Central Florida Water Quality Testing
If you are buying a home with a well, we recommend having a water quality sample collected. If you are using a FHA, VA or USDA loan, underwriting requirements necessitate a water quality sample to be collected and analyzed by an approved inspector. We will send it in to a Certified Florida water testing laboratory for analysis. The results will typically be available within a week but could be quicker depending on the type of water analysis.
The following test packages are performed on the water samples:
Nitrates/Bacteria (minimum EPA annual suggestion) Nitrates, Total Coliform (bacteria) & E. Coli (bacteria)
FHA / VA / USDA Required Water Test Nitrates, Nitrites, Total Coliform (bacteria), E. Coli (bacteria) & Lead
Additional Compounds and Chemicals* Numerous categories of water testing available including Alkalinity, Arsenic, Iron, Sulfur, Turbidity, PH (acidity), Clarity, Chlorine, Color, Copper, Hardness (Calcium), Sodium and more!
Central Florida Home Allergen Testing
These all can cause any number of symptoms such as:
- Eye irritation
- Flu-like symptoms
- Tight chest
Central Florida Thermal Imaging Inspections
Thermal imaging is a non-invasive, non-destructive way of evaluating conditions below the surface. Because everything from faulty wiring to the presence of termites to mold to wet insulation affects the surrounding temperature, heat-sensitive photography can reveal these and other issues that just cannot be seen by the naked eye or with conventional or digital photography. We can provide thermal imaging reports where we document the hidden fault for corrective action or to prioritize repairs.
These cameras are useful for energy audits because you can see exactly where cold air is entering the home or heat is being lost, along with energy dollars. The thermal imaging camera inspection can document dangerous electrical hot spots or the presence of moisture which can lead to harmful mold.
Thermal photography will deliver more thorough and in-depth inspections due to the fact we are able to view what can't be seen with the naked eye.
Central Florida Particle Counting (Particulate Matter)
Why Measure Particulate Matter (PM)?
PM affects more people than any other pollutant. It consists of a complex mixture of solid and liquid particles of organic and inorganic substances suspended in the air. The particles are often identified according to their aerodynamic diameter, as either PM10 (particles with an aerodynamic diameter smaller than 10 µm) or PM2.5 (aerodynamic diameter smaller than 2.5 µm). The latter are more dangerous since, when inhaled, they may reach the peripheral regions of the bronchioles, and interfere with gas exchange inside the lungs.
Comparing indoor particle counts or particle mass concentration to outdoor counts/concentration provides information regarding the effectiveness of filtration, as well as for the potential that there are indoor sources contributing to airborne particulate matter. Many IAQ investigators have developed experience with elevated particle counts in specific particle size ranges to provide additional clues towards determining the potential sources of these particles. For example, tobacco smoke is known to be in the .01 to 1.0 micron size range, and pollens are typically >10 microns. Here is a simple chart to show common sizing of various particulate:
It is unlikely that one standard or guideline will lead to complete protection to the health effects of particulate matter. Particulates less than 10 µm diameter are the most dangerous because are inhalable and can get deep in to your lungs and even your bloodstream. People that already have heart or lung diseases, children and the elderly are the ones usually affected the most. Due to this, some of the health effects are:
- Increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the airways, coughing, or difficulty breathing; i.e.
- decreased lung capacity
- aggravated asthma
- development of chronic bronchitis
- irregular heart beat
- non-fatal heart attacks
- premature death of people with heart or lung diseases
Establishing a baseline of particulate data to compare to when complaints arise, or when construction is in progress or after changes have been made to an occupied space can provide valuable information to a Facility Manager, Building Owner or IAQ investigator.
In some cases, tracking increasing particulate levels may be used to “bloodhound” a source of airborne particulate. Elevated particulate, in the absence of a known source, may also indicate justification for air sampling, to be sent out for detailed laboratory analysis of the chemical composition of the particles.
What are Typical Sources of Particulate Matter?
Particulate matter is typically brought in from outdoor dust, pollen, smoke, smog and other outdoor sources. Indoor sources may include copier machines, printers, paper dust, environmental tobacco smoke, carpet fibers, upholstery, skin cells, pet dander, dust mite allergens and poorly ventilated combustion processes (fireplaces, kitchen cooking areas, boilers, furnaces, gas heaters, wood stoves, etc).
