Types of Indoor Air Quality Testing

When it comes to commercial and industrial building air quality, there are three main factors that determine the quality of air inside the building. Three of the largest contributors factor heavily for how poor quality indoor air is. These are carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds (VSCs), and formaldehyde. High levels of all three can be hazardous to health, both to production and consumption, and most are commonly found in buildings that are cramped, are poorly built, are overcrowded, or are not up to code.

One of the first steps towards effectively evaluating indoor air quality would be to perform an inspection on a regular basis. Inspectors should visit the facility at least once per year to check for any areas of concern. Depending on the size of the facility, this could be as few as once per month. In addition to visiting the facility, another effective way to evaluate the condition of indoor air quality is to contract the services of a commercial mold inspector. The inspectors typically are trained to spot both major and minor mold issues, with corresponding signs for these issues. However, the inspectors can also spot many other types of mold, so if you are frequently having trouble with unseen mold, a professional inspection is a wise move.

Mold testing kits can be purchased from a variety of sources, both online and offline. Kits for the purposes of air quality testing can be purchased separately or can come included in more comprehensive air quality testing packages. Many kits come with detailed instructions on what to look for on the testing panel. A comprehensive kit should contain a high-quality air quality sampling instrument such as the IAP/HRMS II, or the Allergen-Hands-On Mold Inspector. The mold sampling instruments in these kits are designed specifically for use on black mold.

Another tool that should be part of any air quality testing kit is a Dust Collection And Sampling Set. An aerosol canister is used to collect dust samples, while a dust collector attachment is used to disperse powdered dust on the surface of the suspect material. A high-powered vacuum cleaner is not necessary for this collection process. However, it is recommended that an electric model be used if there is a possibility that particles from insulation can escape into the room. Collection of dust is usually fairly easy and inexpensive when compared to the cost of replacing loose blown insulation.

Next, air quality testing samples should be taken of the suspected mold growth. Samples should be taken by using disposable plastic or polyethylene terephthalate sampling cups. For mold growth on areas such as ductwork, a vacuum canister or paint sponges are usually enough. However, for other areas such as insulation, sub-flooring, plumbing pipes, or ceiling tiles, sampling tools may include special sponges or brushes for getting into smaller areas. Samples that come out with good results from this step are often considered as good air quality results.

Air quality testing can also measure the presence of VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds in the air. VOCs are chemicals that are emitted from various materials and are considered to cause allergic reactions in people who are exposed to them. Good laboratory results can be achieved by using gases of VOCs as the measuring tool. Two types of VOCs that should be detected in buildings are formaldehyde and benzene. Other VOCs not measured frequently enough but are likely to be present in buildings include carbon monoxide, chlorine, ozone, radon, and dust.

The most common way to test for the presence of VOCs in the air is through the use of high-temperature detectors. A negative result on this test indicates that VOC levels are low in the environment. On the other hand, a positive result shows that VOC levels are high in the environment. The third type of test that can also be used in building homes to evaluate air quality testing indoor air quality involves the use of electron beams.

The reason why there are different types of indoor air quality testing is because of the fact that not all samples show the same results. For instance, the results of a formaldehyde survey may be significantly high because of the amount of material that would have to be found in building materials. A conclusion about the presence of formaldehyde in the air depends on the frequency of heating and cooling cycles, on the state of insulation in the home, on the number of rooms that use this type of insulation, and on the age of the insulation. The use of a high-frequency infrared camera in the building inspection process is usually recommended by insulation contractors when the results of a previous inspection are questionable or do not meet the standards of the professional association.