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  1. #1

    Unpleasant indoor environment

    Hi everyone,
    I moved into a top floor unit in a brand new construction condo. Cathedral ceiling in living/dining room. I am experiencing some very unpleasant symptoms in the unit, mostly my throat gets cloggy and it's a little hard to breathe. Livable but not pleasant. Here are some particulars -
    1. The HVAC system I thought was a heat pump. Well, the maintenance person tells me it's not because there's no freon (it only heats, no A/C). He said air blows past hot water and heats that way, something like that. He couldn't even tell me the name of the kind of system in order to look it up online.
    2. I have far fewer symptoms in bedroom and bathroom. This would suggest it's not the carpet which is in bedroom and living room and not the paint. Maybe the kitchen cabinets, maybe the ductwork in the living room.
    3. My neighbor in an identical unit next door has no problems. I know I have been sensitive to some environmental stuff in the past where breathing was hard, but I've generally been OK around particle board.
    4. The unit feels too dry when heat is on a long time, and kind of clammy on cool days when it's not.
    5. Builder is Summerhill Homes, I would think it's quality construction and aren't recent buildings constructed of more 'green' material?
    6. FYI this is in the San Francisco Bay Area.
    I am having the maintenance guy check the HVAC system this week and have another guy I want to get with who can probably take more time to look over the whole unit than the maintenance man.
    Sorry for the lengthy post, I just want to get comfortable in the unit! Any ideas would be helpful. FYI on colder damper days or when I open the window, sometimes you can kind of sense a drywall smell, but you have to try hard to sense it.

    Rich

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    3,228
    new furniture? old furniture with mildew problems?
    recycling bin growing funky stuff?

    u may have hot water heating coils for heat and chilled water for AC..common for large office buildings..not sure how common for condominiums.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    997
    It could be a number of things. I first ask if the duct work was cleaned after construction. If not then I would have them do it. 2nd I would have a company come out and do co, co2, temp, rh, and VOC and a couple of air test this should cost a couple hundred. This testing will give you a lot more info on what could be causing your issue.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post
    It could be a number of things. I first ask if the duct work was cleaned after construction. If not then I would have them do it. 2nd I would have a company come out and do co, co2, temp, rh, and VOC and a couple of air test this should cost a couple hundred. This testing will give you a lot more info on what could be causing your issue.
    Where do you locate such a company, what would they be listed under? Do you think the local Dept. of Health would normally have referrals?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    997
    IN VA they can't give out info like that. Look under HVAC, Duct Cleaning and environmental.

  6. #6
    Thanks for the advice, everyone, it's definitely helpful.
    -Rich

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Cedar Grove, Wi-Sheboygan
    Posts
    1,582
    In San Diego says something with them using alot of GREEN materials could be the culprit but the question is what. Alot of those Green materials off gas for along time, especially plastics, rubbers, and other similar types of materials. and if these similar types of materials were used to construct the walls it could take awhile for them to off gas and become bearable but as been mentioned you might need a IAQ expert to do some testing of the air quality thru out the entire home. Shouldn't be too expensive but might be money well spent.

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