Frankly, every day should be Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Day, right? After all, as Americans, we spend more than 90% of our time indoors (according to the U.S. EPA), and shouldn’t that air be clean and healthy? The obvious answer is yes, but there is little guidance on what good IAQ means or how to accomplish it.
There are, however, agreed-upon norms throughout the HVAC industry for acceptable or even “good” IAQ. For instance, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Standard 62.1 and 62.2 are both recognized ventilation standards.
But what does that mean to your customers? It means nothing unless you make it a point to talk about IAQ with them and offer services to help identify sources of potential IAQ issues.
Case in Point …
Several years before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, I began working from home in my basement office. It was a nice slice of heaven. That heaven changed when I noticed a white powdery substance on my office and bathroom doors and on the surface of some of my office furniture. I had no idea what it was and, at first, ignored it as dust.
But it got worse – forming on some of the basement walls and along the sills of the basement windows. So I called my HVAC contractor, who came out, looked at it, and said it was some kind of mold.
He recommended a mold remediation contractor who found that moisture was leaking into the basement through broken seals around my glass block windows. The remediator sealed off and misted my basement for three days to kill the existing mold, re-sealed the windows, and then conducted a thorough clean up. Several thousands of dollars and three weeks later, my mold problem was resolved.
The remediator suggested I install an extra dehumidifier to pull excess moisture out of the air and add fans to increase air circulation to prevent any mold from forming again.
This sounded like band-aid fixes, so I called my HVAC contractor, who said they didn’t offer IAQ services. For that and other reasons, I changed contractors. The new company focused on training its technicians with National Comfort Institute and offered IAQ monitoring services as part of my maintenance agreement.
Peace of Mind
Two times per year, my HVAC contractor comes to my home to check on my HVAC system, run an air quality monitor, and provides me a report that shows exactly the quality of my air. Talk about peace of mind.
Thanks to that report and the fact that the mold has never re-appeared made working in my home office safer, more comfortable, and frankly, happier – to this day.
The point is that because my new contractor was well-trained, understood the importance of airflow, and, maybe more importantly, how to explain everything to my wife and me in terms we could easily understand, we bought the expensive maintenance agreement without installing an extra dehumidifier and fans.
So the question is, are you offering IAQ services to your customers, and do you explain to them what that means? If not, the time to start is now, in October, during IAQ Awareness Month.
And check out our IAQ roundtable story on page 11 to see what some other High-Performance HVAC contractors are doing.