Indoor Air Quality Measurement
Indoor air quality (IAQ) broadly refers to the environmental characteristics inside buildings that may affect human health, comfort, or work performance. We monitor IAQ because we spend approximately 90% of our time breathing “indoor air”. Unlike outdoor air, indoor air is recycled continuously causing it to trap and build up pollutants. IAQ characteristics include the concentrations of pollutants in indoor air, as well as air temperature and humidity.
Why does indoor air quality matter?
Poor IAQ contributes to both short and long term health issues which can lead to decreased productivity, absenteeism, and possible litigation. Typical symptoms associated with poor indoor air quality include eye, nose, and throat irritation, headache, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. In some cases exposure to indoor air pollution can lead to acute and chronic respiratory illnesses including asthma, lung cancer, pneumonia, systemic hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Legionnaires’ disease, and humidifier fever. See below for a table of major sources and potential health effects of indoor air pollution. In some countries indoor air quality can be worse than outdoor air quality, especially when we consider the amount of time people spend indoors versus outdoors.
Factors Contributing To Poor Indoor Air Quality
Gas and respirable particulates in the air are the primary sources that contribute to poor IAQ. Sources can include inadequate ventilation, poorly maintained HVAC systems, wood and coal stoves, non-vented gas heaters, environmental tobacco smoke, vehicle exhaust emissions, building materials, carpeting, furniture, maintenance products, solvents, cleaning supplies etc. The actual concentrations of these pollutants can also be amplified by other external factors including poor ventilation, humidity, and temperature.
Typical Applications For Iaq Monitoring
- IAQ complaint investigation and analysis
- HVAC system performance monitoring
- Air quality engineering analysis
- Mould investigation and remediation
- Health and comfort assessment
- Airport lounges, shopping malls, offices
- Schools and kindergartens
- Hospitals and elderly care facilities