Can Short Term Indoor Air Quality Testing be Effective?

This post first appeared on the Green Building Advisor Website.

I own a CPS IAQPRO Smart Air professional indoor air quality monitor that I use on nearly every energy audit and building investigation I perform.  The tool measures particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), volatile organic compounds (VOC), carbon dioxide (CO2), temperature, relative humidity, pressure and dew point.  The question is, can short term air quality monitoring provide any useful feedback as to the indoor air quality of the home?  The answer, yes and no.

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How to Temporarily Heat a Structure During Construction

We are just coming into the heating season (lucky us).  If you live in a northern climate and you’ve made a career out of construction, or even if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you may need to temporarily heat a space your working in.  In this post, I’m going to discuss several different heating fuels, the amount of heat they can provide along with current costs, and how the choice of the temporary heating system can affect a building.

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Indoor Air Quality and Building Diagnostics

The post originally appeared on the Green Building Advisor website.

I recently purchased the CPS IAQ PRO SmartAir professional indoor air quality meter to use during energy audits and building diagnostics/investigations.  My intent with the purchase was two-fold, first to learn more about indoor air quality metrics by testing homes in my market, and second, to have a more accurate temperature/humidity/dew point estimation inside these homes.  I recently had the opportunity to use the tool on a building investigation, I’ll outline this case study later in this post.  First let’s talk about the features of the CPS IAQ PRO SmartAir.

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Diagnostic Tools-Indoor Air Quality

There are currently a few hot topics around the construction industry, the high efficiency heating and cooling system called a heat pump is one of the biggest.  Cross laminated timbers (CLT) are an engineered wood product that is getting a lot of attention in the commercial side of construction.  I’m hearing some noise about a few builders wanting to try the technology in the residential market as well.  And then there’s indoor air quality.  Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a lot of attention on how to make the air in our homes more healthy.

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Building Science-Tight Homes and Negative Pressures, When Should We Be Worried?

This post originally appeared on the Green Building Advisor Website.

A couple years ago I was asked to perform a blower door test on a new home.  The home was small with a footprint of only 1130 square feet.  When the test was completed, the test report indicated an air leakage rate of 91 CFM at the test pressure of 50 Pascals, .33 ACH50.  Completely unexpected for this code-built house.  (I actually measured the volume of the home again and ran the test two more times before I was convinced I had an accurate test.)  The contractor contacted me some time later and indicated the homeowners were noticing air coming through the exterior light switches when the dryer was operating.  The dryer was producing close to the same negative pressure as my blower door every time it was being used, a negative pressure of about 50 Pascals.  Is this a problem?

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Construction Design-HRV or ERV

Balanced mechanical ventilation is code required in all new construction in my home state of Minnesota.  Indoor air quality has become a big topic with today’s pandemic.  My market uses HRV’s or heat recovery ventilators almost exclusively.  They work great at supplying the home with filtered fresh air and at controlling indoor humidity levels.  You can read more about HRV’s here. Continue reading “Construction Design-HRV or ERV”