Read the January 2018 Issue of The Informer

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The digest version of our January 2018 Newsletter.
Wed, Jan 24, 2018 at 9:53 AM

January 2018
President’s Message

Ted Small, Esq.
Maine Indoor Air Quality Council


Welcome to the January 2018 issue of the Informer! As winter forces us to spend more time indoors, with our houses sealed as tight as we can manage, indoor air quality becomes even more important. It’s important to ensure our woodstoves are cleaned and running properly, our ventilation systems are maintained and working, and our living spaces are free from things like chemicals and other irritants that could bother sensitive persons. I urge everyone to think about the health of their home as the season changes.

Thank you for your continued interest in the work of the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council, and your support of our efforts to promote healthy indoor spaces where people live, work, play, and learn.

Respectfully Submitted,

Ted Small, Council President


How the Humble Checklist Can Improve School Indoor Air Quality


Article contributed by Christine G. Crocker, Executive Director of the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council in Augusta, Maine, and Ellen Tohn, Principal, Tohn Environmental in Wayland, Massachusetts.

We all use checklists. Shopping lists, to-do lists, wish lists—checklists are a simple tool used every day to help us both organize and remember important items and tasks.

Checklists are being used in so many professions from airline pilots to psychotherapists that we tend to overlook their value in helping us do a better job, no matter what that job entails. In hospital operating rooms around the country checklists are now helping doctors reduce patient mortality in crisis events (https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/checklists-in-operating-rooms-improve-performance-during-crises/) and cut the length of patient hospitalizations in half. (https://www.samuelthomasdavies.com/book-summaries/health-fitness/the-checklist-manifesto/) School facilities directors, architects, engineers, contractors and others who bear the responsibility to create healthy school environments, can all benefit from the use of the humble checklist to protect and improve school indoor air quality.


Read the full article.

Would you like to contribute a feature article to an upcoming newsletter? Contact Christy Crocker, MIAQC Executive Director, with your ideas. christy@maineindoorair.org

IAQ Stuff to Do

Get out there and get involved! Attend a program, join an organization, work on a committee. Make connections with other professionals.

Radon Protections in New Homes

January 30, 2018, 1 p.m. EST. Free webinar from the U.S. EPA IndoorAir Plus division.



Better Buildings by Design

February 7-8, 2018
Burlington, VT



ASHRAE Maine Monthly Meetings

February 13, 2018

March 13, 2018

April 10, 2018

Contact Rachel Riley for more information.


Free Webinar: Getting to Zero in Affordable Multi-Family Construction
1:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Presenter: Karla Butterfield, Steven Winter Associates, Norwalk, CT
Hosted by the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council



Northeast Sustainable Energy Association

Building Energy Boston
March 7-9, 2018

Building Energy Boston
March 6-8, 2018 –
Boston, MA



MIAQC Residential Construction Trainings

03/01/18 – Foundations

03/08/18 – Building Shell

03/15/18 – Ventilation

03/22/18 – Renovations

Trainers Bill Turner & David Johnston

Certification available.



ASHRAE 62.2 for Single Family Dwellings
March 12 – April 22, 2018

A six-week, self-paced online course. Instructor is Maine’s own Rick Karg.



IAQ & Energy 2018!

May 1-2, 2018
Holiday Inn by the Bay
Portland, ME



2018 Golf Tournament
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Poland Spring Resort

Supporting the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council





Mark your calendars now for IAQ & Energy 2018 (known formerly as the Northeast IAQ & Energy Conference)


Same great conference, new great name.

Be sure to mark your calendars now for the signature event of the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council, now called IAQ & Energy 2018. Check out what else is new for 2018:


Dedicated Website: IAQ & Energy needed its own home, and now it has one. See all the conference has to offer in one easy-to-find location: iaqandenergy.com.


TWO Ways to Attend–Live or Online: Thanks to our new partnership with IAQNet, LLC, attendees can choose to come to the live event in Portland, Maine, or watch it live online. All sessions in 2018 will be videotaped for pay-per-view access after the event.


Incredible Line-up of Presenters: You won’t believe who’s coming to Maine to present at IAQ & Energy 2018! Joe Lstiburek, Tedd Benson, Jeff May, Sam Rashkin, Bill Turner, Terry Brennan, Ellen Tohn, Carl Grimes, Kevin Kennedy, Mike McGuinness, Dr. Bill Field. Plus many more! (Want to present? Presentation applications accepted through November 17.)


