Indoor Air Quality Inspection

Who Are We

A Accredited is a fully certified mold and indoor air quality inspection firm performing IAQ consulting services for commercial and residential clients in Miami, Ft Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, all of South Florida. We test for formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, sewer gas, Chinese drywall, mold, and unusual odors. For larger inspections we cover all of Florida and the Caribbean. We have provided professional quality indoor air quality inspections and testing since 2003.

 

What We Do


On indoor air quality investigations we utilize some of the below tools and our experience and knowledge to test for common contaminates and IAQ parameters including temperature & humidity, elevated mold spore levels, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, nitrogen oxides, ozone, formaldehyde, and hundreds of volatile organic compounds.
Our certified Indoor air quality or IAQ testing specialists provides inspections for homes owners, renter, and commercial building managers, with mold, unusual odors, and other indoor air issues. You must let us know ahead of time if you desire mold or IAQ testing or both so we can bring the proper equipment and budget the proper amount of time.

IAQ testing tools

Indoor Air Quality Testing Tools

Tools We Use on IAQ investigations.

Summa Canisters
Thermal Desorption Tubes
Gas Detection Tubes
Photo Ionization Detectors
Mold Spore Traps
Infrared Cameras
Moisture Meters
CO2 Meters
CO Meters

Your Concerns

Have unusual odors such as sulfur, chemical, musty, fishy, animal or unidentifiable odors in your commercial or residential building? Suffering from nausea, dizziness, headache or allergy like symptoms? You may need the services of a local indoor air quality inspection / IAQ testing firm or a mold inspector.

We cover Vero Beach, all the way down to West Palm, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale, in the South including Kendall, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, and Weston Fl. We conduct Indoor Air Quality testing and investigations designed to aid in identifying possible reasons for, and solutions to, sick building syndrome or building related illness issues. Many indoor air pollutants can result in sick building syndrome.

Our Goal

The goal of our investigations is to provide you with a clear understandable report on the types and levels of various indoor air contaminates and their likely sources. We also provide suggestions on how to rectify any mold or general indoor air quality problem we identify.
Our certified Indoor air quality or IAQ testing specialists provides inspections for homes owners, renter, and commercial building managers, with mold, unusual odors, and other indoor air issues. You must let us know ahead of time if you desire mold or IAQ testing or both so we can bring the proper equipment and budget the proper amount of time.


The below is some information from A Accredited Mold Inspection

Service on some common indoor air quality issues.

13 Common Indoor Air Quality Problems

 

 

During indoor air quality testing in Miami I encountered humidity problems due to to improper AC sizing for the home, mold in the ducts due to the humidity problems, and high levels of (BTEX) or various gasoline related VOC’s from the crawl space beneath. All this in one very beautiful newly purchased home in Coral Gables South of Miami Fl ! This unfortunate clients situation inspired me to prepare information on various common indoor air problems. Below is a list of 13 common IAQ problems.

 

Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a common indoor air quality problem, it is primarily used to produce glues used in the manufacture of particle board, wood veneers, wood furniture, plywood, and other wood products.

And spray-on insulating foams. These resins slowly give off formaldehyde over time, formaldehyde is one of the more common indoor air pollutants. At concentrations above 0.1 ppm in air, formaldehyde can irritate the eyes and mucous membranes, resulting in watery eyes. If inhaled, formaldehyde at this concentration may cause headaches, a burning sensation in the throat, and difficulty breathing, as well as triggering asthma symptoms.

 

Elevated RH

Relative humidity is simply a measurement of the amount of moisture in air compared to the maximum amount of moisture that same air could hold at a given temperature and pressure, example: if your humidity is at 50%RH then your air is about 1/2 full in regards to the amount of moisture it can hold, this is a normal indoor level.

