Is poor air quality at fault for respiratory difficulties?
Occupants of a residential property based in St Albans had observed that the symptoms of their asthma had increasingly worsened since they moved into the property 12 months ago. They asked us to conduct an assessment of the indoor air quality to see if this was to blame. The property is a three-storey building which dated back to the 1960’s.
The property stood with a paved yard to the front and a lawn to the rear. The house itself consisted of a kitchen, utility rooms, office, living room and a downstairs toilet. On the first floor there were four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a cupboard which houses the boiler. The second floor was a former loft area which had been converted into an open plan room.
Conducting an assessment of the air quality
Our surveyor commenced his investigation with a visual inspection of each room in the property. He was looking for any evidence of water damage, damp, leaking services and mould contamination. There was no visible evidence found of any water damage, leaks, mould contamination or condensation mould. Therefore we needed the assistance of specialist equipment that could detect moisture we could not see with the naked eye. This equipment is called a Hydromette HB30 moisture meter and a Tramex moisture encounter plus. However this revealed that the property was not suffering with elevated moisture levels.
Once we had ruled out moisture, we then had to consider other possibilities. Our surveyor collected samples of airborne moulds using vesta spore trap cassettes. Once collected these samples were analysed and they revealed that the indoor air of the property was not being affected by mould spores.
Conclusion of the Indoor air quality assessment
On conclusion of our assessment we were able to conclude that the indoor air quality of the property is adequate. The indoor air is not affected by an elevated number of fungal spores or moisture. This indicates that the overall risk to health from fungal elements is low so it is unlikely that the indoor air quality is to blame for the respiratory difficulties reported by the occupants, however their personal circumstances may make them more sensitive to the indoor environment.