fbpx

Indoor Air Quality Testing | Industrial Hygiene Services

Concerns About Your Indoor Air Quality?
Request a Proposal

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Testing for Commercial and Residential Buildings

Safex offers indoor air quality evaluations for commercial, industrial, and residential buildings. Our team of industrial hygienists have completed thousands of indoor air quality tests throughout Ohio.

Request a proposal from Safex to receive our recommendation for your specific indoor air quality situation. We’ll give you our expert opinion on how to proceed with measuring and removing contaminants in your indoor air.

Indoor air quality assessment by Certified Industrial Hygienist

Commercial and Residential Indoor Air Quality Evaluations at Safex Include:

  • Visual inspection of affected areas
  • Interview with building occupants
  • Determination of airflow, temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide concentrations
  • Review of the ventilation system
  • Perform a general volatile organic compound (VOC) screen
  • LEED IAQ Certification Air Testing – Formaldehyde, VOC, carbon dioxide, PM 10 and 4-phenyl cyclohexene
Indoor air assessment for commercial office building

Causes of Poor Indoor Air Quality

If you’re like most of us, you have concerns about the quality of the indoor air you’re breathing in every day. Nasty contaminants may originate from a variety of sources inside or outside of a building. Airborne chemicals, bacteria, fungi, pollen and dust may all contribute to the problem.

Other sources of contaminants may include smoke, dust, poor maintenance of HVAC systems, cleaning supplies, pesticides, and building materials and furnishings. While any of these may be present in every building, problems may arise when the numbers become excessive.

Equipment used for indoor air quality assessment

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you test indoor air quality?

It depends on what we’re looking for! The most common indoor air quality (IAQ) complaints are related to humidity, temperature and odors. But all IAQ investigations rely on visual inspections of the affected area (do we see anything unusual) and evaluating general comfort (temperature and relative humidity). 

We may also send a questionnaire beforehand to help us determine our investigation strategy and differentiate between individual problems.

 

How much does an indoor air quality test cost?

IAQs in the Columbus metro area start at $1800 for 3 testing areas (the affected area, an indoor control and an outdoor control). 

 

What is the standard for indoor air quality?

There are no specific standards, but we reference the following recommendations from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) when we conduct IAQ studies:

  • Carbon dioxide <1000 ppm (or 700 + outdoor); this is an indicator of fresh air concentration
  • Relative humidity 30-65%
  • Temperature 68-72 F, depending on season and indoor humidity

If we are sampling for mold, we consider whether the spores found indoors are the same as those found outdoors (and in similar ratios) and whether the indoor concentration is generally less than the outdoor.

If there’s a concern about a specific chemical (formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, etc.) or an unusual amount of dust, we may compare it to EPA or OSHA regulatory limits.

 

What are the top factors that affect indoor air quality?

The biggest factors that can affect indoor air quality are the amount of fresh air being brought in, relative humidity indoors, and whether there’s a source of moisture affecting building materials.

 

Who can administer an air quality test?

At Safex, all our industrial hygiene consultants conduct IAQ surveys.

 

What are the OSHA requirements on indoor air quality?

There are no specific OSHA regulations for indoor air quality, especially in service occupations (i.e., offices). OSHA does have exposure limits for carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, but it is extremely unlikely that you’d find exposures greater than these limits in office spaces.

There are no standards for biological hazards (aka mold) because a dose-response cannot be established. Some people are much more sensitive than others, due to allergies or other health concerns.

 

What region does Safex serve for indoor air quality investigations?

Primarily we serve central Ohio but do travel throughout the state. We can combine an IAQ with other, already planned, work to make it cost-effective if we’re traveling outside of the central Ohio area.

Indoor Air Quality Testing and Services

The Safex team of industrial hygienists can test your indoor air quality if you suspect mold growth, especially after any long-term water intrusions. Our services are also helpful if you’ve had mold remediation done by a vendor and want to confirm that air quality is acceptable. 

During an indoor air quality assessment, a Safex industrial hygienist will collect air samples (airborne spores will catch in a filter) which will be sent to a lab for microscopic analysis. Samples will be collected in any affected areas, as well as an indoor unaffected control sample (if applicable) and an outdoor control sample. The industrial hygienist will also measure your indoor temperature, relative humidity and carbon dioxide level. 

We can also swab sample surfaces or conduct penetrating moisture measurements if recent water intrusion is the concern for mold. In rare circumstances, we’ll collect direct reading samples for total volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter. 

