Indoor Air Quality And How To Improve It In 2019

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Indoor Air Quality Matters

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Indoor Air Quality [IAQ] is one of the hottest topics when it comes to health, renovating an existing home, or building a new home. Many folks know about Indoor Air Quality because it is often mentioned in the news, usually during a story about toxic mold, allergies, or other health ailments. But, many folks don’t really know what IAQ is.

So, what is Indoor Air Quality?

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants
~ US EPA

Understanding what Indoor Air Quality is, how it affects you and your family, and how to improve your IAQ is something every homeowner and renter should be concerned with. IAQ is part of indoor environmental quality [IEQ), which includes IAQ as well as other physical and psychological aspects of life indoors [lighting, visual quality, acoustics, and thermal comfort].

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Health Issues Related To Bad Indoor Air Quality

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Poor Indoor Air Quality has been tied to a variety of ailments. These ailments include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. After exposure to some indoor air pollutants, many folks with asthma may experience increased difficulty breathing or other asthma-related issues.

long-term exposure to poor indoor air quality can lead to some respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer, and ultimately be severely debilitating or fatal. It is extremely important to try to improve the indoor air quality in your home even if symptoms are not noticeable.

It should be noted that poor indoor air quality will affect people differently. Some folks are more sensitive to indoor air pollutants and can have negative reactions almost immediately after entering a home with poor IAQ. Other people will show little, if any adverse reactions to poor IAQ, but there can still be long-term issues to contend with down the road.

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How To Identify Causes Of Bad Indoor Air Quality

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Identifying areas in your home that may be contributing to poor IAQ is both easy and difficult. The average homeowner or renter can easily do a visual inspection around their home or apartment to look for tell-tale signs of issues that contribute to poor IAQ.

Here are the top items you can check right now that could be contributing to poor IAQ:

Check all exterior doors for air leakage. Is there a tight seal around the door? Are there any cracks or spaces that will allow for air leakage?

Check all windows and frames. Do your windows close tightly? Can you feel outside air leaking in around the frames or between the window panes? Do your windows sweat [condensation] when you have your air conditioner running?

Check around all through-wall penetrations coming into your house. This includes where plumbing pipes or electrical wires or conduits come into your house. Do you see unsealed openings around the supply and drains going into/out of your walls under your sinks? Do you see any dust or dirt that looks like it has blown in around electrical penetrations, or around your light switch or electrical plug cover plates?

Check your HVAC vents and return air vent. Do you see any dust, dirt, or mold around your supply vents? When you remove a supply vent cover and look into the duct-work, do you see a build-up of dust, dirt, or mold inside the duct-work? When you check your return air vent, is there a tight seal around your air filter, or are there gaps or spaces around your return air vent or air filter?

Do you have any combustion appliances inside the conditioned space of your home? This can include a gas-fired water heater or furnace. 

Are you storing any volatile chemicals inside your home? If so, are all of the containers properly sealed?

Do you have any synthetic carpet or have you installed any new laminate flooring? If so, have you checked to see if the laminate flooring or carpet has been reported for out-gassing of Volatile Organic Compounds [VOCs]?

Checking / inspecting all the items listed above will help you identify problem areas that may be contributing to poor IAQ in your home. If you have found issues with many, or all of the items listed above, there are steps you can take to improve your home’s IAQ. If you are not sure about what you have found or don’t feel confident in doing an inspection yourself, then contacting a professional is essential. 

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Diagnostic Testing & Air Sealing To Find & Fix Air Leakage

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If want to make sure that all of the Indoor Air Quality inspection is completed correctly, hiring a professional is key. A professional home performance company will conduct a Duct Blaster test and Blower Door test to check the air leakage in your HVAC duct-work and the whole house. They will also conduct the necessary CAZ testing, and perform all the necessary air sealing and corrective measures. 

Hiring an experienced and established company, like Diversified Energy will ensure that you are getting the most out of your IAQ and home energy efficiency investment.

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How To Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

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Seal & Clean Leaky Duct-Work

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Properly sealing your HVAC duct-work offers a double benefit. You will see both improved indoor air quality and lower HVAC heating/cooling bills. When you properly seal your HVAC duct-work, it eliminates areas where dirty, unconditioned air can get into your HVAC system, and ultimately be blown throughout your home.

To properly seal duct-work, you should use a combination of mastic and fiber tape. The mastic and fiber tape should be applied at all areas of air leakage – duct-work connections, splits, and where the duct-work attaches to the air handler and supply vents.

