Indoor air quality is a term which refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants.
Indoor air quality encompasses many aspects of an indoor environment which can be affected by a vast number of contaminants and pollutants. There is not one simple test or one meter which can measure indoor air quality. A complete indoor air study would require a wide-ranging array of tests. However, we believe this is rarely necessary.
One condition that can be attributed to poor IAQ is “Sick Building Syndrome”. Symptoms ranging from coughing and headaches, to runny nose and eye irritation. If symptoms abate when they leave the property, this is often referred to as “Sick Building Syndrome” Causes can be attributed to several factors, including poor ventilation; improper HVAC function or installation, microbial or bacterial contaminants, or volatile organic compounds, just to name a few.
Indoor environmental issues can have significant health implications. We will work with you to detect abnormal air quality parameters and make your home/office a health-supporting environment. From ventilation problems to hidden mold to volatile organic compounds to electro-pollution, which all can have an impact on occupants. Ottawa air quality testing and mold inspection services.
There are companies advertising mold spore sampling as indoor air quality testing. Sampling the air for mold spores is not an indoor air quality assessment. Although there are some loose interpretation guidelines available, there are no standards for “acceptable” levels of mold in the indoor environment. Our experience has shown air sampling can be useful in uncovering a hidden mold problem when no signs of water damage or mold can be detected by a visual inspection.
Are you looking for a professional, licensed, service oriented environmental company? Contact Ottawa Air Quality Testing - GBE Inspections.
Airborne Mold Testing – Mold growth is one of the most common indoor air quality problems. Although severe mold growth is normally obvious to the naked eye, spores and fungal particles are often only detectable via testing. Results indicate whether or not the indoor air has become contaminated by mold spores. We can provide fast same day results. Microbial testing with interpretation criteria.
Volatile Organic Compound (VOCs) – VOCs are a large group of carbon-based chemicals that easily evaporate at room temperature. Concentrations are usually low and the symptoms slow to develop but many of these VOCs could be irritating, harmful or toxic. We use a specialized and sensitive test that reports the total amount of VOCs found in the air and whether they are within a recommended range.
Laser Particle Scanning - Laser particle counters can be used to diagnose air-quality problems. You could have levels of airborne particles or mold spores floating through the air causing you harm without your knowledge. Particulate matter can be irritating to the respiratory system. Our testing service can detect where these particles are located and how abundant they are.
Formaldehyde Testing – Formaldehyde is a primary respiratory tract irritant and can off-gas from certain insulation materials, furniture or flooring materials, especially those made from plywood or particle board or when special glues or processing chemicals are used during manufacturing. In addition to using approved laboratory sampling methods we offer a fast, accurate and cost effective approach to measure formaldehyde in the air.
Toxic Gas Monitoring – Gases from sewer pipes, combustion appliances and vehicle exhaust are irritating and poisonous. We have instruments to measure real time for toxic gases such as carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO₂), sulfur dioxide (SO₂), nitric oxide (NO), ammonia (NH₃), and hydrogen sulfide (H₂S). Toxic gases can cause illness and can lead to death. Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer because it cannot be seen or smelled
Indoor Allergens Analysis – It's presumed that inhalation of airborne particles is the primary route to exposure for allergens. Common indoor allergens are pollen, mould, dust mites, cat and dog dander, cockroach, mouse and rat allergens. Dust samples sent to the laboratory will indicate the level of these common indoor allergens. Since we spend about 90% of our time indoors, it is essential to examine your air quality if you suspect a problem.
Odour Investigations - Mystery odour? Finding mystery odour sources can be extremely difficult. We might be able to help. Some common odour sources include sewer gas (rotten egg smell), chemicals such as paints and cleaning agents, tobacco smoke, pets or pests, dead rodents or gas leaks. In some cases, odors can be used to tell whether there is a problem that needs to be fixed.
Asbestos – Inhalation exposure to asbestos can increase the risk of mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. Asbestos is a hazard to health when the fibers are disturbed and become airborne. Although its use has diminished in recent decades, there are still many products that contain asbestos, especially in older homes, schools and public buildings. There is no safe level for asbestos.
Bacteria - They are bigger than viruses but smaller than fungi, most bacteria require liquid water for growth and are able to multiply quickly. IAQ professionals can identify building source bacteria problems such as endotoxins, legionella bacteria, sewage screening (Bacteroides testing) or bacteria becoming aerosolized by a poorly maintained humidifier causing flu-like illness such as humidifier fever.