Once our team receives the laboratory analysis, we’ll email you a report (typically 10-14 days post sampling) with the results and our recommendations. If results show that the indoor air quality is not acceptable, we’ll recommend that you clean the area with a homemade solution of water and Dawn® or hire a company for professional mold remediation. You’ll also want to confirm and fix any sources of water intrusion to prevent future mold growth. 

 

Commercial Indoor Air Quality Testing

Commercial buildings are also at risk for poor indoor air quality if there is long term water intrusion. Many commercial customers come to us when employees complain about allergy symptoms at work. Our team of industrial hygienists can conduct indoor air quality assessments if you suspect mold growth or want to confirm that air quality is acceptable after professional remediation. 

During an indoor air quality assessment, a Safex industrial hygienist will collect air samples (airborne spores will catch in a filter) which will be sent to a lab for microscopic analysis. Samples will be collected in any affected areas, as well as an indoor unaffected control sample (if applicable) and an outdoor control sample. The industrial hygienist will also measure the indoor temperature, relative humidity and carbon dioxide level. 

We can also swab sample surfaces or conduct penetrating moisture measurements if recent water intrusion is the concern for mold. In rare circumstances, we’ll collect direct reading samples for total volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter. 

Once our team receives the laboratory analysis, we’ll email you a report (typically 10-14 days post sampling) with the results and our recommendations. If results show that the indoor air quality is not within recommended guidelines, we’ll provide cleaning/remediation recommendations. You’ll also want to confirm and fix any sources of water intrusion to prevent future mold growth. 

 

Residential Indoor Air Quality Testing 

Most people are spending at least half of their day at home so indoor air quality is important, especially for those with respiratory issues and/or allergies. Generally, homeowners contact us if they see or suspect mold growth in their home. 

Because an indoor air quality assessment is at least $1,500, we generally recommend that if you see visible mold, try to remove the mold yourself or hire a professional mold remediator before hiring our team. 

During an indoor air quality assessment, a Safex industrial hygienist will meet you at your home at a mutually agreed upon time to collect air samples (airborne spores will catch in a filter) which will be sent to a lab for microscopic analysis. Samples will be collected in any affected areas, as well as an indoor unaffected control sample (if applicable) and an outdoor control sample. The industrial hygienist will also measure the indoor temperature, relative humidity and carbon monoxide level in your home. (Our team follows current COVID-19 precautions.)

Some insurance companies will reimburse homeowners for our services so you may want to call your agent. 

Once our team receives the laboratory analysis, we’ll email you a report (typically 10-14 days post sampling) with the results and our recommendations. If results show that the indoor air quality is not acceptable, we’ll provide cleaning/remediation recommendations. You’ll also want to confirm and fix any sources of water intrusion to prevent future mold growth. 

 

The Importance of Indoor Air Quality

The quality of your indoor air can impact your health. Some people experience allergic reactions when their indoor air quality is poor, while others may be sluggish (if CO2 is high) or just uncomfortable if humidity or temperature is not within the normal range. Please consult a doctor if you have health related concerns due to indoor air quality. 

The main components of indoor air are:

  1. Airborne fungi – These can cause allergy issues. General guidelines state that the acceptable indoor fungi levels in houses and offices should be less than 1,000 fungi spores per cubic meter (m3). 

 

  1. Carbon dioxide – Concentrations of CO2 serve as an indicator of the overall adequacy of ventilation. Appendix D of ASHRAE 62.1-2016 states that maintaining a steady-state carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration in a space no greater than about 700 ppm above outdoor air concentrations will indicate that a substantial majority of visitors entering a space will be satisfied.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard No. 62.1-2016 Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality specifies that air should meet regional air quality attainment status for carbon monoxide of less than nine parts per million (ppm) over an eight-hour period.

  1. Temperature and humidity – The optimum operative temperature range for mainly sedentary environments (i.e., office and school settings) with a relative humidity around 30% is, depending upon the relative humidity, 70.0°F-78.0°F for winter/76.0°F-82.0°F for summer conditions.  

ASHRAE Standard 62-2016, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality recommends that relative humidity in occupied spaces be controlled to less than 65% to reduce the likelihood of conditions that can lead to microbial growth.

 ASHRAE Standard 55-2017, Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy, Figure 5.3.1 Graphical Comfort Zone Method.

What do you do if you suspect your indoor air quality is poor? 

Homeowners who suspect poor indoor air quality can start with making sure the HVAC is operating correctly. Employees who experience issues at work should start with talking to the building manager. If you determine an indoor air quality assessment is your next step, contact Safex.

Get a Quote on Indoor Air Quality Testing

If you think an indoor air quality assessment would be useful for your home or business, please contact us for an estimate. Our assessments include travel time, set up and monitoring and equipment and lab analysis fees. 

Request a Proposal