Indoor Air Quality Management

It is much easier to prevent indoor air quality (IAQ) problems through good maintenance practices than it is to try to correct them after they have developed. The following are basic strategies for safeguarding indoor air quality:

• Regularly clean the entryways and entryway mats or grates to keep particulates from being tracked into the building.

• Prohibit smoking inside the building, or outside near the building's entryways, windows, or air intakes or enforce the no-smoking policy.

• Control and remove moisture (from humidity, condensation, or water leaks/intrusions) through preventative ventilation and maintenance to prevent mold. If the mold problem could be serious, hire mold remediation specialists to assess and remediate the problem.

• Keep carpeting clean and dry.

• Perform routine maintenance of the heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system, including regular filter replacement and duct cleaning.

• Select low-toxic materials and products, including building materials (see Chapter 3) as well as low-toxic cleaning products, pest control products, and landscaping fertilizers and herbicides.

• Monitor and maintain the building's ventilation system to make sure it is working properly and meeting airflow specifications to deliver enough outside air to all areas of the building.

• Store any toxic products and chemical supplies (including paints) in a room that has negative pressure and that is vented directly to the outside. Providing such a space requires coordination in the design of the building and mechanical system.

• Open windows for natural ventilation, when appropriate, to get outside air flow-


• Paint, paint thinners, primers, and stains

• Glues and adhesives

• Chemical cleaning supplies (cleaners, disinfectants, graffiti removers, polish, deodorizers, etc.)

• Fluorescent lamps/lightbulbs

• Switches or thermostats that contain mercury

• Pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers

• Computers, TVs, printers, and other electronic equipment

• Printer or copier ink/toner

• Medical/biohazard waste (including needles and mercury thermometers)

• Used motor oil ing through the rooms, particularly when doing repairs, cleaning, or installations that might involve any noxious or offgassing chemicals (including painting, gluing, or applying finishes) or when bringing new furniture into the building.

• When preparing to do any rehab work or major cleaning, maintenance, or repair projects inside the building, refer to SMACNA's (Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association) IAQ Guidelines for Occupied Buildings Under Construction, Chapter 3, for instructions on protecting ducts, containing dust, and mitigating other IAQ risks. If possible, isolate the part of the HVAC system serving the work area zones from the rest of the system. Inform building occupants about any work that may affect their health or comfort, and provide respiratory equipment, if needed. Carpet removal, among other rehab activities, can release a lot of dust, mold, and allergens into the air.

• If residents or building staff develop unexplained and similar health problems, including chronic respiratory symptoms, bring in an IAQ specialist to do a thorough investigation and building assessment.

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