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What to Do About Indoor Air Quality Following Big Storms

After a hurricane or bad rainstorm hits, homes often sustain visible damage. But perhaps the most harmful damage of all cannot be seen. Here’s what you can do to help your customers mitigate risk.

Potential Indoor Air Quality Dangers

Whether the home has survived a hurricane, rainstorm, or other weather, these are the unseen dangers to the indoor air quality that you need to be aware of before anyone moves back in:

  • Mold – Believe it or not, it only takes mold and mildew a day or two to begin growing after a water intrusion—and it continues to multiply until it is removed. If anyone inhales the mold spores, they can experience coughing, wheezing, asthma attacks, and even lung infections.
  • Gas Leaks – Carbon monoxide leaks are common after big windstorms because of damage to equipment and plumbing. Carbon monoxide is especially dangerous because it cannot be seen or smelled, yet becomes deadly very quickly.

How to Improve Air Quality

Before turning on any equipment following a storm, perform a thorough inspection on all HVAC units to make sure they are fully operational. This includes letting the unit dry out completely, cleaning the condenser coil, and inspecting all lines and connections for damage or corrosion.

You will also want to change your customers’ air filters, supplying homes with pleated filters with a high (9+) MERV rating. Although more expensive, a higher MERV rating will be much more successful in limiting mold, spores, and particulates from circulating in the home.

Good air quality is all about airflow, so first, implement the use of fans and range hoods to get indoor air circulating. Following inspection, turn on your customers’ HVAC unit in FAN ONLY mode, and instruct the customer to run the system in this manner for several days if possible.

If mold is a concern, additional precautions are required, including cleaning hard surfaces with a disinfectant and completely removing and replacing any porous surfaces (carpet, dry wall, bedding, insulation, etc.). For carbon monoxide, make sure to test the air with a carbon monoxide detector before entering, and keep the windows open so the home can air out.

Additionally, there are many indoor air quality products that can be installed in the home to can help improve air quality after a storm, including air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and ventilators.

If your customer has been impacted by a big storm, contact the professionals at CE today. We will offer our expert recommendation for the best indoor air quality products for their needs, and we can arrange for fast delivery in order to ensure clean air. While you are at your customer’s home to investigate or repair damage, be sure to address indoor air quality issues at the same time. Indoor air safety is far too important to ignore.