30 to 40% of the calls received by Indoor Environmental Testing Inc. are from people who just bought a house and discovered an air quality issue after moving in. Suddenly the whole family has the sniffles and it soon becomes obvious it’s the house.
With low housing inventory, home buyers are often skipping inspections or buying a house sight unseen. If you have allergies or environmental sensitivities, air quality testing is a must when possible.
Here are some examples of air quality issues we find on a regular basis. Some are easy to fix while some have surprised new homeowners with huge repair bills!
You might detect an “old house smell” upon entry into the house but your Realtor assures you that the house just needs” airing out” because it’s been closed up. Mouse and rat allergens can cause a myriad of symptoms including rhinitis (hay fever) and asthma. The allergens come from the urine, hair follicles and dander. These are often present in the house dust so occupants are exposed when touching surfaces and inhaling the dust in the air.
If the infestation is in the walls or ceiling cavities, these must be opened and the insulation removed and replaced which can be a costly proposition. Rodent or bat infestations in attics can be so severe as to require a complete replacement of the insulation.
Volatile Organic Compound
Numerous products of off-gas chemicals called VOCs. Examples of chemicals found in homes are benzene and toluene from an attached garage, dichlorobenzene from moth balls or pesticides, acetic acid from frequent use of vinegar for cleaning and formaldehyde from laminate flooring, carpeting or new kitchen cabinets. Chronic headaches, nasal, eye and throat irritation and brain fog are common complaints when these are present.
Low-level carbon monoxide
Most homes now have carbon monoxide detectors however, low-level carbon monoxide leaks will never trigger an alarm on standard detectors. Low-level leaks, which can cause lethargy, chronic fatigue, nausea, eye irritation and headaches, can go on for years unsuspected and undetected. The most common sources of carbon monoxide are gas water heaters and gas stoves.
This is the most common discovery among home buyers. Even with disclosures from the seller, there is no guarantee that previous water damage was handled adequately, even when remediated by professionals.
A common example is a flooded basement where wall cavities were not dried sufficiently. Another example is frequent carpet shampooing which leaves carpets damp and subject to repeated mold growth. After frequent shampooing, carpet fibers can harbor huge quantities of mold. Mold testing can easily catch this during a mold inspection.
Air quality testing is money well-spent as it can alert prospective buyers to potential defects and save the future homeowner some costly repairs.
Air quality testing is a great way for new homeowners to measure the air quality in the house. The risk from environmental pollutants is greater indoors than outdoors, that is why it is a must to get air quality testing before buying a home. Air quality inspections will help your next home purchase a success with Indoor Environmental Testing Inc.
For more information about air quality testing, contact Indoor Environmental Testing Inc. at (800) MY-AIR-TEST