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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Fonthill, Ontario, Canada (Niagara region)
    Posts
    22

    testing air quality

    I live in Ontario Canada in the Niagara region. We live in a 15 year old home with a new variable speed high efficiency furnace. every year around this time as we close up the house for the winter,I start getting terrible headaches. i used to get them when in the basement but now with the furnace fan running more I am getting them throughout the house.I bought a room hepa are cleaner for the bedroom and it seems to help. The headaches diminish when i leave the house and get fresh air. My question is how do i find a company in my area that can test the air quality in my home and point me in the right direction to improving any problems?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    11,808
    Some IAQ tests can look for a cluster of say 40 common irritants, and if one of the 40 is what is bothering you , you have a chance. I would spring for the air test as a last resort.

    I would focus on the basement is it damp down there? did you finish it off, and fir the walls

    Do you have mechanical ventilation installed, do you get a problem with the windows sweating in the winter

    http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...-iaq-problems/
    The way we build has a greater impact on our comfort, energy consumption and IAQ than any HVAC system we install.

    http://www.ductstrap.com/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Emerald Coast
    Posts
    965
    Carnak is right.

    Just another link that might be useful: http://airadvice.com/


    Do you have pets in your home?
    Kids, carpeting and what type of filtering in your HVAC system?
    How often are you changing filters and what do they look like when changing them?
    Do not attempt vast projects with
    half vast experience and ideas.
    ...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
    Posts
    6,637
    Quote Originally Posted by fonthillhdtv View Post
    I live in Ontario Canada in the Niagara region. We live in a 15 year old home with a new variable speed high efficiency furnace. every year around this time as we close up the house for the winter,I start getting terrible headaches. i used to get them when in the basement but now with the furnace fan running more I am getting them throughout the house.I bought a room hepa are cleaner for the bedroom and it seems to help. The headaches diminish when i leave the house and get fresh air. My question is how do i find a company in my area that can test the air quality in my home and point me in the right direction to improving any problems?
    Air testing equipment is not sensitive enough to be of value. Formaldehyde and various other Volitile Oraganic Compounds are present in most homes that do not have an air change every 5-6 hours. Much is more practical to provide simple mechanical make-up air ventilation. The attempt of novice techs with crude test equipment costs more than the simple mechanical make-up air venitlation. Most homes get enough fresh during cold, windy weather. During calm weather, most homes do not get enough fresh air to purge indoor pollutants and and renew oxygen. Operating a good bath fan continuously until cold weather arrives could be adequate to provide fresh air. During the cooling season, the natural fresh air infiltration is at the lowest of all seasons. Getting adequate fresh air during times with high outdoor dew points and low cooling loads, requires supplemental dehumidification. The whole house ventilating dehumidifier provides fresh air on a occupancy schedule, filters/blends/circulates and dehumidifies if needed. As the weather gets colder, the fresh air ventilation may not be needed. Regards TB
    Bear Rules: Keep our home <50% RH summer, controls mites/mold and very comfortable.
    Provide 60-100 cfm of fresh air when occupied to purge indoor pollutants and keep window dry during cold weather. T-stat setup/setback +8 hrs. saves energy
    Use +Merv 10 air filter. -Don't forget the "Golden Rule"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    3,615
    Have same problem in my home, and found it was due to not turning the humidifier up high enough when furnace seldom ran. Closing up the home and turning on the furnace caused humidity to drop, and sinuses started acting up immediately due to the increase in outdoor pollen, and coupled with the lower indoor humidity from turning on the heat with the humidistat set at 35%. Make sure your humidifier is working, even in the late fall and follow the humidity guidlines furnished with your unit. In the fall during milder cooler weather you'll need to set it higher, and lower the setting as temp. drops. Otherwise, your sinuses wil dry up, and cause problems.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Lubbock Texas
    Posts
    773
    Try Air Medics in Ottawa
    www.air-medics.ca/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Warren, MI
    Posts
    964
    Not saying that's this is your problem but my ex-neighbor was getting headaches only when at home but his wife wasn't! Went to his doctor but found nothing.

    His brother who was getting into the medical field read an article in a trade journal about somebody having the same exact problem. Turned out to be carbon monoxide poisoning because of a bird's nest partially blocking a chimney.

    My neighbor found a bird's nest in his chimney also.

    My sister gets headaches in her laundry room usless she leaves a window open. It's not CO as I've checked. Something to do with her laundry soap or whatever and/or dryer.
    Bill

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    724

    Smile Controlling air exchange

    What I have been using for over 25 years is Thermal Imaging. The first time I used it the pictures were in black and white and a little difficult to interrupt. The technology/camera has come a long way. Using infrared will show you hot & cold spots, wet & dry spots and where outside air is entering and inside air is leaving. I still believe it is one of the best ways to begin a complete exam of a building.

    I also agree with Teddy in using “X” KISS HRV. Run the bathroom fan and install a controlled Make-Up and Combustion Air device and also "Opening a Window” when ever you operate an exhausting appliance as close to it as possible to conserve our Natural Resources!

    Did you vote today?
    The quality of my performance, sometimes depends on the quality of my audience.
    Imitation (Plagiarism) is the best compliment one can get -- "Open A Window"

    To improve Indoor Air Quality: Control Indoor Air QUANTITY = "I.A.Q.Q."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    997
    Lots of good answers that are all over the board. You need to start with the basics and work your way in. Have a company come out and check CO, CO2, temp and RH. Those readings should be the 1st things done. If that does not find any issues then would be a test for mold with an air-o-cell cassette. You will have to have at least two. One would be taken outside. Doing both of these should find the most common issues out there. Testing equipment is very sensitive and should be able to find any issue you are having.

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