Testing for Potential Indoor Air Quality Pollutants in the San Diego Region
Due to the fact that we spend so much time indoors nowadays, either at home or at work, it's important that you are aware of the quality of the indoor air that you're breathing. The big question for many is: "how do I know once the air is tested, I'm going to get accurate readings?" Most people are aware that poor air quality can have an effect on their health, but few realize the degree of harm that can occur if the situation is not alleviated.
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This is not only the case in your home, but poor indoor air quality can have a major impact on the health and productivity of residential, commercial, and industrial buildings as well. It's important to take care of such issues before the situation deteriorates to such a point that people begin to show severe medical symptoms.
Clearly, the best way to determine the quality of the air in a building is to have it tested by a professional service. Always avoid providers that offer both mold testing and mold remediation services. Instead, you should use an indoor air quality specialist that only provides testing services without any treatment options. The reason is that an independent air quality service will not have any financial incentive to deliver results that might indicate major remediation is required. Having the air tested by an independent company, can provide you with the information you need to take that first step of becoming aware of any unseen danger that may be present in your home. So, make sure the testing is performed by a company that only offers testing and does not also provide the cleanup services. A testing-only company does not have the potential for a conflict of interest like a remediation company does when you hire them to perform the initial testing.
The methods for testing indoor air quality vary depending upon the original cause of the pollution. The most common types of indoor air quality concerns include Mold, VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds) and even Formaldehyde.
Both active and dead mold spores can seriously degrade the indoor air quality. One of the major problems with mold is that it's usually found behind drywall, in crawl spaces, under carpets, or in the attic - in other words, spaces where it might not be immediately visible. Areas with potentially high moisture content are also particularly vulnerable to mold - bathrooms, under kitchen sinks, or leaking roofs are examples of spots that are ripe for mold problems. Most people are very different in their levels of sensitivity to particular types of mold.
However, the elderly and young as well as those with existing respiratory ailments are usually especially at risk. One type of mold in particular, 'stachybotrys chartarum', or black mold as it's commonly known, is particularly dangerous to everyone regardless of any pre-existing breathing issues.
The best way to circumvent any problems with mold is to avoid all forms of water damage whenever possible. Most mold outbreaks are the result of indoor environments that have been the victim of water damage. This kind of moisture damage can be due to flooding, broken water heaters, roof leaks, and pipes that have been slowly dripping over an extended period of time. There are no federal or state standards for mold concentration, so often a mold testing professional will collect both indoor and outdoor air samples for comparison. If any mold spores are found by the testing lab to be at a higher concentration in the indoor samples than the outdoor samples, this might confirm that mold is probably growing within the building.
If any mold remediation is required, it’s advisable to have the air re-tested after the work has been completed to make sure all the issues have been successfully addressed. It goes without saying that during any abatement work, any sources of moisture that caused the original mold infestation are completely fixed so that the mold will not return after the work is completed.
Volatile Organic Compounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) include a large range of chemicals products that are commonly used on a daily basis. They include products, like solvents, paints, glues, household cleaners, and degreasers.
VOCs are a type of contamination that is released in the air through burning fuel or evaporating chemicals and can become hazardous when they are in the form of a gas or vapor. They can be harmful to breathe, and chronic, long-term exposure can cause substantial health issues if not spotted and remedied quickly. A few well-known sources of VOCs include:
- Gas burning stoves, candles, and grills
- Cleaning products that contain vinegar or acetone
- Manufactured furniture and laminate floors
- Paints, glues, plastics, and resins
If you suspect any problems at all with the quality of your indoor air, it’s important that you take immediate action to hire a qualified specialist who can undertake any testing that might be indicated and can help you interpret the results when they come back from the labs. After you’ve had your home tested, you’ll feel much more at ease, knowing you've made the right choice to keep your family safe. There are a lot of dangers in the world, but your home's air quality does not need to be one of them.
In addition to indoor air quality testing and mold testing in the San Diego regions we also offer the same services in Chula Vista, Oceanside, Escondido, Carlsbad, El Cajon, Vista, San Marcos, Encinitas, National City and Santee. Don’t hesitate to call us to set up an appointment with our certified experts!