in mold growth. Crawl spaces where water can puddle unnoticed are a breeding ground for mold, pests and allergens that can cause respiratory illness.
Third, chemical storage areas.
Cleaning chemicals, paints and other materials can evaporate and release toxic vapors and volatile organic compounds.
And finally, HVAC ducts.
Ductwork that provides heated or cooled air to the facility also can be a culprit. Water induced into them from humidifiers in the winter and condensate in the summer can grow mold. Any time there is high temperature with no air circulation, mold can grow rapidly. Plus, mold can stick on substances that adhere to duct walls, loosen, and then enter the air supply.