Indoor air quality is the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of indoor air. This environment is created by the interaction of the site, the climate, the building system, the potential contaminant sources (ie: furnishings, moisture sources, work processes and activities, and outdoor pollutants) and the building occupants.
► What is an IAQ Monitor and how can it help me?
An indoor air quality monitor samples the air continuously until downloaded; producing an analysis of the air quality based on the channels/gases supplied. YES Monitors measure IAQ on 3 basic levels; Temperature, Relative Humidity and Carbon Dioxide. By recording samples from all three variables simultaneously over a period of time, one is able to analyze where and when the air quality is poor in the workplace. Once the source has been determined then proper ventilation can be installed or altered.
► When should you purchase an IAQ Monitor?
Prior to introducing IAQ monitors into the investigation, one should have a comprehensive understanding of how the building operates and the nature of the complaints. An overview of the ventilation system will help to define where you should place the YES Air Quality Monitors to best address the issues at hand.
► Who uses these monitors?
Initially these monitors were developed to assist property managers, building maintenance staff, health and safety officials, and consultants working in the occupational environment field. Although now various companies, corporations and schools use IAQ monitors to ensure proper air quality in the workplace.
► Why measure Temperature and Relative Humidity?
ASHRAE Standard 55-1992, Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy, sets guidelines intended to achieve thermal conditions that at least 80% of the occupants would find comfortable.
ASHRAE Relative humidity levels are recommended between 25-60%.
** Low RH causes skin to become dry leading to chapping and irritation, increases static electricity hindering computer operation.
** High RH levels can result in condensation and thus the development of molds and fungi.
High temperature and humidity levels can increase the concentrations of some pollutants. To obtain an accurate reading of pollutants levels, it is necessary to take into account these levels and balance the temperature and relative humidity with the carbon dioxide levels.
► Why use Carbon Dioxide Levels to determine ventilation?
Carbon dioxide is an odorless, colorless gas produced through human metabolism. This provides the most accurate readings for determining when ventilation should be increased and decreased. Saving energy and improving air quality concurrently. High CO2 levels usually coincide with high indoor contaminates, due to a problem with the HVAC system.
► Facts on CO2
» Producers of CO2: people and combustion of fossil fuels (gas & oil furnaces/heaters)
» The average person performing light office work produces CO2 at a rate of 0.3L/min.
» Normal part of the atmosphere at 330 - 350 ppm
» Acceptable Office levels 600 - 800 ppm
► What problems does poor indoor air quality cause?
Many experience these symptoms without realizing that they can be alleviated through proper ventilation.
Sick Building Syndrome
A set of symptoms related to chemical, particulate or biological exposure that cannot be related to a specific cause but are alleviated when the occupant leaves the building. Individuals report symptoms such as headaches, nausea, fatigue and drowsiness, eye, nose, and throat irritation.
A specific illness with a known cause that is a result of exposure to an indoor agent. Examples are Legionnaire's disease and Pontiac Fever.