Shield Guard Home Inspections Provides Indoor Air Quality Testing - Mold & VOCs
Indoor Air Quality Testing
Mold & Voc's
Indoor Air Quality is very important to an occupant's overall health. The main cause of poor indoor quality is the presence of mold. Typically, mold is discovered in your attics, basements, crawl spaces, bathrooms and kitchens. Usually, some homeowners can identify mold. Many factors can lead to the presence of mold including but not limited to poor attic ventilation/insulation, moisture intrusion in the basement and or basement humidity levels, moisture intrusion and or elevated humidity levels within a crawl space, “over-insulated homes” or lack of air circulation, the presence of plumbing and or roof leaks, incorrect dryer and or bathroom fan vents and poor insulation within the walls. At times, 1 or more factors are present that are contributing to the growth of mold. In conclusion, there are thousands of reasons why mold may be growing within your home.
Shield Guard Home Inspections can provide indoor air quality testing for the presence of mold and VOC's - aka volatile organic compounds which is off gassing from building materials such as paint.
Our state-of-the-art equipment along with our education and experience in building science allows us to not just check the quality of the air within your home but helps us IDENTIFY the location. Finding the exact location of mold may be difficult at times. Our experience allows us to use a process of elimination to narrow down the approximate location. We are one of a few companies that offer invasive inspections which consist of drilling small 1/2” holes within walls to use a borescope camera to look behind walls while minimizing damage to the structure.
Additionally, we provide the underlining cause of the mold growth, link the end client with a contractor who fits the job and overlooks the project by answering questions the contractor, homeowner and or mold remediation company may have. Indoor air quality mold testing is a little more than hitting a button on a machine and taking air samples. Indoor air quality mold testing is consisting of using state of the art equipment, along with applying a general understanding of the structure systems and finding a method of correction that minimizes damages and costs. Hiring an inexperienced Mold inspection/testing companies can cost you more on the back end.
Indoor Air Quality Testing
Importance of Understanding Construction Science
Assessing indoor air quality can get complicated, especially with the array of structures, designs, and materials used in the buildings around Albany, NY. While indoor air testing might sound like a quick and easy process on paper, the reality is that the water table, soil absorption rates, air tightness of structures, the insulated rating of the building envelope, air leakage, HVAC setup and many other considerations must be taken into account to get an accurate reading — and that’s where our team of experts can help.
Challenges in Indoor Air Quality Testing Within Albany NY
One thing that makes Albany, NY so charming is the diverse array of homes here. Older residences (especially those built before the 1960s) contend with entirely different moisture dynamics than newer homes, which tend to be more air tight and efficient. The key to ensuring accurate indoor air quality testing — and moving toward healthier indoor air quality — is to hire an expert familiar with the area’s complications.
Considerations in Older Albany NY Homes
While newer homes tend to be more energy efficient, it’s not all bad news if you own an older home in Albany, NY. In fact, these older structures have some unique advantages, but there are still some complexities to contend with when testing indoor air quality.
Basement Moisture: Many older homes in Albany, NY have basements, and while they offer amazing bonus space, they tend to have moisture issues and our region's higher water table can exacerbate this problem, causing groundwater to sit closer to the structure which may contribute to capillary action. Excess moisture passing through the concrete walls (capillary action) can lead to mold growth, greatly affecting air quality.
Lumber: Certain homes built in the area between the 1900s and 1960s were constructed using lumber that is more resistant to mold when compared to newer structures — this gives some older homes a distinct advantage in battling moisture issues, especially in basements.
Air Leakage: Older structures in general tend to have more air leakage due to gaps between the foundation and framing components and windows that are not airtight. These gaps allow passive air to move throughout the home, which can be a blessing and a curse. Additionally passive air flow due to the lack of insulation can contribute to more passive air into the structure. Good air flow can prevent mold growth in damp basements, for instance, but it can lead to drafts and reduce energy efficiency elsewhere in the home.
Neighborhood Growth: Older homes used to stand on larger lots that have been encroached upon over the decades, leading to impermeable surfaces like paved driveways and concrete sidewalks that were not there when your home was first built. This leads to more runoff that can increase the risk of water intrusion into your home’s structure and foundation and, since older structures in Albany, NY may not have been designed with the best drainage, this can harm air quality. Assessing and familiarity with alterations regarding non permeable surfaces is very important.
Basement HVAC Systems: Older homes in Albany, NY sometimes have HVAC furnaces in the basement with duct systems distributing air throughout the house. This layout can really impact indoor air quality if there are any issues with basement moisture or mold. If your HVAC system is in the basement, it’s very important to monitor air quality down there.
Considerations in Newer Albany Homes
While older homes may have some unique advantages around Albany, like different varieties of lumber that can be more mold resistant, newer homes have some benefits and considerations all their own.
Air Tightness: Newer homes in Albany, NY must be constructed to meet strict energy codes, which results in airtight structures with reduced airflow. This is great for keeping your heating and cool system running well, but lack of airflow can trap moisture, promoting mold growth. Proper ventilation of habitable space is the utmost importance. Many newer structures lack proper ventilation.
Condensation: An airtight environment in newer homes can lead to condensation on windows and walls. This condensation may create conditions conducive to mold growth, especially in areas with a lot of indoor plants.
Lumber Selection: The lumber used in newer homes is sometimes less resistant to mold compared to that used in older homes. This factor, combined with airtight construction, can contribute to mold issues in newer Albany homes.
Basements: In newer homes in Albany, NY basements tend to be dryer, which is great news for your bonus space. It’s still important to monitor your basement for mold growth, especially if you have an HVAC system down there, but problems aren’t as likely as with older homes when the owner prevents relative humidity levels from exceeding 50%.
Addressing Indoor Air Quality Challenges
Regardless of whether you live in an older or newer home, indoor air quality testing can help you identify and address potential issues so that you can reduce allergies and breathe easier. Professional indoor air quality testing services in Albany, NY can assess your specific situation and provide recommendations for improvement.
For older homes, this may involve taking extra steps on properly addressing surface water management and improving drainage. In newer homes, this may mean improving airflow in stagnant spaces like basements and crawl spaces. In all homes, moisture management (like with a good dehumidification system) is a must, and an air quality professional can help you come up with the right solution.
Who to Hire for Indoor Air Quality Testing in Albany, NY
The expert you hire to conduct indoor air quality testing must take into consideration your structure, local water table, soil absorption rates, air tightness, and lumber selection. As a specialist with unique knowledge in construction science and the region's housing landscape, I’m able to account for the challenges and considerations that are impacting your indoor air quality — and help you overcome them for good.
There are MANY factors in resolving indoor air quality complications caused by mold.
With our understanding of construction science we can assist you with your indoor air quality complications.