Virtual exhibits and Advertising: For the first time, we are able to offer exhibitors and sponsors an online presence as part of IAQ & Energy 2018.

Out and About with MIAQC

We don’t sit around! What’s MIAQC been up to lately?

#GivingTuesday: For the first time, the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council participated in #GivingTuesday, a global giving event that raises funds for nonprofit organizations all over the world. The Maine Indoor Air Quality Council raised $798 to be used to support radon mitigations in low-income homes in Maine. While not as much as we had hoped, it is a great start. We look forward to building the initiative in future years. Our giving portal is still open, by the way, if you would like to donate to the cause. Click here for our #GivingTuesday page.* * *

Ice Dams & Attic Mold Seminar: On Monday, December 11 – 42 professionals attended the Ice Dams & Attic Mold seminar featuring Dan Kolbert (Kolbert Construction) and Chris Prior (Envirovantage). Thank you Dan & Chris for a very informative session! * * *

Energy Savings Plus Health: On December 31, 2017, the Council wrapped up a two-and-a-half-year project to pilot test EPA guidance to protect IAQ in schools doing renovations and energy upgrades. The outcome? Using the Interactive Air Quality Planner takes 5 minutes and really does assist facilities directors, architects, engineers, and others improve the services they provide to their school communities. For more information, read this month’s feature article!. * * *

The 2018 Indoor Insanity 5k was held on Sunday, January 21, 2018 at Bates College in Lewiston. More than 80 runners and walkers joined members of the Council to run and walk in support of preventing lung cancer through radon mitigation. Some wonderful pictures have been posted on the event Facebook page.

Get Involved!

Contact MIAQC Executive Director Christy Crocker to find out how you can participate in and support the work of the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council:

Call of the Month

The Maine Indoor Air Quality Council receives hundreds of calls each year from homeowners, tenants, building managers and others with questions about indoor environments.

In November 2017, the Council received a call from the father of a young baby (his first) who was just getting her first-ever cold (the sniffles.) The homeowner was worried that something in the home might make his baby sick–if not now, then in the future.

This call supported the MIAQC Communications Committee’s theory that Maine homeowners are most interested in the healthfulness of their indoor environment during two live-changing events: when purchasing a new home, or at the birth of a new baby.

The Committee has spent a lot of time talking to homeowners about strategies to create a healthier home environment for themselves and their families. Much of this information is available on our website, and we give paper copies away to the public at the Common Ground Fair and at homeowner trainings we do through Maine Adult Education programs.

Kudos to this new Dad for thinking about the impact his home might have on his and his family’s health.

A summary of the Council’s tips for Home Air Quality:

1. Control Moisture to Prevent Mold and Building Rot. Mold, caused by too much moisture, is a common allergen and has been linked to asthma. And, mold can cause significant structural damage to your home. Fix all leaks promptly and dry all wet areas quickly and completely. Keep your relative humidity level between 30-50% (purchase a hygrometer at your local hardware store). Vent high moisture areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms directly to the outdoors.

2. Let the Fresh Air In. Buildings are for people, and people need fresh air. Ventilate your home to let fresh air in and exhaust stale air and pollutants out. Actively use your operable windows, exhaust fans or whole-house mechanical ventilation. Add extra ventilation to high pollutant/moisture areas, such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and hobby areas.

3. Vacuum AT LEAST Once a Week. Dust particles, allergens, and chemical residues can settle onto the surfaces of your home. Regular use of a good quality vacuum with a HEPA filter will remove these microscopic contaminants from the home.

4. Test Your Home for Radon. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer nationwide, and the #1 cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers. 1/3 of Maine homes likely have a radon problem. The only way to know for sure is to test. Contact the Maine Radiation Control Program at (800) 232-0842 for more information or visit www.maineradiationcontrol.org for tip sheets and lists of contractors.

5. Maintain Your Heating System and Avoid Combustion By-Products. Burning anything, whether it’s oil, gas, wood, or a candle, releases chemicals into the indoor air. All heating systems should be serviced on a regular basis by a licensed professional and vented to the outdoors. Avoid all unvented fuel-burning heating appliances, don’t continuously burn candles, and never smoke indoors. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Contact your service provider for recommended cleaning and filter changes. Use high quality filters.

6. Never Scrape or Sand Paint Without First Checking for Lead. Lead is a poison that attacks the nervous system. 80% of Maine homes and apartments built before 1978 could have some lead paint in them. Young children (6 and under) have the greatest risk of being lead poisoned. Contact Maine Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at: 866-292-3474 or visit www.maine.gov/dhhs/eohp/lead for more information.