From outdoor sources; respirable particles that are 2.5-10 µm, and course, inhalable, suspended particles that are 10 -25 µm+, are found near roadways and dusty industries. Fine particles, those that are 2.5 µm and smaller, are usually the result of smoke and haze (forest fires, gases from power plants, industries, and motor vehicles).
Mold spores and fragments are microscopic (2-25 µm) and are naturally present in both indoor and outdoor air. Molds reproduce by means of spores. Some molds have spores that are easily disturbed and waft into the air and settle repeatedly with each disturbance. Other molds have sticky spores that will cling to surfaces and are dislodged by brushing against them or by other direct contact. If the particulate levels are elevated in this mold range, mold sampling can be performed to help determine what type and level of mold is present within the occupied spaces.
Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Testing
What are VOCs?
VOCs are volatile organic compounds, which is a all-encompassing term for thousands of chemical compounds that may be found in your indoor air. These VOCs come from building materials, cleaning products, and personal care products such as hairsprays, perfumes, shampoos, and lotions. Most fragrances from air fresheners and perfumes are VOCs. Even the “greener” products still contain and off-gas VOCs. Some VOCs such as formaldehyde, benzene, and methylene chloride are identified as cancer-causing substances.
How do you test for VOCs?
We have several options available for measuring volatile organic compounds but our preferred way is using a low-flow pump and a sorbent tube. This is run for 2-4 hours and then is shipped to a special chemical laboratory for analysis. We obtain results within 3-4 days of the appointment and a detailed report is issued identifying the types and levels of the VOCs within the property.
Handheld meters, commonly referred to as PIDs, are helpful to get immediate results on total VOC (tVOC) levels but cannot distinguish what types or the individual levels.
Chemicals like formaldehyde fall out of the typical VOC categories covered under our standard VOC test but can still be sampled at the same time. This test uses a specific tube for formaldehyde only and runs for 20 minutes. Majority of times, our clients have us perform both tests to be thorough with the analysis of the indoor environment.
When should I have VOC testing done?
We highly suggest having VOC testing when someone has an unexplained illness within a property and the investigating for possible causes begins. We always recommend performing a thorough visual inspection for possible sources as this may quickly identify the cause(s) such as an open paint can below a sink or spilled cleaning chemicals.
The VOC levels within a new home or recently renovated property will likely be high due to the new building materials like paint, carpeting, flooring, etc. The use of spray foam for home’s insulation has become popular in the last 10 years. This product has a history of issues if not mixed properly but also will create a tight seal of the home, effectively trapping building-related VOCs inside the property. We highly recommend having your home tested for VOC levels in either of these scenarios.
VOCs cannot be evaluated on odor alone. There are many that are not detectible to the nose and testing with specialized equipment and laboratory analysis would be the only way to effectively determine types and levels of VOCs within the home.
Many times, new parents will become very aware of the products they are using for their nursery’s and on their newborns. An entire market is dedicated to low-VOC products to be used in nurseries like low or no-VOC paint, low-VOC mattresses, “green” carpets, organic bedding, clothing, and more. If you are expecting or have recently added to your family, a VOC test within the newborn’s bedroom is a good way to make sure the environment is safe for the little one.
Offices, schools and warehouses can benefit from VOC due to all of the various activities in these buildings that can produce VOCs. From printing, cleaning and production all of these activities can release VOCs into the air causing possible health issues for the occupants.
What if you find a problem?
With our detailed reports provided from the laboratory, we can see what the possible sources of your VOCs are and then recommend an action plan to lower them. Sometimes, it may simply involve removal of a new product such as a cheaper mattress, carpeting, or a cleaning product. Other times, it could involve a more detailed approach such as bringing in conditioned fresh air to help dilute the VOC levels inside.
The use of portable HEPA filters is very popular nowadays but selecting the right one is critical to help reduce VOC levels. HEPA filtration alone will not remove VOCs as this is a particulate filter and not a gas remover. Let us help you diagnose the issue so we can properly suggest the correct filtration device to address your specific issue.
How much does VOC testing cost?
We would love to go over the particulars on your project so a quick call to our office at 407-490-4272 would be required to get the details for your building so we will know how many samples you would need. Our indoor air quality professionals will walk you through the process of pre-inspection/sampling procedures to ensure an accurate sample collection. We will also be with you every step of the way from pre to post results. Call us today!