What is Sick-Air Syndrome?
As a homeowner or business owner, this question is critical when seeking out a HVAC technician!
What if several people working in an office or industrial building begin to display the same symptoms of illness? In your home, have more than one family member started to complain of symptoms such as allergies, lingering illness, virus, etc.? Hidden hazards such as mold, CO2 or radon gas, and more, can be the problem. A CIEC (Council-Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant) specialist knows how to find and solve issues that so often go overlooked, until the very air you breathe has become unhealthy.
What We Know
Indoor air pollution is probably not a subject that comes up around the kitchen table or the work place water cooler, but the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has ranked indoor air pollutants among the top five environmental risks to public health!
It is subtle – showing up as eye irritation, headache, nausea and fatigue, or pulmonary infections and allergies. Poor indoor air at home, work or in public places – such as schools and hospitals – hinders comfort, attention span and productivity. OSHA estimates that poor indoor air costs employers fifteen billion dollars annually due to worker inefficiency and sick leave.
Work productivity is important to employers and according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, companies can improve worker performance by as high as 10% by improving air-quality.
What causes poor air-quality? Chemicals can emanate from technology itself. From computers and electronics, to printers and copiers, we find significant amounts of heat production busy sending emissions into the air from the plastics, circuitry and adhesives used to make these products. Construction materials, furniture and furnishings with formaldehyde and toluene, cleaning products, pest control solutions, personal care products, and more, add to the VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) found in the air.
Outdoor air ventilation is essential in reducing indoor air pollution. It’s essential in providing good air in the workplace. (The industry Code required for this ventilation is 15 CFM per person) Many modern buildings are designed with a tight seal, which is good for energy efficiency, but bad for air quality. Ventilation is a big part of HVAC! The World Health Organization estimates that 30% of all new or renovated buildings have poor indoor air quality.
CIEC – Highest of the ACAC Indoor Environmental Certifications.
The American Council for Accredited Certification has developed a program specifically for Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning specialists to enroll in. Here they become qualified as a Council-Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant (CIEC).
From the ACAC we learn the requirements needed to reach this elite level of accreditation.
The highest rating requires eight years of experience in the consulting of indoor environmental issues including; asbestos, lead, HVAC, building science, chemicals, mold and microbial contamination including verified experience conducting field investigations in one or more of the following settings:
- Offices and commercial buildings
- Industrial structures
- Government facilities
- Schools and public buildings
- Healthcare facilities
- Home inspection
To earn the Council-Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant (CIEC) designations, the candidate must:
- Demonstrate verifiable field experience in indoor air quality investigation.
- Pass a rigorous examination based on broad industry knowledge rather than a course curriculum.
- Earn the unanimous approval of the CIE or CIEC certification board.
- Re-certify every two years.
- Participate in 20 hours of professional development activities each year.
- Maintain the highest ethical standards.
Meet ABEL Heating and Cooling’s CIEC Certified Expert
Fred Ridler, owner of ABEL Heating and Cooling, has passed these certification tests with flying colors and has successfully addressed many complex indoor air quality problems. Some of these include:
- A church in which an old boiler’s fiber heat insulation caved in. Unknown to the staff or congregation, unhealthy levels of CO2 were released into the church’s basement, making anyone who walked into the basement sick. We were able to find and fix the problem.
- Employees at a work space were getting mysterious rashes on their arms. We were able to find the culprit – a cleaning solution sprayed by the evening janitorial staff onto the desk surface.
- A testing station for diesel engines had intermittent air quality issues. We determined that on hot, humid days, air from the vent stacks flowed back into the building. The fumes caused workers to feel sick. Improving the ventilation so that it worked efficiently on both hot and cold days improved the indoor air quality. Installation of carbon pleat filters on their system also helped improve air quality.
Taking a Holistic Approach
The following are just a few examples of how ABEL Heating and Cooling’s experience and training has helped improve the environment of our customers:
- Identification of hidden problems, such as mold.
- Advice on radon.
- Boiler, furnace and other system inspection to prevent and address CO2 leaks.
- Whole house air filtration systems for allergy and asthma sufferers.
- UVA and germicidal lighting expertise to prevent microbial and bacterial growth.
- EPA Certified.
- Affordable maintenance services and contracts to keep your home or building’s air quality healthy.
It takes technicians, both trained and experienced in indoor air quality, environmental hazards, heating, cooling, plumbing, sewer gas and water leaks, to understand how various systems interact to cause environmental hazards.
Trust the experts at ABEL Heating and Cooling to get to the bottom of mysterious “sick building” syndrome for you.
Call ABEL Heating and Cooling Today
If employers or customers feel ill inside a building, there’s a chance that something in the indoor environment is causing the problem. It may take someone like ABEL Heating and Cooling, with the “big picture” knowledge and the experience of a Certified Environmental Professional, to get to the heart of the matter.
Please call 952-472-COOL (2665) or Contact Us today.