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I A Q monitoring?

Snow-bird friends of mine suffer mysterious ailments when they return from Florida in the spring. Their house heating system is hot-water coils in ductwork with a/c coils as well.

Is there some sort of test which could detect the presence of airborne bacteria/pathogens?

I am thinking of some sort of filter which could be left for a period to trap whatever is floating around in the air, and then be sent in for analysis.--NBC


  • BillW
    BillW Member Posts: 198
    IAQ tests

    There are lots of air quality testing instruments, but they are usually designed for professionals to use and interpret the data.  There are small, battery-powered air pumps that are worn by an individual, or left in a space.  They simulate breathing the suspect atmosphere for a specific time period.  A filter or a chemical tube is attached, and the particles on the filter are counted and identified under a microscope, or the chemical tube is analyzed in a gas chromatograph or other lab equipment, to identify any gas or vapor issues.

    Direct reading instruments are available for oxygen, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulphide, ammonia, carbon dioxide and flammable vapors or gases.  They range from simple alarms that are worn for worker protection, to sophisticated instruments that are used in arson investigations.

    Home security systems now can monitor for high levels of carbon monoxide, or flammable gases/vapors, and send an alarm if there are any problems.

     Services of this type are available from an Environmental Engineer, or an Industrial Hygienist, or an IAQ specialist.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    Air quality monitoring

    Thanks for the reply.

    I think that some sort of air filtering device which could be placed in the house for a period of time, and then the filter sent out to experts for the microscope examination might be the way to go. As we may have not Iaq experts here, then a do-it-yourself approach might be a start. Is there such a service?--nbc
  • BillW
    BillW Member Posts: 198

    Look in your local B to B yellow pages under environmental engineers, Industrial Hygiene consultants and IAQ specialists.  You'll probably find lots of radon guys and mold specialsts, but they likely won't be of any help.  Ask if they have a lab or access to one.  That is the only place you can get proper results.  Let them know that you are interested in airborne particle levels.  Good Luck.
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850

    Wouldn't an ERV or HRV be ideal for a home like this where it is sealed up tight for long periods of time. I'm not saying that the home may not have other allergen factors, but if it's a tight home and the air stagnates, fresh air might be the solution?

  • BillW
    BillW Member Posts: 198

    ER/HR ventilators will certainly provide air exchange, and in most cases, run on low speed all the time.  In a house that isn't occupied, they may prevent stangnant air and dilute any offgassing from new carpets, paint or construction material, but the concern here is particulates.  ER/HR units have filters, but they are there to protect the heat transfer surfaces, and any IAQ function is provided by extrenal filters or air cleaners.
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