Having your HVAC duct-work properly cleaned and sanitized will drastically improve your indoor air quality. By removing years of dust and dirt, mold spores, and other pollutants that can build up in your duct-work, you will breath easier and your home will be less dusty. HVAC duct-cleaning is a service you must hire a professional for, as it requires specialized equipment and training to be done correctly.

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Seal Air Leaks Around Your Home

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Break out the caulking gun, get the proper sealants, cans of expanding foam, and weatherstripping. Going through your house and properly sealing around all of your windows, doors and any other leaky penetrations is key to improving your IAQ.

For some folks, this sounds like a fun Saturday or Sunday afternoon. For others, it sounds like a nightmare. Luckily, there are weatherization incentive programs offered by most of the top electric utilities in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and the Gulf South region. These programs will help offset the cost of proper testing and air-sealing measures needed on your home.

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Get CAZ Testing On All Indoor Combustion Appliances

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CAZ [Combustion Appliance Zone] Testing is one of the items you must have a professional technician perform. CAZ testing will let you know if dangerous gasses/exhaust is leaking from combustion appliances [gas fired water heater or furnace] located within the conditioned space of your home. Click Here to learn more about CAZ Testing.

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Remove Building Materials Out-Gassing VOCs

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If you found that you have older synthetic carpets, or laminate/engineered floors that are known to out-gas Volatile Organic Compounds, you will want to remove/replace them as soon as possible. Another item that may possibly out-gas VOC – many types of plywood and cheap plywood furniture that used formaldehyde-based glues. 

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Call Diversified Energy

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Yes, you could try to do all the inspections and improvements we have talked about above, or you could make one call to Diversified Energy. Diversified Energy has been the Gulf South leader in home performance testing and improvements for two decades.

We are partners with all of the major electric utilities and will help you qualify for any/all available incentives. And, our BPI certified technicians will make sure that your diagnostic testing and air sealing measures are completed correctly and quickly.

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Wrapping It Up

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When it comes to Indoor Air Quality, you can do your best to diagnose and fix all the problems yourself, or you can make one call to Diversified Energy. We will provide you with an honest quote, and our highly trained, BPI certified technicians will conduct the necessary diagnostic testing and complete all the necessary repairs. Plus, we will handle all of the paperwork if your home qualifies for one of the energy efficiency / weatherization incentive programs offered by our local electric utilities.

For more information about indoor air quality, and overall home performance,  contact us today – 504-273-7779 – [email protected].

