1. I want to have a company come to test the air in my home. Is this something that Airzone can do?
We have offered Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) services since 1979, however we rarely serve residents directly since the costs involved are often high. Typically, we undertake investigations of vapour intrusion and large-scale residential IAQ surveys in residences on behalf of corporations or government agencies.
Unless an IAQ problem is due to an obvious source such as a recent renovation, new carpets, visible mould or water damage or sewer odours, investigations can be time consuming and therefore costly. A typical investigation can cost more than $1,500 for a residence including analysis expenses and may not yield an immediate resolution to the IAQ issue. Homeowners find this cost prohibitive.
Many problems can be diagnosed with a detailed questionnaire, and we often provide an initial consultation over the phone to determine if a problem can be easily diagnosed.
Information about IAQ issues can be found at the CMHC website, http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/corp/faq/faq_005.cfm, Health Canada website, http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/air/index-eng.php, or the US EPA website, http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/insidestory.html. Moreover, the CMHC Residential Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Investigator Training Program lists of qualified practitioners independent IAQ investigations. CMHC’s: Tel: 1-800-668-2642.
2. I have concerns about the air quality in my workplace. What should I do?
First, talk to your manager or the designated health and safety officer. The problem may be resolved by increasing the fresh air supply, or doing minor adjustments to the HVAC systems such as re-balancing. If the problem appears more difficult to diagnose, we may be able to help.
3. I work in a managerial role, and there seems to be a problem with the air at my workplace of which the employees are complaining. What should I do to resolve this issue?
Try to pinpoint the problem by first speaking with your employees. They may be experiencing discomfort due to factors such as temperature, humidity or lighting, which can lead to the perception of indoor air quality issues. Carbon dioxide (CO2) or carbon monoxide (CO) concentrations above acceptable levels can influence a person’s perception of indoor air quality. Once the source of the complaint is found, the solution may be clear. However, if the problem is related to moulds, or chemicals used in production, maintenance, or cleaning, it may require further investigation and you may need expert help. Send us a note by email or contact us to discuss the issue.
4. Ever since the office was renovated, theres been a change in the air quality for the worse. Is there a connection? Why would this happen? What can we do about it?
Often new building materials off-gas and volatile chemicals from the materials evaporate into the air and cause odours. Increased ventilation is always a plus and dilutes the chemicals in the air of the affected building. However, if the odours cause employees to feel sick, we can perform an IAQ assessment to identify the offending indoor air contaminants and determine if their concentrations are in the acceptable range according to Health Canada and Ministry of Labour guidelines.
5. I’m being exposed to a hazardous substance in the air at work. What should I do?
Report this to your supervisor since workplace exposures to hazards need to be documented. Your company should investigate the issue, the source of the problem and possible solutions. This may require help from specialists in occupational health and safety. If no action is taken within a reasonable period after reporting the problem, then consult the Ontario Ministry of Labour.
6. We need to update our safety procedures at work, especially for personal protective equipment (PPE). Can your company help us with these?
Airzone can help you with updating workplace safety procedures and with conducting fit tests for face masks as part of the PPE.
7. We received a visit from the Ontario Ministry of Labour. They ordered a designated substance assessment based on the MSDS of the products we use. Can your company help us with this?
This is part of the routine occupational health and safety and industrial hygiene work that we undertake for clients. We can assist clients with demonstrating compliance.
8. There’s an odour problem in my workplace that either comes and goes or is persistent. Can your company help me with this problem?
Frequently, transient odour events can be monitored with long-term passive sampling or summa canister methods to collect representative samples when the incident occurs. In the past, we have instructed clients on deploying these samplers and allowed them to sample when odours occur. If the odours persist or occur at the same time of day, our air quality specialists can perform a more comprehensive investigation.
9. We live next door to a company or a location that is emitting a foul odour to the point that we don’t want to go outside! What should we do?
Contact the Ministry of Environment for all air and noise questions and complaints related to industry. Their telephone number in your region can be found on the internet or in the blue pages of the phone book.
10. Our company got a visit from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and they said that we need a new Certificate of Approval (CofA) because the old one is outdated or invalid. How can a CofA become invalid?
Regulations change, and so previously permissible levels of chemical or noise emissions may result in non-compliance with current standards. Mostly, however, adding new equipment or modifying existing processes leads to changes in emissions and thus requires amending or updating your CofA.
11. I understand that our company has to report our annual emissions; can you explain more about that?
Federal, provincial and municipal governments have legal requirements for reporting contaminant emissions. We have specific web-pages for these requirements on this website. For the federal government, annual emissions must be reported under the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) program as well as Greenhouse gases for certain companies. The Province also requires Greenhouse gas reporting. The Ontario Provincial Government requires reporting under the Toxics Reduction Act (TRA). Under the same Act, detailed Toxics reduction plans must be developed. In Ontario, the City of Toronto (ChemTRAC) and the Town of Oakville (Health Protection Air Quality Bylaw) require additional reporting. We can assist with these reporting obligations.
12. What are the prices you charge for your services?
Prices vary from project to project. Typically there is a cost for professional time and materials. If laboratory analysis is required, we provide this on a cost per sample basis depending on the analysis. Professional time is also billed for report writing, consultations, and lab work. To estimate costs or obtain a quote, please send us an email or give us a call. We typically respond within 48 hours.
13. We have a problem with the HVAC system at our work. Can Airzone help with this?
No. We do not service heating, ventilation or air conditioning systems.
14. Are there any products you can sell or recommend that help improve air quality?
No. Our specialty is in the sampling, monitoring and analysis of air quality and related problems, which precludes recommending specific products. This ensures the integrity of our measurement results. You can have confidence that we are not promoting or marketing products that may be of marginal benefit to you.
15. What are some low-cost ways of improving the air in my home or workplace?
Use chemicals in a well-ventilated area, avoid use of chemicals if possible and substitute natural or environmentally-friendly products, keep temperatures and relative humidity at a comfortable level, increase air flow throughout your home, and as simple as it sounds, open your windows when weather permits.