If your humidity is at 65%RH it is about 65% full in regards to the amount of moisture it can hold, levels this high can support mold growth, dust mite growth, and you might experience condensation problems on cold surfaces such as AC registers. At 100% humidity the air cannot hold the moisture anymore and that humidity or air born moisture starts to condensate or change from humidity to water droplets. During IAQ or indoor air quality testing and mold investigations we typically do not find humidity at 100%, however if humidity is high, for example at 65% or 75% RH in the air, then on cold surfaces such as AC registers humidity may be forced to rise even higher. As a result humidity will often rise on such surfaces till it reaches 100% in that isolated area and condensation droplets will form in that area. Our mold testing specialists and air quality consultants often find evidence of past humidity problems by looking for condensation markings on AC registers. Humidity below 30% can cause drying of the lips and the mucous membranes in the throat, nose, or sinuses, this in turn causes irritation and some believe it may even lead to a higher likelihood of contracting colds because of damage to the membranes. It an also cause static electricity build up in offices that can in turn put computers at risk of lose of data. Keep your humidity between 30% and 60%RH.

Negative pressure

Sometimes negative pressure in homes and other buildings causes humid outdoor air to be pulled into buildings in hot humid environments this is common in Miami and other hot humid environments. And radon can be pulled into buildings in environments where radon is problematic such as in New England. Negative pressure can pull dangerous levels of carbon monoxide out of gas burning devices. Smelly crawl space or attic air can also be pulled into such buildings. One of the possible causes of negative pressure is leaky AC ducts in crawl spaces and attics because the ducts leaks the buildings air outdoors resulting in less air pressure indoors than outdoors, another cause of negative pressure can be the use of ventilation fans and hoods vented to the exterior. If not corrected negative pressure can cause serious problems in areas with radon or humidity thus positive pressure is desirable in hot humid environments and in areas with radon problems. In temperate climates when it is cool or cold outside positive indoor pressure is to be avoided because it can push the buildings humid indoor air into walls where it cools and forms condensation. Inspectors often use digital manometers of smoke from smoke pens to detect negative pressure.

Water damaged building materials

When leakage occurs indoors it often results in mold and decay, this in turn can cause allergenic particles such as mold spores to be released into your air. Home inspectors, mold inspectors, and other building investigators may use a moisture meter to detect moisture hidden inside water damaged building materials.

Infrared cameras can also be used to detect moisture hidden inside walls and other areas by measuring very slight temperature differentials between cooler wet surfaces and warmer dry surfaces.

Physical and psychological stressors

Stressors play an important role in building occupants resistance to and perception of indoor air quality problems. According to the Technical Guide to the Investigation of Indoor Air Quality in Office Buildings stressors are “environmental parameters, such as lighting, noise, vibration, and ergonomics. Thermal comfort also plays an important role in building occupants resistance to and perception of indoor air quality problems.

According to the above referenced source thermal comfort is “A state of mind in which a person feels satisfaction with the thermal environment. The factors affecting thermal comfort are air temperature, stratification, mean radiant temperature, air motion, relative humidity, activity level, and clothing.” Ventilation rate is also an important factor to consider. Ventilation rate is the amount of outside air that is supplied to the interior space.

Dust dust mites and particulates

Air contaminated with excess particles can also cause negative reactions. Some particles cause direct irritation when levels are elevated. In the case of household dust people do not typically have a direct allergenic or irritation related reaction to common dust. Common dust is as much as 80% dead human skin cells, you have serious problems. When people have allergic reactions to common household dust it is not the dust causing the problem but allergenic proteins found in dust mite feces. Particles counters can be used to measure airborne particulates, particle counters are highly sensitive scientific instruments that use an internal laser to count particles passing through it that are of a predetermined size range. Many pen / asp mold spores are between 2 and 10 microns in diameter, many other spores are around 10 to 15 microns in diameter, thus areas with high levels of particles in this size range may have a mold problem that should be verified with air sampling. These devices cannot identify the particles they count, however, some of the particles they count may be mold spores because they verify the particular size of the particles that are counted. Air quality consultants who believe that a particle counter can distinguish mold particles from dust are making a grave error, even when some of the particles are mold spores the vast majority are dust particles, this is often true even if a serious mold problem exists.

Carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide testing meters are one of the most important tools in the indoor air quality consultants arsenal. Testing co2 levels can let an inspector know if adequate amounts of fresh outdoor air is entering a building. High carbon dioxide levels are not typically a direct threat to human health in home and commercial properties. High carbon dioxide levels usually indicate a lack of adequate outdoor air being introduced into the building. Dust, chemicals, body odors and other indoor air pollutants often build up along with carbon dioxide in poorly ventilated buildings, and it is these other indoor pollutants that result in indoor air quality complaints and health complaints. According to Parat and others “A properly maintained and operated mechanical ventilation system can reduce indoor Bioaerosols concentrations by limiting infiltration of outdoor Bioaerosols and by diluting those from outdoor sources” ( Parat et al., 1994, 1996 ).

According to American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers ASHRAE 62-89 Outdoor air supply into the building should be at least 20 cubic foot per min per person in offices and thus help maintain carbon dioxide levels below 1000 ppm. Newer requirements recommend levels no more than 700 ppm higher than outdoor carbon dioxide levels. Outdoor air that is being introduced into a building must meet the US EPA National Primary Ambient Air Quality Standards is short it must be clean or it must be properly filtered.

Carbon monoxide

WARNING: Carbon monoxide can rapidly rob your bloods ability to properly absorb oxygen thus it can be deadly. If carbon monoxide levels at your property are dangerously high then emergency measures such as immediate evacuation may be deemed necessary. Even if slightly elevated further investigation by a qualified, licensed, specialist is recommended and appropriate repairs or other measures may be needed. The leading cause of deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning in homes is automobile exhaust escaping from garages, however improper combustion of fuel in gas appliances, improper ventilation of combustion gases to the exterior, and cracked heat exchangers are also important sources of carbon monoxide exposure.

At low concentrations the health effects are fatigue in healthy people and chest pain in persons with heart disease. At higher concentrations it causes impaired vision and coordination problems, headaches, dizziness, confusion, nausea. It can cause flu like symptoms that clear up after leaving home. Carbon monoxide is fatal at very high concentrations.

Average levels in homes without gas stoves 0.5 to 5 ppm.

Levels near properly adjusted gas stoves are 5 to 15 ppm. Near poorly adjusted stoves 30 ppm or higher. The above information is from epa.gov/iaq/co.html

Voc’s

Volatile organic compound also known as VOC’s are common indoor pollutants composed of organic chemicals that evaporate into the air easily, they often cause chemical odors, respiratory irritation, headache, and other indoor air quality related complaints. At certain high levels they can be dangerous. Testing for these compounds is one of the key tests run by indoor air quality investigators and consultants. These chemicals are released by paints, paint thinners, varnish, new carpets, new cabinets and furniture that contains particle board, household cleaners and air fresheners, fuel gas, improperly vented combustion devices, photocopier machines, blueprint machines, and many other sources. During one air quality inspection in the Port St Lucie area just South of Port St Lucie we found serious VOC problems in a commercial printing facility. The air problem was new, but the

building design and the printing process had not changed. Why did the printing fumes become a problem all of a sudden you may ask? Facility maintenance changed two doors and forgot to put gaskets on the bottom of the doors. Negative pressure then pulled the VOC fumes out of the printing area, under the two doors and into areas where workers became sick. A simple issue with a simple cure caused a serious problem that was not obvious to the clients, and resulted in workers having to move to a different office. In or near the Coral Gables area a client had foul odors produced by automobile gas that had been dumped into the homes crawl space by a previous owners years ago. This was combined with some serious pesticides in the same crawl space. All the above was found via VOC testing in her home. To make matters worse her Miami area AC contractor installed three AC units in this one small house, this caused humidity problems that resulted in mold in the AC ducts.

Sewer gas

Hydrogen sulfide it the gas that produces rotten egg or sulfur like odors in well water, sewer systems, rotten eggs, and other areas where water and organic compounds have a lack of oxygen. Hydrogen sulfide odors may lead to complaints of foul odors and also eye & throat irritation cough and shortness of breath. According to Wikipedia “.0047 ppm is the recognition threshold, the concentration at which 50% of humans can detect the characteristic rotten egg odor of hydrogen sulfide.”

