Unseen Dangers: Poor Indoor Air Quality at Work
Client: Federal Government Office, Ottawa, ON
Problem: Staff were losing energy throughout the day and getting sick on a regular basis. Eventually, maintenance management questioned whether there was sufficient air flow in the office and booked Mold Busters for an initial indoor air quality assessment.
Ventilation is crucial to a healthy indoor environment, so it was a good step forward.
Mold Busters got together with the owner and maintenance management and learned that the building had neither a history of leaks, so we conducted a visual inspection and discovered no visible signs of mold growth. However, just because you can’t see mold doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Solution: We used moisture metre detection and thermal imaging to inspect the premises. We found the central air conditioning units had been slowly leaking over the years, causing mold to grow along the floor underneath the carpet.
No building owner can completely control microscopic leaks without specialized detection tools, so it wasn’t the maintenance team’s fault. These problems simply weren’t visible to the naked eye.
In addition to our inspection, we recommended a comprehensive air quality analysis. The air quality results showed elevated, toxigenic mold spores in the office areas. That meant that there was illness-causing mold growing somewhere in the building and it was getting into people’s noses, mouths, and lungs.
How We Fixed It: The building owner doubted us until we showed them the technical readings. Mold Busters uses highly precise tools and accredited labs to test all our samples. It’s hard to refuse scientific data.
Thankfully Mold Busters is a trusted name in the region and the building owners decided to hire us on to remediate the mold in the building.
Remediation is a painstaking process. Every angle needs to be covered or you risk mold re-infecting the air.
We thoroughly remediated the office area in accordance to IICRC’s Guidelines for Mold Remediation. First we ensured all problematic air conditioning units were fixed and re-insulated; disinfected all office areas and materials; and took the appropriate measures to correct levels of relative humidity, recommending they reset their centralized system from 50 per cent humidity to 30 per cent and install humidity monitors on office floors.
All work areas had to be properly contained, and all infected materials properly disposed of. This included air conditioning filters and materials from the leak with water damage.
We assessed the air quality once more, following remediation. Results showed what is considered normal indoor air quality—no more mold. About one week later, the maintenance manager mentioned office workers were happy with our work and no longer reported feeling ill. Great!
Understanding how to go after mold from all angles is crucial to a high quality remediation job. Mold Busters brings that sort of expertise to the table. Clean air in the office or building you occupy is so important for your health, so if you have poor indoor air quality you may begin to experience symptoms.
If this sounds familiar, and you’re experiencing symptoms of poor indoor air quality at work or home, book your air quality test today!
Author: John Ward, Mold Busters
Published: August 23, 2018
Updated: April 12, 2019