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Romell SmithRomell Smith
17:31 16 Apr 24
They came in and did an awesome job. All smiles, made sure the work was being done effectively, explained everything and gave me a couple pointers.... My CFM50 Reduction was almost 2000. A massive drop in inefficiency. They even cleaned up everything behind themselvesread more
Missy BarardMissy Barard
02:09 04 Apr 24
I am highly recommending diversified energy to everyone that is looking for a dependable company with very knowledgeable, hard-working, kind... responsible, neat workers that take the time and finish Your home with a fine tooth comb. The praise goes to Niki and Alli/Natristan This company couldn’t have sent me two better workers I appreciate everything that you have done. I’ve already referred you to a coworker and she’ll be looking forward to working with you all as well. Niki and Alli You all are a five star duel. Best wishes in your career. The work and the communication that you all has given, Sure makes a customers life at ease. Your Boss should give ya’ll a raise for making the company standards and values stronger . Thanks again for everything.read more
Anthony AlmericoAnthony Almerico
20:19 21 Mar 24
Nikki and her crew did an excellent job attending to my home energy needs. From the beginning, Nikki was very communicative letting me know exactly... what time the crew would arrive. They were very attentive to details, and made sure to keep me informed of everything that was going on throughout their work. They were even so kind as to let me know I had a roof leak, 😔, and notified me of it's location. They were mindful of my home and made sure not to disturb anything and even offered to help vacuum the house when they were done! They were also very aware, and kind, to my pup while going in and out the house, as he likes to dart around. Nikki made sure my gate and front door were always closed! (For those that have pets home while workers are present know how important this is.) I have had quite a few groups of people work on my home over the years and I can tell when someone cares about their work and when someone doesn't. Nikki and her team really cared, and I felt like I got to know them during the time they were working on my home. What a great job! It was a wonderful, EASY experience to work with them!read more
Blake CulpepperBlake Culpepper
18:50 09 Jan 24
Jeff and his team were very informative and helped me to understand the way my AC and insulation were contributing to moisture issues I was having.... Through an educational approach, we addressed the most pressing issues and will re-evaluate progress over time. We added spray foam over a previous spray foam job that was inadequately done, corrected damaged duct work under my house with insulation, and replaced an oversized AC unit, all of which were contributing to excess moisture and wasted energy costs in my home.Jeff and team were also very friendly and professional, which was refreshing when I was being oversold and pressured by another company. I would certainly recommend Diversified Air to friends and family.read more
TwiceonsondaysTwiceonsondays
14:31 04 Nov 23
Diversified Energy did a great job at my home for weatherization. The crew was extremely professional and curious. I would highly recommend this... company.read more
Gary ClementsGary Clements
17:05 07 Oct 23
Diversified Energy, from its owner, Jeff Haag, to its team led by Nikki, were thorough, competent, professional, hard-working and cost-effective. We... had our attic ductwork sealed and then the entire attic floor insulated with blown-in cellulose fiber, covered completely by sheets of the cutting edge technology of QV Platinum PCM (Phase Change Material) [Diversified Energy is the sole provider of this technology in the metro area]. Our A/C system works less now, even with continuing heat. We recommend Diversified Energy for upgrading your home’s energy efficiency!!read more
Jason RiggsJason Riggs
11:26 05 Oct 23
Jeff Haag and Diversified Energy went above and beyond while consulting with my client about insulation and home efficiency. He is very... knowledgeable and has insulated multiple homes for me, always with good results. Very responsive too.read more
Gena McKenzieGena McKenzie
14:06 13 Sep 23
sandy andrepontsandy andrepont
16:04 31 May 23
Nikki and her team did a wonderful in my home. They sprayed insulation, sealed air ducts and attic and much more. Nikki explained everything that was... being done, very professional and respectful of me and my home. I highly recommend them!read more
Rudy LinhubRudy Linhub
15:20 15 May 23
When only the best customer service and installation will do. They foam insulated my attic and installed an American Standard heat pump. Quick, easy... and in budget. A rare business find.Thanks Jeff!read more
Jenna DuplechienJenna Duplechien
21:38 11 May 23
Niki Aguillard and her crew came out to my house and did a fantastic job! They texted me what time they would arrive and they were on time. They made... sure every crack was sealed in my house and even put door sliders on the doors to keep the air from flowing in. They completely insulated the attic. They were very friendly and kind overall did an amazing job I’m very pleased with how they went over and beyond to ease every concern I had and I really appreciate their hard work. Would definitely recommend Diversified Energy “Plug into Comfort”read more
Joel HenschenJoel Henschen
22:57 13 Mar 23
We had a great experience working with Diversified Energy. They were always willing to communicate and take care of any issue that popped up. One... of the best and most honest contractors I have dealt with. I will definitely use them again in the future. Thank you!read more
Dolores FryouxDolores Fryoux
21:37 28 Oct 22
Niki and Damon did a great job today!! They really answered All my questions and concerns. I am very happy with the whole process and highly... recommend this company.read more
Avis JamesAvis James
18:27 13 Oct 22
Nikki and her crew sealed in the attic, around doors and around plumbing pipes. Then they returned to add insulation. Very professional. Great job.
Rebecca WhitakerRebecca Whitaker
00:08 25 Sep 22
Blake came out and did an energy audit of my place of residence. He was very gracious and professional. He respected my request for him to remove his... shoes and was patient enough to answer my questions. Thank you, Blake!read more
Darrin ClarkDarrin Clark
18:10 27 Jul 22
Niki crew came and explained the job details and performed very professional and in a timely manner and I was satisfied with the whole process and... would recommend to anyone that is in need of the services they provideread more
Dave ODave O
15:55 16 Oct 21
First off these are some friendly and professional people! They came in to our home and had nothing but respect and explained things in a way that... was more family/friend based than technical. BIG shout out to Mike and Ryan for the amazing help and work! They tested the house and did all the checks as well as made sure we had stuff in place. They hooked us up with a great light package that should help our energy use as well as lighting needs. Everything is top notch and amazing customer service!read more
Summer CarterSummer Carter
20:31 18 Mar 19
I had such a great experience with Jack, Shamone, and Chad! They were extremely friendly and very professional! Jack explained what would take place... the morning of my appointment and answered all of my questions! They were all very understanding of my very noisy three year old as well! Thank you again you guys for such a pleasurable experience!read more
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Diversified Energy is fully insured and licensed - State Licensing Board for Contractors - License number: 885628

Diversified Energy Is A Proud Member Of The Greater New Orleans Home Builders Association
Diversified Energy Is A BPI Certified Contractor
Diversified Energy Is A Proud Member Of The Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance
Diversified Energy Is Proud To Be An Energy Star Partner