7. Control Pests without Pesticides. The health effects associated with pesticide exposure include irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat; damage to the central nervous system and kidneys; and for some, an increased risk of cancer. Strategies exist to control pests without using chemical pesticides. Contact the Maine Board of Pesticides Control (207) 287-2731 or visit www.thinkfirstspraylast.org for more information.

8. Landscape Correctly. Poor landscaping can allow both moisture and pests to enter your home. Place all plants at least 24” away from the home and away from all air intakes and exhaust vents. Use only non-woody mulch near foundation. Keep the earth always sloping away from the home.

9. Inspect Your Home Annually. Just like people, your home needs an annual check-up. Take the time to thoroughly inspect your home inside and out. Look for stains, wet spots, condensation, insects, insect damage, peeling paint, roof integrity, and overgrown trees and plants. Look at the plumbing under sinks and in the basement, check around windows, doors, tubs, showers, sinks and toilets, inspect the roof and the attic, as well as the basement or crawlspace.

10. Ask Questions! When hiring home services professionals, do the following: Ask for and review the contractor’s credentials & references; Ask how their work will affect your home environment; Obtain a contract for all work over $3,000.

Continue the Conversation! View and comment on this posting on our LinkedIn discussion group page.

A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words…


Oops! Big boo boo:

These images show both sides of an improperly flashed chimney, along with improperly flashed windows. The photo on the left shows the end result, a wall that simply pushed out once shoring was in place. All plates, headers, studs, were thoroughly rotted. The photo on the right shows the other side of the same chimney, showing a more close up view.

The lack of the most basic bulk water management–flashing–cost this homeowner many thousands of dollars to repair.

Photos contributed by MIAQC member David Johnston.


Indoor Air Quality in 2200 B.C.
These pictures demonstrate that even 4100 years ago, humans were concerned about healthy indoor air quality. These are images of an ancient Egyptian temple that contained pathways for air to come in, air to go out.

Top left: A ventilation shaft; Top right: Direct pathway into temple; Bottom left: More vents; Bottom right: Rooftop ventilation holes.

Images were taken by MIAQC Member Kurt Johnson during his recent visit to the Temple of Hathor in the Dendera Temple Complex, Egypt.


Duct Trouble

These two images demonstrate simple reasons why airflow, well, isn’t…

Images contributed by MIAQC Member Kurt Johnson.


Hidden Moisture:

3 attic floor cutouts, with the underside (the side normally facing the second floor rooms of the home) facing up. Can you guess which rooms were below the pieces on the right and on the left???*

This type of hidden moisture problem often goes unnoticed–until the damage becomes extreme or the occupants experience health effect.

Image contributed by MIAQC Member Kurt Johnson.

*Answer: bathrooms.

Do you have an interesting photo to share? Send it to christy@maineindoorair.org for inclusion in our next issue!

Reminder…the Best Deals Go to Members

Thinking about attending IAQ & Energy 2018? This is your last chance to get the best rate around: $299 includes both MIAQC Membership AND the 2018 IAQ & Energy Conference. This rate won’t last forever. Renew your membership by January 31st.

Council Partners’ Corner

The Maine Indoor Air Quality Council is grateful for the financial and in-kind support our Council Partners provide us on a daily basis. This month we feature our newest Council Partner, IAQNet. If your company is interested in partnering with us in a similar capacity, please contact Christy Crocker, MIAQC Executive Director.

IAQnet LLC is a multimedia company, serving as an information hub of the indoor environmental marketplace, both in the U.S. and abroad. Our flagship publication, Healthy Indoors Magazine, and our news & resource website, HealthyIndoors.com, connect the industry to both professionals and consumers. In addition to print and digital content, IAQnet LLC offers web-based training through our IAQschool.online portal, as well as providing services for video production and live-streamed virtual events.

IAQnet LLC has partnered with the Maine Indoors Air Quality Council, to foster our shared goals of disseminating credible information, and providing quality educational opportunities on indoor environmental topics.

Our Council Partners:


Support MIAQC!

Support the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council each time you shop on Amazon. Start at www.smile.amazon.com.

Contact MIAQC Executive Director Christy Crocker to find out how you can participate in and support the work of the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council: 207-626-8115christy@maineindoorair.org.



Maine Indoor Air Quality Council PO Box 2438 Augusta, Maine 04338 United States 1 (207) 626-8115

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