10 to 15 ppm is the borderline concentration for eye irritation.

No2

Nitrogen dioxide is composed of nitrogen and oxygen atoms, incomplete combustion in vehicles or gas burning appliances can create this pollutant and improper venting of such combustion gases from gas appliances, loading docks, and parking garages, can result in the gas entering into the indoor environment. Nitrogen dioxide is a respiratory irritation.

O3

Ozone is a fresh smelling oxygen molecule composed of 3 oxygen atoms, the oxygen we breathe is made of just two oxygen molecules. In the upper atmosphere ozone blocks out harmful UV light thus protecting living organisms below, at ground level ozone is an air pollutant that can have harmful effects on our respiratory system in fact ozone is a constitute of smog pollution. Asthmatics are especially at risk from the effects of ozone exposure.

Despite claims of safe levels of fresh smelling ozone emitted by ozone producing machines, some ozone machines have been found to produce ozone at levels that may result in respiratory irritation in some persons. It is true that ozone can break down smoke, odors, and other indoor air quality contaminates but the break down product follow the most basic laws of physics and thus do not disappear for existence but instead these products have end up in the air where some of them can serves as irritants to sensitive persons.

· According to the EPA some health effects of overexposure to ozone are:

· Decreases in lung function

· Aggravation of asthma

· Throat irritation and cough

· Chest pain and shortness of breath

· Inflammation of lung tissue

· Higher susceptibility to respiratory infection

For more info please visit: epa.gov/iaq/pubs/ozonegen.html

Radon

Last but not least on or list of 13 sinister Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) problems is radon, Though last on our list it may be the most deadly. Radon is a colorless odorless gas that finds its way into buildings through cracks in the foundations. If a building is negatively pressurized then that negative pressure can cause radon to be actively sucked into the building. Radon is more rare in some areas such as South Florida in general.    However even is some areas of South Fl it is not quite as rare as our residents may think. For example in Broward county – Pembroke Pines and Plantation radon is a little more likely, and in the Tampa Bay area it is much more likely. In New England radon problems are common. No mater where you live radon testing is important because radon is a carcinogen or cancer causing agent. Often persons living with radon will have no clue that the problem exists till it is to late. Even in non smokers radon causes lung cancer. If you know of a household where a non smoker developed lung cancer then you should suggest that the home or the victim’s previous residence be tested for radon gas. According to the EPA and the surgeon general radon is responsible for 15,000 deaths a year.

According to the American Lung Association

the top five indoor air pollutants include:

1) Carbon Monoxide 2) Formaldehyde 3) Microbial contaminates (mold, dust mites, bacteria, etc. ) 4) Second hand tobacco smoke 5) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s.)

” In order to limit occupant exposure to these compounds it is necessary to detect them so their sources can be identified and controlled.”

Reference RAE systems Application note AP-212.

Our certified air quality consultant offers helpful consultation services for homes owners , renters, and commercial building managers, with mold and indoor air quality issues in Miami and all of South Florida.  We provide inspections and testing in all towns around near or in Miami, Ft Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Pierce, Port St Lucie, Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, and St Lucie County.   For Commercial, Long Distance, and Larger Mold Inspections    All of Florida and the Caribbean.

Our Certified consultants provides answers, legal support, and consultation services, in regard to:   Humidity issues, water intrusion problems, bacteria, chemicals and gases, including formaldehyde, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hundreds VOC’s or volatile organic compounds, odors, dust mite allergens, and of course allergenic or toxic mold spores in your air.    You must always let us know in advance what your specific needs, concerns, or problems are.

We inspect in all towns around near or in Miami, Ft Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Jupiter, Stuart, Port St Lucie and Jensen Beach, in near or around Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin and St Lucie County.
For Commercial, Long Distance, and Larger Mold Inspections
All of Florida and the Caribbean.

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