Blue Sky Inspections works mainly with homes (houses, apartments, condos) — thousands of homes with special problems, often something recently discovered by a structural inspector, or maybe the whole house suspected, or clean but concerned.
Common reasons to inspect/test homes:
- health problems at home, wondering if indoor air pollutants are the cause, and how to avoid.
- home for sale, wondering about indoor air quality, often with specific concerns such as:
- surface mold growth found, wondering why it’s growing; or moldy/musty/damp odors noticed, wondering where from.
- water damage found (often with mold growth), wondering why it’s wet (condensation of excess moisture? or a building leak?).
- odd odor found, often from new materials (VOCs?), or forced air furnace (ozone from electronic air cleaner?); wondering from where, why, and how long it will last.
- renovation or demolition planned, which requires a survey for possible asbestos containing materials (ACM) before disturbing them, and possibly a lead paint survey (which I don’t do).
- buyer wants to test for radon gas coming up from the earth, especially with a basement (as required by some relocation companies).
- very dusty, wondering what the dust particles are, how much is airborne, and why.
Common problems by home types:
- old — asbestos most often in popcorn ceiling texture (before 1980) or vinyl floor coverings (before 1990), mold and moisture from leaks or condensation, or lead in paint (mostly before 1970) (which I don’t test for).
- new — emissions of VOCs from new building materials (often carpet pads) or finishes (usually clear, on wood) or furnishings.
- attics — mold and moisture, from bathroom exhaust ducts discharging into the attic, poor ventilation.
- crawl spaces — mold and moisture, from clothes dryer exhaust ducts discharging into the crawl, poor ventilation.
- basements — mold and moisture, from groundwater, downspout drainage, flue leakage from gas-fired furnace, poor ventilation.
- carpeted — airborne dust from old carpets, especially if no air filtration.
- forced air furnace — poor dust control, from filter missing or misfit or very dirty, or the fan switch on the thermostat not set to “ON” to maintain continuous air flow and filtration (vs. “AUTO”, which blows only during heating or cooling).
- gas-fired furnace, fireplace, cookstove, or clothes dryer — carbon monoxide (CO) and formaldehyde (HCHO) and other combustion gases, if not properly vented to outdoors.
- private homes — general health problems that are worse in the home.
- apartments — mold growth, usually helping the landlord or manager find the moisture source, sometime a building leak, but often the renters have not been ventilating enough to avoid moisture condensation.