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Indoor air quality can be heavily influenced by the presence of bioaerosols in the ventilation system. Bioaerosols can be organic dust, virus, bacteria, and microbes. Common culprits include contaminated ventilation components such as clogged drain pans or dripping coils. Maintenance failures, poor filtration and condensation also contribute to airborne contamination.

dirty-ventilationBioaerosols like organic dust, viruses, bacteria, and microbes in the ventilation system.

Bioaerosols in HVAC systems can cause negative effects for any occupants in the spaces where the unhealthy air is circulated. In addition to unpleasant odors upper respiratory infections, allergies, and asthma can all be triggered by airborne contaminants.

Conditions for Bioaerosol Activity in Ventilation

  1. Environment- Access to water, either a stagnant source or condensation
  2. Food Source- Pollen, skin particles or dead insects that collect in
  3. Growth- Favorable conditions must remain in place long enough for mold to grow
  4. Dissemination- Aerosolization of spores by passing air
  5. Delivery- A delivery system, usually ductwork, that transmits the spore laden air to occupied areas

What steps should be taken to remove the conditions that optimize mold growth in ventilation systems?

Prevention for Facilities Managers

  • Schedule regular inspections
  • Remove standing water from mechanical equipment
  • Avoid anything that sprays water in HVAC systems
  • Keep humidity under 70%
  • Monitor any areas prone to condensation
  • Use a filter with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value(MERV) of at least 12
  • Keep filtration systems dry

Steps for Individuals

  • Use exhaust fans where provided and make sure all air flow components are unobstructed
  • Monitor plants- Mold can grow in wet soil
  • Report any moisture to building management
  • Keep work spaces clean and dry- Clean any spills immediately

Sources:
Ventilation and Managing Indoor-Air Bioaerosol Hazards -D. Jeff Burton
EPA.gov

About Insurance Restoration Specialists, Inc.

Insurance Restoration Specialists, Inc. (IRS) is a premier provider of disaster recovery mitigation, environmental remediation, biohazard emergency response and HVAC inspection and cleaning in the New Jersey-Philadelphia-New York City area. IRS is certified by NADCA and have Certified Air Systems Cleaning Technicians and a Certified Ventilation System Inspector on staff.

IRS has been selected to provide disaster recovery services to members of the Educational Services Commission of NJ (ESCNJ), the largest co-op in the state service school districts, colleges, universities, housing authorities, and other county and state agencies throughout New Jersey.

New Jersey State approved Co-op # 65MCESCCPS
RFP # ESCNJ 17/18-34
Contract Dates: 11/16/17-11/15/20