Do you sometimes feel that you are stifling when you are inside your home or in your work area? Or do you experience watery eyes, sneezing or itchy skin or throat on entering a building? Then it is likely you may be experiencing the symptoms of an improperly ventilated building.
So you may be asking, what is meant by ventilation? Ventilation is the process of supplying fresh air (usually outdoor air) to or removing air from a space for the purpose of controlling air contaminant levels, humidity, or temperature. Ventilation means that some form of air exchange occurs within a given timeframe.
Ventilation is important in enclosed areas such as offices and homes because it prevents pollutants from negatively affecting the health of occupants and removes unwanted smells and other indoor air contaminants and controls the amount of moisture in an area. Controlling moisture is particularly important because excess moisture may lead to mold growth.
Mold growth is of extreme concern because it can have negative health effects in susceptible persons such as the elderly and children. Symptoms may be minor but long-term exposure to mold can cause major health problems. Some of the symptoms of mold exposure may include nose, throat and eye irritation, headaches, fever, respiratory tract irritation and asthma.
There are a few ways that ventilation can be provided to your home or office area. These include:
- Allowing air to enter naturally through windows, doors or ventilation blocks. In the event of a bush fire or when odors or dust are present outdoors, windows and doors should be immediately closed.
- Installing exhaust fans at various spots throughout your home or office area to allow air to be pushed in or out. Examples of these are usually found over stoves (range hoods) or in bathrooms.
- Introducing filtered outdoor air into your air-conditioning unit. In buildings that utilize a centralized air-conditioning system, this can be accomplished by ducting the outdoor air directly into the unit. Speak to your air-conditioning contractor to ensure that this is being done.
- In buildings that use split air-conditioning units, ventilation is more difficult as such units are not designed to accommodate outdoor air introduction. Persons should consider naturally ventilating such air-conditioning spaces for short periods of time if feasible. It is important to note, that in order for air-conditioning systems to be effective in cooling areas and providing adequate ventilation, they should be maintained on a regular basis to avoid blockages and to prevent pollutants from being trapped in your home or office.
Indoor air quality testing can also be done to determine whether the ventilation system in your building is working effectively in providing adequate air exchanges as well as removing unwanted chemicals and pollutants. Indoor air sampling also can aid in the monitoring of various parameters which are indicative of indoor air quality and ventilation problems, and serve to identify the root cause of indoor air quality ailments.
It is important to note, for those of us working for example, in laboratories and office buildings that the Occupational Safety and Health Act of Trinidad and Tobago, Amended 2006 states that employers are required to provide adequate ventilation. This does not only mean that a space should be air-conditioned to provide cooling but also means that some form of air exchange should occur through the introduction of outdoor air.
Be informed as to how poor ventilation affects you and your loved ones and how to improve the quality of the air that you breathe through ventilation.
Why should I use CARIRI’s services?
CARIRI has positioned itself as a premier technology Institute based on service quality. Quality is a hallmark of the services provided to clients in Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean and extra regional markets. As part of its commitment to providing the highest quality services, CARIRI has established several quality management systems that work together to maintain the Institute’s overall high quality standards such as ISO9001:2008 and ISO 17025:2005. Alongwithourotherqualitycertifications,CARIRIisalsoSTOWcertified.
CARIRI also has a multi-disciplinary team with extensive experience and a wide range of skills to meet the needs of the client. The team is headed by an Environmental Specialist who is supported by a cadre of professional and technical staff that are Council-Certified Environmental Consultants accredited by the American Council of Accredited Certification (ACAC) and the Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards (CESB) which is the most prestigious certification specific to Indoor Air Quality.
Some of the services offered by CARIRI in the area of Indoor Air Quality include but are not limited to:
- Air Quality testing for any indoor air pollutant
- Air-conditioning and Ventilation systems inspections
- Mold testing both in the air and on surfaces
- Environmental sampling for common allergens
- Noise surveys
- Occupational health risk assessment
- Occupant surveys
For more information on Indoor Air Quality testing feel free to contact CARIRI’s Air Quality Management Solutions department at:
Trincity West Industrial Estate,
Tel: (868) 285-5050 ext. 3300