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A Primer on Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality is a big concern for today's homeowners. Tighter homes, the out gassing of synthetic materials and malfunctioning natural gas appliances in the home can contribute to indoor air pollution problems.

If your HVAC system, including the duct delivery system is improperly installed, it can lead to a number of evils. Carbon monoxide can get sucked into your house from gas water heaters, gas furnaces and automobile exhaust from the start up of cars in attached garages. Fiberglass can get sucked in from the attic, mold and mildew can get sucked in from the crawlspace. An untested HVAC system is potentially an unsafe HVAC system.

Garage storage as a pollutant sourceDelta-T, Inc. assures that duct systems do not suck pollutants into the house by performing tightness testing and thoroughly sealing ductwork. We also troubleshoot backdraft problems and tune gas appliances to minimize carbon monoxide production within the home.


Let's look at types of pollutants:

Biological pollutants


Gases Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Metals Arsenic salts

dust mites

termites, flea sprays

carbon monoxide contain carbon lead Minerals

mold and mildew

(house under negative pressure)

kerosene heaters

evaporate easily

mercury asbestos

pollen, fungi


gas ovens and ranges

can be a sensitizer

1 fiberglass

Legionella pneumophila


gas water heaters

in excess of hundred VOCs

1 calcium (humidifiers)
1 1

gas and oil furnaces


1 1
1 1 1


1 1
1 1 1


1 1
1 1 1


1 1
1 1 1


1 1

Special Category for pollutants such as Radiation including radon, EMR and the byproducts of Smoking

Without sounding holier than thou, be aware that nicotine, tars, nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are found in your house if someone smokes indoors.

For the record, non-smoking spouses of smokers have a 30% increased chance of lung cancer than spouses of non-smokers.

An estimated 53,000 non-smokers die each year from second hand smoke.

Strategies for improving IAQ

Source control Separation Filtration Ventilation
smoke outside vapor and air barriers air filters in HVAC equipment uncontrolled
use non-toxic building materials drywalling over lead paint stand alone units exfiltration
1 ground cover in crawl space 1 accidental
1 1 1 clothes dryers
11 11 1 duct leaks
1 1 1 door closure
bath fans
1 11 1 kitchen fans
1 1 1 other spot ventilation
1 1 1 air to air heat exchangers
1 1 1 balanced ventilators
1 1 1 combustion equipment


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Delta-T, Inc. is a Northwest Energy Service Company This page was last updated on 26-Jun-2005

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