Cleaning & Restoration Breaking News

Airborne enemies in the home

June 27, 2008
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

(This Old House) June 27, 2008-- Bud Offermann's targets are invisible contaminants, like dust mites, mold spores, or volatile organic compounds, that homeowners worry might be damaging their health.

"People come to me with all sorts of concerns," says Offermann, president of San Francisco--based Indoor Environmental Engineering, an air-quality consulting firm. "They have small kids with allergies, or they are having symptoms themselves."

For $1,500, he conducts a complete air-quality checkup. If the complaint is a respiratory ailment, he checks for mold in bathrooms, kitchens, and air-handling systems. If nothing turns up, he'll explore inside wall cavities and take air samples for laboratory analysis.

Offermann's more chemically sensitive clients sometimes call complaining of a generalized funk he terms "brain fog." In those cases, he tests for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chemical compounds that can be emitted by wall-to-wall carpet, finishes, plywood, and other construction materials.

"It's kind of like detective work," he says. And these days, Offermann is busier than Mike Hammer after a triple homicide. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the air inside our homes and offices is up to five times more polluted than even the smoggiest industrial town.

Asthma in children, who inhale 50 percent more air per pound of body weight than adults, has been directly linked to the presence of dust mites, mold, and pet dander.

More formidable airborne enemies include radon, an invisible gas produced by uranium in the soil under your house; secondhand smoke; and poisonous gases like carbon monoxide, which can be emitted from poorly maintained gas stoves, furnaces, or fireplaces, and can cause headaches, chest pains, even death.

When not properly maintained, HVAC systems can become breeding grounds for mold.

"In most buildings and homes, the air handlers just aren't kept up," says Bill Eva, a senior industrial hygienist with an air-quality consulting company in Clearwater, Florida. "People don't realize how important it is to keep them clean."

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to i Cleaning Specialist Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

The 2014 Experience Conference and Exhibition

A look in photos at the 2014 Experience Conference and Exhibition, which was held from April 24-26 at the Embassy Suites Convention Center and Spa in Frisco, Texas.

1/27/15 2:00 pm EST

Grow Your Business and Improve Operations with New Payment Technology

Attend this free webinar to learn how new developments in payment technology can help you close more jobs, increase upselling opportunities and improve operations.

Podcasts

The winter slow season is a great time to pursue commercial cleaning accounts and stay busy. John "the Hitman" Braun solicited questions from thousands of cleaners across the country regarding their questions on commercial cleaning accounts and answers them in this episode of the show.
More Podcasts

ICS Cleaning Specialist Magazine

CoverImage

2014 Nov/Dec

The Nov/Dec ICS features content on how to get better meter readings, a roundtable on truckmount development, neighborhood marketing and more. Also included is the annual Buyer’s Guide and Directory.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Janitorial Work

In addition to residential and commercial carpet cleaning, do you do any janitorial work on the side?
View Results Poll Archive

THE ICS STORE

FinalCover.gif
The Carpet Cleaner's Book of Unlimited Success! (ebook)

Don’t worry about the recession or about your competition.  Now you can be the owner of over 400 ways for carpet cleaning professionals to make more money and get more jobs!

More Products

ICS DIRECTORY AND BUYING GUIDE

Director_Buyer.jpgThe premier resource and reference guide for the cleaning and restoration industries.

Click here to view

STAY CONNECTED

facebook_40.png twitter_40px.png youtube_40px.pngcrc logo

TRUCKMOUNT EQUIPMENT AND ACCESSORIES GUIDE

Truckmount.jpgEquipment listings and specifications from the leading industry manufacturers.

Click here to view