Steps of an Indoor Air Quality Investigation
In our last blog, we discussed in general what to expect during an indoor air quality test. Here’s a closer look at what you can expect from an RTK inspection professional:
Before the Inspection
RTK will provide you with specific information on the test that you will be having. If it’s an Indoor Air Quality test to be done, you may need to close all outside doors and windows. Depending on the location and type of test, we will provide you with information about proper pre-test protocols to ensure you get the most accurate results. Don’t worry; it’s easy to do and you’ll be fully prepared.
During the Inspection
Your RTK professional will need to ask you questions to gather critical information, such as when you first noticed the problem or started feeling symptoms; if you have had recent water, moisture, or weather-related issues; whether you’ve undergone renovation work recently, or installed new furniture or carpeting in your home; if you’ve noticed roof or plumbing leaks, and if you’ve recently changed cleaning products, such as detergents or cleaners. Don’t worry—it’s a conversation, not an interrogation! Feel free to ask questions and tap into the expertise of your very knowledgeable and experienced inspector.
The home visit includes a visual assessment to check for mold. If the RTK professional suspects the indoor air quality issue may be caused by a mold contamination, your inspector won’t disturb walls, baseboards, or raised floors while he tests, because to do so might spread mold spores into the air. Instead, RTK will look for standing water, and wet or damp areas. They’ll begin the investigation with the area you identified, but may also look in other areas where moisture can enter the home. RTK will also use moisture meters and thermal image cameras to detect hidden moisture.
RTK takes air and surface samples during an investigation in order to determine the amount of VOCs or mold, the types of VOCs and mold, and the location of VOCs and mold. We don’t do surface testing for VOCs. Mold spores are microscopic, move easily on air currents and can get picked up by heating and air conditioning units and moved to other areas of the house. Air samples—taken not only in the area of concern, but in other areas of the house—identify any cross-contamination and determine the levels of mold and VOCs in the air.
The entire process typically takes 1-2 hours but can run longer depending on the size of the areas to be inspected, what information is discovered along the way, and what kinds of questions you may have.
After the Inspection
To ensure reliable results, RTK sends all samples to independent labs accredited by the American Industrial Hygiene Association. RTK takes those results and combines them with what they saw and learned during their investigation. This procedure contributes to a clear and complete report to you after the visit. Essentially, the report puts results in clear and easy to understand terms and based on findings, makes recommendations on what needs to be done. You’ll know whether the health of your family is at risk and if professional remediation is necessary. While other companies might take samples and send raw data results to client—leaving interpretation up to you—RTK fully explains their analysis and provides contact information for clients to reach them directly to answer any questions.
Should remediation be necessary, RTK professionals offer follow up testing to ensure that the work performed by the remediation contractor was done correctly and effectively.
Indoor Air Quality testing should not be a scary prospect. With RTK, you know you’re in good hands. Have more general questions about indoor air quality testing? Read Part 1 of this blog here.