Residential Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)

You take over 20,000 breaths each day (18,000 of those breaths are taken indoors) Common issues that can negatively impact residential indoor environmental quality (IEQ)

Outdoor environmental quality

  • What is outdoors can come indoors
  • Naturally occurring contaminants in air and soil
  • Pollution-related contaminants in air and soils

Outdoor environmental quality

IEQ
  • Naturally occuring contaminants in air and soil
    • Dust
    • Pollen
    • Mold spores
      • Valley fever
    • Radon
IEQ
  • Pollution-related contaminants in air and soils
    • Ground-level ozone
    • Carbon monoxide
    • Sulfu and nitrogen oxidex
    • Soil chemical vapor intrusion (think Love Canal)

Who regulates my home's environmental quality?

IEQ
  • Exterior maintenance
    • Roof
    • Windows
  • Landscaping
    • Irrigation
    • Pesticides
    • Pruning trees and shrubs
    • Animals

Roof Maintenance

IEQ
  • Remove detritus from roof
  • Keep roof drains clear
  • Direct draining water away from house
  • Check roof penetration mastics for cracking and deterioration

Window Maintenance

IEQ
  • Check caulking around windows and doors.
  • Replace broken glazing

Landscaping

IEQ
  • Irrigation
    • Do not over water
    • Prevent sprinkler from spraying on house
    • Do not put planters against house
    • Slope of landscaping away from house
    • Keep hose bibs in good repair don't let water drip down side of house
  • Prune trees and shrubs away from house
  • Clean up after animals, both pets and pests
  • Use caution with pesticides
  • Do not plant vines to grow up the side of your house
  • Some vines can actually grow through the mortar of brick/block homes

Nuisance birds pose a health threat IEQ

  • Pigeons, starlings, crows, etc.
  • Over 60 diseases are attributed to birds
  • Routes of exposure include:
    • Food and water
    • Inhalation of contaminated dust
    • Transference by parasites (fleas, ticks, mites & other ectoparasites). Direct contact with feces.

Garage

IEQ
  • Don't store gasoline indoors, or near pilot lights
  • Annually inspect water sources
  • water heater
  • softener
  • Do not block garage passive vents
  • Use caution with storage of cleaning chemicals, paint, and other VOC's in garage

Water heater

IEQ
  • Gas water heaters should be elevated off the ground
  • Make sure the gas water heater exhaust system is in place and unobstructed.
  • Check electric water heaters heating elements

Kitchen

IEQ
  • Inspect water sources
  • Fridge ice maker
  • Under sinks
  • Dish washer
  • RO system
  • Repair water leaks immediately!
  • Do not keep a bucket under leak
  • Run your exhaust fan while in the kitchen
  • Do not put food items in your trash compactor
  • Enclose food that gets moldy, such as an orange in the bottom of the fruit bowl

Infrared camera

What is Wet?
IEQ IEQ
What is Wet?
IEQ IEQ
What is Wet?
IEQ IEQ

Bathroom

IEQ
  • Inspect water sources:
  • Under sinks
  • Tubs
  • Toliets
      • Water supply line
      • Wax ring
    • Don't carpet your bathroom, particularly at the sink, tub, and shower.
    • Run the water periodically in unused drains.
      • Use caution with storage of cleaning chemicals, paint, and other VOC's in garage

Bedroom

IEQ
  • Dust mites live in pillows, mattresses
  • Burning candles
    • Increase particulates in air
    • Scented candles can increase VOCs
    • Candles can cause "ghosting"

Living rooms

IEQ
  • Carpet and pressed wood furniture
    • VOCs and formaldehyde
  • Keep it clean

Vacuuming

IEQ
  • Vacuum with High Efficiency Filters (True HEPA is best technology)
  • Central Vacuum is better when it exhausts outdoors (also a hearing conservation bonus)

Laundry room

IEQ
  • Inspect water sources:
    • behind wash machine
    • behind dryer
    • under utility sink
  • Run your exhaust fan
  • Secure the washing machine drain line so it will not jump out of the drain.
  • Do not exhaust dryer vents into the garage or the attic
  • Make sure vent is free of lint build-up
  • Do not block or cover vent

Heating and air conditioning

IEQ
  • HVAC
  • Keep air handlers clean and free of debris build-up
  • Replace filters
    • Make sure filters are right size
  • Check condensate pans and drains
  • Don't let water pool beneath drain
  • Don't let water run down side of house

HVAC Ducts

IEQ
  • Confirm ducts are connected

HVAC Compressors

IEQ
  • Do not block heat exchangers (compressors)

What to do you do if you done all the maintenance and a mystery odor occurs?

  • Clean out pet water bowl
  • Check for shrimp left in cupboards
  • Cracks and leaks in sewer lines

Kid's have constant runny noses

  • Wash their stuffed animals and pillows in hot, hot water and dry in heated dryer.
  • These harbor dust mites and other allergens
  • Clean home to remove pet dander

Asbestos

IEQ
  • When you eat it or breath it, asbestos is bad.
  • When you eat it, you can get diseases like gastrointestinal cancer.
  • When you breath it, you can get diseases like asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer
  • Popcorn ceiling
  • Asbestos containing duct tape
  • Drywall & joint compound
  • Plaster & stucco
  • Vinyl floor tiles, floor sheeting & adhesives

Lead-based paint

IEQ
  • If a home was built before 1978, then assume there is lead-based paint.
  • Use caution remodeling.

Light Chronic Lead Exposure

IEQ
  • Anemia
  • Impotence
  • Nervous system damage
  • Hearing impairment
  • Impaired mental function
  • Appetite loss
  • Abdominal pain Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Sleeplessness
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Renal (Kidney) failure
  • Miscarriages & stillbirt

When should you call a professional?

IEQ
  • Potentially dealing with a regulated material:
    • Asbestos
    • Lead
    • Meth lab
  • When need issues documented as well as questions answered
    • Seller's disclosure statements
  • Potential health exposures

When you call professionals

IEQ
  • They may use personal protection equipment when in your home
  • Don't freak out when you see him/her putting on a respirator, disposable coveralls and gloves