Dust mites - Microscopic creatures too small to see with the naked eye which are one of the most common allergen triggers for asthma. They are often present in mattress, pillows, upholstered furniture, carpets, clothes, fabrics, and soft toys, Often, when people believe they are sensitive to dust, they are actually sensitive to the dust mites and their waste particles.
Ozone - Sources of ozone indoors include ozone generators (devices sold as air cleaners that produce ozone intentionally), other types of air cleaners that release ozone as a by-product, as well as printers and photocopiers. Outdoor ozone is also an important contributor to indoor ozone. You are more sensitive to ozone if you have an underlying breathing condition.
Lead - Lead is a toxic metal that can enter the body through inhalation or ingestion. Older homes are more likely to have lead based paint. It can contaminate water through plumbing materials. Children and young babies are at most risk to lead exposure. Common renovation activities such as sanding, cutting, and demolition can create a lead dust problem indoors.
Combustible Gas - Gas leaks are not only an explosive threat, they can also contribute to indoor air quality problems. A combustible gas leak detector is ideal for detecting methane, natural gas, propane and other combustible gas leaks. They can also pick up on sewer gas leaks in plumbing systems. If you suspect a gas leak in your home or building call a professional immediately to assess the situation.
Carbon Dioxide, Temp & Humidity – Basic elements of indoor air quality. CO₂ is a normal part of human respiration. A rapid rise in carbon dioxide levels indicate insufficient outdoor air ventilation. Occupants may experience health effects in buildings where CO₂ is elevated, but the symptoms are usually due to the other contaminants in the air that also build up as a result of insufficient ventilation.
Radon Testing - Is there a high level of radon in your home? Only about 6% of Canadians test for the dangerous gas. After tobacco, it’s the second leading cause of lung cancer in Canada. When radon is confined to enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces, it can accumulate to high levels. Since radon is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas the only way to determine if radon is in your home is by testing.
The quality of the air you breathe inside your home is crucial as it impacts the health of everyone in the building, as well as the overall comfort of the occupants. Health effects from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or possibly years later. From dirty or moldy vents, off-gassing or degrading carpeting to stale and musty air, there are a lot of potential problems in the average home or workplace.
One sure path to energy efficiency in houses is eliminating air leaks. Modern structures are built air tight. If you cut down the amount of air that has to be heated and cooled, you reduce your utility bill substantially. But plugging up all those air leaks means less fresh air indoors and this has brought on other problems. One of the first to be identified was elevated concentrations of volatile organic compounds in the air (commonly called VOC's).
Hundreds of off-gassing VOC's have been identified, but the one that has captured the most attention is formaldehyde. It is a potent eye and nose irritant and causes respiratory effects. One method of measuring VOCs is by using a photo-ionization detector. This estimates the total VOCs (TVOC) and provides immediate results, but is unable to distinguish or identify individual VOCs.
Malfunctioning, improper installation, or improper sizing of HVAC systems can be a large contributor to IAQ problems. Introducing the correct mixture of outside air is top priority for delusion of bacteria, molds, microorganisms, viruses, chemicals and other gases. In addition, mechanical means can be applied to filter and condition the air for the comfort and health of all occupants.
IAQ is being blamed for a host of problems ranging from low worker productivity to increased cancer risk. Testing and diagnostics can lead to significant improvements in air quality.
A pre-purchase home or building air quality inspection provides peace of mind to home buyers. Have your home carefully examined before agreeing to buy. Don't put your health or property at risk.
Air sampling can estimate occupant exposure to airborne contaminants. If you are feeling sick or are just curious and would like to know more about the quality of your home or business’s air
Finding mystery odour sources can be extremely difficult. While most indoor air contaminants originate from within the building, chemicals can be drawn into a building from the outdoors as well.
After mold has been removed a post-remediation verification survey includes inspection, moisture assessment and air clearance testing of the remediated construction materials
Routine maintenance and record keeping in a commercial building which creates a historical baseline and establishes due diligence. Consider worthwhile preventative maintenance.
Mold growth can damage interior finishes and furnishings and in time, cause serious damage to the structural elements of a building. Inspection & indoor air quality testing may be able to detect a problem before it's too late.
If you suspect that your building is experiencing an air quality problem, but you are not sure what it is or how to resolve it, our team can can identify underlying causes, recommend sensible solutions, and verify the results.
We offer a wide range of mold inspection and air quality testing services.
We have Certified Indoor Environmental Consultants on staff, and we are members of the Indoor Air Quality Association.
For general inquiries, please contact us.
Feel free to ask for an quotation.
1401 Prince of Wales Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K2C3J8