Huntington Beach, CA, June 8th, 2020
In many circumstances, pollutants can accumulate to levels that can pose health and comfort issues when too little outdoor air enters a home. These may include mold, bacteria, tobacco smoke, cleaning chemicals, formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs), radon, allergens, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other pollutants.
One approach to lowering the concentration of these indoor air pollutants is to increase the amount of outdoor air coming into the home. Outdoor air enters and leaves a home by infiltration, natural ventilation and mechanical ventilation.
With infiltration, outdoor air flows into the house through openings, joints and cracks in walls, floors and ceilings, or around windows and doors. Air may also move out of the house in this manner and this is known as exfiltration. With natural ventilation, air moves through open windows and doors. Air movement associated with infiltration and natural ventilation is caused by air temperature differences between indoors and outdoors and by wind.
Mechanical ventilation is driven by devices with fans. For example, exhaust fans (vented outdoors) can remove air from a single room, such as bathrooms and kitchens. There are also air handling systems that use fans and duct work to continuously remove indoor air and distribute filtered and conditioned outdoor air to strategic points throughout a home. The rate at which outdoor air replaces indoor air is described as the air exchange rate.
“Whenever there is little infiltration, natural ventilation or mechanical ventilation, the air exchange rate is low and pollutant levels can rise indoors,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager at LA Testing’s Huntington Beach facility. “Many residential heating and cooling systems, including some forced air heating systems, do not mechanically bring fresh air into the home. Opening windows and doors, operating window or attic fans, or running a window air-conditioner with the vent control open can increase the ventilation rate.”
For those concerned about what they are breathing in their homes, LA Testing’s laboratories offer a wide range of indoor environmental quality (IEQ) testing services, sampling supplies, easy-to-use test kits and air monitoring instruments. These services can identify everything from mold and bacteria to VOCs, radon, lead, asbestos and more. LA Testing has even sponsored an educational video about home ventilation and IEQ that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/ib662E3Dr3Q.
To learn more about this or other indoor environmental quality, building science, health and safety testing services, or for access to air monitoring instruments, please visit www.LATesting.com, email info@LATesting.com or call (800) 755-1794. To obtain IEQ test kits, visit www.EMSLTestKits.com.
About LA Testing
LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for indoor air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash and smoke damage, particulates and other chemicals. In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the general public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including: : AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), CDC ELITE, NVLAP, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health and other states. LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including South Pasadena, Huntington Beach, San Leandro, San Diego and Ontario.