INDOOR AIR QUALITY TESTING
WHY TEST INDOOR AIR QUALITY?
We Montrealers spend about 85% of our time indoors. It’s important the air quality inside is safe. Often, it’s much more contaminated and polluted than outdoor air.
There are many reasons it makes sense to test a home’s air for chemical pollutants that could affect your health and the well-being of your family. Infants, children and the elderly are particularly susceptible to indoor pollution.
Contaminated indoor air quality can cause asthma, allergies and even more serious breathing and health problems.
Mose inspectors are equipped with advanced devices to detect and determine levels of air quality in your home, or in a home you are about to purchase.
WHAT CHEMICALS AND POLLUTANTS DO WE TEST FOR?
VOCs or Volatile Organic Chemicals are harmful chemicals emitted by lots of the products and materials we have in our homes. Most VOCs can’t be detected by smell, they are chemicals that are emitted as gases from solids or liquids and easily evaporated into the air at room temperature. Concentrations of these chemicals can be up to 100 times higher indoors than outdoors. Thousands of products, many that we use every day, or are exposed to every day, emit VOCs into the air while they are being used, and, to some degree, even when they are stored. The can cause allergies and asthma leading to asthma attacks.
We test for 400 possible VOCs.
Types of VOC’s:
- Fuel Oil
- Paint, Varnish
- Moth balls
- Active mold
- Building Materials
Molds are microscopic fungi that can be found almost anywhere, both indoors and outdoors. Mold growth occurs mainly in warm, damp, and humid conditions. They reproduce by making spores that are released into the air to be transported to other places where they can germinate and grow. When mold is in an active growth phase, it releases gases into the air called Mold Volatile Organic Compounds (MVOCs). Not all of these gases can be detected by smell.
Molds can grow on wood and insulation, in carpet, and even behind walls where they can continue to grow undetected. In fact, we’ve seen mold grow in an innumerable number of places, including:
- Air conditioning units or drain lines
- Near plumbing leaks
- Near roof or wall leaks
- Basement water intrusion from surrounding soil
- Any consistently humid area
- Near condensation around windows or any other condensation locations like exterior walls (typically where there is a temperature gradient that allows water to condense)
- Freezer/refrigerator door seals, especially in summer
- Freezer/refrigerator drain line and drip pan (if present)
- Indoor plants
- Empty beverage containers and glasses, especially if left for trash or recycling without being rinsed out
- Wastebaskets and trash cans containing discarded food or wet items
- Sump pumps, especially when the pump does not cycle often
- Stand pipes and traps
- Books, magazines, and newspapers if they have gotten wet or sit for a long time
- Outside mold, especially if the air intake is near the ground and landscaping near the building uses wood chips or mulch
When excessive moisture accumulates in the home, mold growth will often occur. This moisture build-up can stem from plumbing leaks, from condensation in air conditioning and heating systems, or from ground water penetration. If damp or wet drywall becomes moist and is not dried out within two days, mold can be suspected to be growing within the walls, even if it is not visible.
Mose inspectors use mold testing equipment that detects mold hidden and growing behind walls, ceilings and flooring without opening walls thus disturbing or spreading any mold growth. The test detects when mold is actively growing, not for single mold spores.
Formaldehyde is a chemical commonly used in the manufacture of building materials and numerous household products. At room temperature, formaldehyde vaporizes into the air, potentially causing serious health problems. It is also a by-product of combustion processes. When you burn things like natural gas, wood, gasoline, or tobacco, formaldehyde gas is released into the air. The most significant sources of formaldehyde in homes are: pressed wood products like particle board, plywood paneling, and MDF (medium density fiberboard); foam insulation; carpets; drapery fabrics; resins; glues; cigarettes; and un-vented, fuel-burning appliances like gas stoves or kerosene heaters.
Health effects of formaldehyde are eye, nose and throat burning and irritation; nausea; skin rashes; and breathing difficulties in some people. High concentrations of formaldehyde can trigger asthma attacks. Formaldehyde is also considered a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing substance), classified as a Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP) by the EPA. Since formaldehyde is present in so many building materials and household products, every home should be tested for the presence of this toxic chemical.
Mose IAQ inspection specifically targets chemical compounds known to be present in secondhand smoke, sometimes referred to as environmental tobacco smoke or passive smoke, as well as third hand smoke, commonly thought of as stale tobacco smoke or tobacco smoke residue. While tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemical compounds, many of these chemicals can also be emitted by multiple sources, are at such low levels that they canÕt be monitored, or are not volatile enough (like nicotine) to stay in the air for very long. Thus, the ability to predict that tobacco smoke is present in the air, especially after smoking activity has ceased, becomes a much more difficult task. However, by utilizing sophisticated sample collection and analysis methodologies with detection limits in the 0.1 ng/L range, our tobacco smoke test is able to isolate specific chemical markers that have been determined by recent leading edge research to be present when tobacco is or has been burned. This makes it an invaluable test for anyone wanting to know if an apartment, home, or house theyÕre planning to occupy can be considered a smoke-free environment.
HOW DOES THE INDOOR AIR QUALITY TEST WORK?
- Your Mose inspector collects home air quality samples using a specialized test kit.
- The sample are sent to a laboratory and analyzed. The sample is tested for 400 VOCs, formaldehyde, growing mold, and secondhand smoke.
- A report is generated detailing unwanted chemicals (VOCs) in your air and their likely sources.
BOOK AN AIR QUALITY TEST TODAY
We can test for the things you can't see!
Make sure you request a home Air Quality Test when you book your home inspection.
Mose Home Inspection Services