Preparing Your Building for a VOC Test

Author: Pacific Northwest Inspections Group, LLC   Date: 05-Dec-2013.   Category: Mold   Add to Favorites 

VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) can condense from the air if the home/building indoor air temperature is too low, and can, therefore, produce an abnormally low result. PNWIG recommends that the room temperature be between 60°F and 80°F so that the total VOC level will be similar to that found during normal occupation. With the number of foreclosures remaining high in many parts of the country, room temperatures could be significantly below our recommended range. Therefore, PNWIG recommends that the heat be turned on so the room temperature is at a minimum of 60°F for 24 hours before a viable test is completed. Some important chemicals monitored include para-dichlorobenzene (moth balls) and mold VOCs, which are less volatile than other VOCs and will condense faster, potentially causing the test to miss an important contamination issue that should be corrected. In order for a proper air sample to be collected in these cold winter months, make sure the home/building air temperature is close to an ideal 70°F (or normal occupancy conditions), but absolutely no less than 60°F, for 24 hours before performing an indoor air quality test. 

Eliminate potential interfering sources that produce high levels of volatile chemicals that may cloud or skew the results or hide actual problems follow these 11 steps:
  1. No frying for 48 hours
  2. No cooking or baking for 24 hours
  3. No unusual activities such as painting or gluing 
  4. Do not change lifestyle 
  5. Run the HVAC system normally
  6. Keep exterior doors/windows closed unless normal lifestyle includes leaving them open 
  7. Do not turn on vent fans unless they are always left on 
  8. Do not alter the building or its contents 
  9. Do not remove items from the home unless the items will not be returned to the home 
  10. Do not remove cars or machinery from an attached garage
  11. Do not leave overhead garage doors open