At A Accredited Mold Inspection Service, we provide mold testing and indoor air quality testing on commercial buildings and homes. On larger homes and commercial buildings we travel to locations throughout the state of Florida from the Panhandle to the Florida Keys. For smaller investigations we stick primarily to South Florida.
We provide Indoor Air Quality testing and mold inspections in Tallahassee, Pensacola, Destin, Apalachicola and all of the Florida Panhandle.
While conducting indoor air quality testing in Pensacola located in the Florida Panhandle our IAQ investigator was asked to identify the source of foul smelling chemical odors in a massive commercial building complex. The odor was very strong in this building that deals in infants. A previous investigation by a Tallahassee indoor air quality consultant was not able to provide any answers at all as to where the chemical odors were originating, and what they were. The Tallahassee area air quality consultants tests indicated extremely low indoor pollution levels in the buildings air.
Despite three different testing methods preformed by two different firms, and sample analysis preformed by two different respectable labs, the air always came up extremely clean despite strong foul odors.
Fortunately we were able to clearly identify the source and identity of the contaminant, not through air testing, but through repeatedly interviewing our clients, and through roughly 10 miles of walking through the building, and 5 hours of inspections in the massive building complex spanning three buildings.
Here is some information from the report, the identity of the client is obviously withheld.
TEXT FROM THE REPORT
Various building occupants described the odor in the building as mold, rodent odors, chemicals, diapers, and even salt marsh and swamp odors. The inspector has dealt with: Live and dead rodent odors, chemical odors, diaper odors, low tide like odors including (salt marsh and mangrove swamp odors, hydrogen sulfide odors, sewer gas odors, Chinese drywall odors, )and other odors on a daily basis as a health inspector, building inspector, mold inspector, and indoor air quality consultant for 23 years and is extremely familiar with all these odors and this mold inspector and indoor air quality consultant can assure you the odor was from a chemical and was not from mold, rodents, swamps, or any of the other possible sources suggested.
This odor in the skylight area above the (Text deleted to protect the identity of the client) was identical to radiator fluid odor, or Ancosteam odor, or calcium lime and rust remover sold at many hardware stores.
The substance creating the odors would not show up on air testing results but was foul smelling and present in the air in a very sensitive area where very young patients were housed. It was identified by smell by our inspector and is called Ancosteam 2011 and is from ANCO Anderson Chemical Company.
A source of this radiator fluid smelling chemical was in abundance in a large drum in another building. The client could not believe that the odor was Ancosteam and was from the boiler room building far away and detached from the area where odor complaints were filed.
ANCOSTEAM IN YOUR WATER.
Where did this rust and mineral build up remove come from and how did it get in your air.
Ancosteam is purposely put into the condensate water three buildings away, condensate goes to the boiler(s), and the boiler water goes to the heat exchangers, so yes the substance is in the water or steam three buildings away.
It was reported to this inspector on several occasions that the water was tested for Ancosteam in this building and it was not found in the water.
The inspector questioned the water testing tech about the testing methodology and found that the water has never been tested for Ancosteam. The water was tested for it’s PH, thus no proof exists for the presence or absence of ancosteam in the water. Thus you must not assume that it is not in your water, it is possibly in the water even three buildings over in the building in question.
IS ANCOSTEAM IN YOUR STEAM IN THE BUILDING IN QUESTION
The inspector visited the steam decontamination room # 2-611 on the 2nd floor of the building in question, it is a few hundred yards from the (Text deleted to protect the identity of the client) where odors were a concern, and even closer to another skylight with foul odors. IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT THE INSPECTOR SMELLED THIS ANCOSTEAM ODOR IN THE STEAM DECONTAMINATION ROOM.
The odor was even in the hall outside the steam decontamination room.
So it is extremely likely that ancosteam is escaping in small quantities every time the steam is turned on in this(Text deleted to protect the identity of the client)
MODE OF TRANSPORT
The water and steam containing the ancosteam three buildings away is not pumped directly into the end point building containing the text withheld.
It is extremely likely that the heat exchanger pipes inside the heat exchangers are cracked. These would likely allow ancosteam to pass from the pipes in the source building near the boilers, to the next building, and additional cracks in the next heat exchanger are allowing the substance to pass to the end point buildings pipes. This is very likely because it is a known and well excepted fact that heat exchangers often crack, and often result in dangerous cross contamination events.
Even in the AC building with the house sized AC the heat exchanger was reported to not be in use, however it was still connected via pipes to the piping system and fumes are pervasive. Even if valves are turned off fumes will likely get through eventually.
The reason the substance is not found in the water in the end point building when the water is tested is because the water in the end point building has never been tested for the substance, only PH is tested.
As stated above, when equipment is sanitized with steam in decontamination room 2-611 the substance escapes along with the steam.
WHY IS THE ODOR STRONG IN THE CEILING ABOVE THE text withheld. IF THE ESCAPE POINT IS DECONTAMINATION ROOM 2-611. AND POSSIBLY THE LAUNDRY STEAM ROOM AS WELL.
The light volatile substance floats to the ceiling, and above the ceiling void in tiny concentrations each time steam is used.
Tiny almost imperceptible amounts float upwards and eventually accumulate in the ceiling above the text withheld.
The reason it accumulates in the text withheld. station is simple and logical, it is because this skylight above the text withheld is a high point and light gases float above the heavier air below. These gases become more and more concentrated at this high point over time till the odor in this high point is strong and foul.
If water trickled from a leaky pool shower a little every day you may not notice it, but eventually the trickle would fill a nearby empty pool as the water seeks a low point. In the same way contaminates with Ancosteam odors are escaping little by little from the decontamination room steam system, it slowly trickles upwards to the nurses station highpoint.
Have the manufacturer or other appropriate service provider check the heat exchangers for cracks and replace cracked heat exchangers. If they do not see cracks have them check again. Disconnect any equipment not in use.
A massive amount of water from pipe leaks, or condensation dripping from coils had leaked into one of the AC units, it was observed by this inspector to be standing on the floor of the hall like condensation pan in the AC.
It was assumed that this water would not be from the piping system because the piping system contains a tracer dye.
This is not a correct assumption, because the inspector observed first hand during testing that some of the pipe water near the AC contained tracer dye and some from another massive pipe contained no tracer dye. In other words pipe water containing ancosteam could be leaking into your AC.
Add tracer dye to all appropriate water to assure that no pipe leaks are occurring in the house sized AC. Drain condensation pan.