According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in the last several years, a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air, even in the largest and most industrialized cities.
While the dangers of some of these pollutants (such as radon, lead and water contaminants) are well-documented and relatively easy to test for, the documentation and understanding of other pollutants are still emerging.
According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), health effects associated with indoor air pollutants include irritation of the eyes, nose and throat; headaches; dizziness; fatigue; respiratory diseases; heart disease; and forms of cancer.
People who may be exposed to indoor air pollutants for the longest periods of time are often those most susceptible to the effects of indoor air pollution. Such groups include people who are young, elderly or have chronic illness, especially those who have respiratory or cardiovascular disease.
The American Lung Association has declared that poor indoor air quality can cause or contribute to the development of infections, lung cancer and chronic lung diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
There are many types of indoor air contaminants that result from an abundance of sources. Indoor air pollution does not discriminate. It can be detected in all types and styles of homes—old, new, small, large, urban and rural.
The EPA states that most pollutants affecting indoor air quality come from sources inside buildings, although some originate from the outdoors.
Fortunately, the many particles and pollutants that are combined in a household can easily be identified with today's technologies.
Indoor sources can be categorized into a few different measurements and tested individually. These factors are considered the three most commonly monitored factors of indoor air quality:
As a home inspection professional, you know that providing additional services can help you gain a competitive edge, increase revenue and assure clients that they are getting a more thorough, accurate and all-inclusive inspection. When it comes to choosing a home, safety is and should be top of mind for clients and their families.
Indoor air quality and mold detection systems are available in the marketplace and can be performed in any residential, commercial or industrial indoor locations including homes, offices, restaurants, hotels, public spaces, facilities and more.
Investigate options that allow you to survey for indoor air quality and mold contaminants, and offer these services to your clients. It can be part of the routine home inspection, combined as a package or provided as a stand-alone service.
When investigating products and new services to offer to your clients, look for suppliers that offer education and promotional materials (digital and print) to help market the service. Add the educational information to your website so your potential clients can learn more about the service as well.
Indoor air quality and mold detection are very real, complex, existing issues. Each instance should be looked at independently and thoroughly for specific variables.
Consumers can develop good habits to improve indoor air quality. Dusting and vacuuming regularly, keeping smoke and secondhand smoke out, properly ventilating rooms that have fireplaces, making certain the flue damper is operational, ensuring that the chimney is properly sealed, changing HVAC filters regularly and ensuring that bathrooms have functioning exhaust fans. Becoming habitual in performing these simple steps will improve the air inside a property.
Several comprehensive consumer resources are available through the EPA and the CPSC, and many of these resources are referenced in this article. Consumers can read these resources to educate themselves further on the importance of indoor air quality.