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Signs of Poor Indoor Air Quality

  • High-energy bills
  • Dust accumulation indoors
  • Musty odors
  • Dryness and irritation of eyes, nose, throat, and/or skin
  • Allergies, stuffy nose, and fatigue

Dust in ductwork as a result of duct leakage

Dust buildup on air handler

Causes of Poor Indoor Air Quality

The National Institute of Building Science tested the average home and found 11-30% of the indoor air comes from the crawlspace.  The source of poor indoor air quality is commonly mold in the crawlspace, and further, moisture issues in the crawlspace that cause mold growth. Crawlspace air enters the home via air leakage from plumbing and HVAC penetrations as well as air leakage from ductwork.  Ductwork in unconditioned spaces will pull unhealthy air into the interior of the home if it is not properly sealed.

One of the largest concerns as building performance specialists is air leakage in the home. The building envelope is what prevents air from entering the home through attics, and crawlspaces. In most homes the building envelope is compromised where holes are created for electrical penetrations for lights and outlets, top plates at the top of walls, whole house fans, chimneys, and attic hatches. This results in attic air being pulled into the interior of the home. Attic air going into the interior of the home brings with it insulation particles and pest excrements which can result in poor indoor air quality, dust accumulation, and illness.

Mold Growth in Crawlspace
Mold growth on crawlspace floor

Solutions

Energy Audits: Our Comprehensive Home Energy Audit asses the buildings efficiency as well as indoor air quality using diagnostic equipment and comes with a detailed report of findings and recommendations.  Read more >

Air Sealing: Conservaiton Pros has extensive experience resolving indoor air quality issues. We always recommend air sealing homes at the floors above the crawlspace and the penetrations in the attic when we find air leakage is prevalent in the home. Air sealing homes significantly improves building efficiency and indoor air quality.  Read more >

Duct Sealing: Ductwork that has not been sealed and is located in basements, crawlspaces, and attics will pull unhealthy air into the interior of the home. Sealing ductwork, especially return ductwork, will prevent the HVAC system from pulling unhealthy air into the conditioned space, and prevent dust, mold, and other contaminates from accumulating in the ductwork.

Sanitizing Attics: We have completed many insulation removal projects where insulation is contaminated, or has resulted in occupant sensitivity issues. Occupant health was significantly improved after insulation removal and sanitization of the attics, basement, and crawlspaces.

Crawlspace Remediation: The usual culprit to poor indoor air quality is a moldy crawlspace or basement. We typically remove mold and spray concrobium, a product that kills all mold and prevent mold from reforming. Concrobium is a mold inhibitor that contains no bleach, ammonia, or VOC’s, allowing us to remove mold without introducing any harmful chemicals into the crawlspace or basement.

Crawlspace Encapsulation: Encapsulating the crawlspace prevents moisture from entering the crawlspace from the walls and dirt floors.   We can then dehumidify the area, preventing any future growth of harmful mold and other fungi that may result in poor indoor air quality and occupant illness.  Read more >

Indoor Air Quality and Spray Foam

While spray foam is a commonality to the industry of building performance professionals, it is not a product used by Conservation Pros. We have discontinued our services as spray foam installers as a result of worker and occupant illnesses as a result of this product. Here is a study showing that common spray foam releases harmful chemicals into the air 1.5 years after curing. We have concluded that the risks associated with spray foam outweigh the benefits, and we have developed alternatives to the use of spray foam that often outperform the product with little or no chance of exposing workers and occupants to harmful chemicals.