Read the October Issue of the Informer

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The Maine Indoor Air Quality Council publishes a newsletter every quarter.  The following is a “digest” version (text and links only, no images) of the October 2017 issue.  If you would like to receive our newsletter, make sure to sign up at the bottom of this page.

October 2017
President’s Message

Desi-Rae Severson
Maine Indoor Air Quality Council

Welcome to the October 2017 issue of the Informer! As seasons change and cooler weather starts to creep in, Mainers begin preparing for the long months of winter. This is the time of year when we stop sleeping with the windows open and fire up the woodstoves. 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 being a part of the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council.

Respectfully Submitted,

Desi-Rae Severson, Council President


“When Fresh Air Isn ‘t Fresh”

Article contributed by MIAQC Member, Kristofer G. Anderson. Kris is a registered Professional Mechanical Engineer who specializes in hands-on, on-site whole building and building systems problem solving. His company, K.G. Anderson, is located in Bath, Maine.
Maine has an environment that is somewhat difficult for which to design an HVAC system and building envelope. Temperatures can swing wildly within 24 hours causing the HVAC system to cycle from heating at night, to economizer cooling (using outside air to cool), to mechanical cooling. So the interior environment can see a variable amount of outside “fresh air.” That’s a good thing, right? Well, it depends on what is being drawn in with the outside air.

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


“Heat Pump Water Heaters Can Do Double Duty”

Contributed by Steven Caulfield, President of Turner Building Science & Design in Harrison, ME. Steve is both a registered Professional Engineer and a Certified Industrial Hygienist.

This article originally published in the Fall 2017 issue of Green & Healthy Maine Homes magazine.

If you need a new water heater and your basement is somewhat humid and musty, you might consider a heat pump water heater to solve both problems: heating the water and conditioning the air. Heat pump water heaters may sound complex, but they operate just like your refrigerator in reverse. The refrigerator takes heat out of the interior to keep food cold and puts it into the kitchen. A heat pump water heater takes heat out of the basement and puts it into the water. If there is high humidity in the basement, the heat pump water heater also acts like a dehumidifier, as it extracts heat from the basement air. The air coming from the heat pump tends to be between 45 and 50 degrees, so it is as dry as a fall day.

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.

Maine Safety & Health Conference
October 17-19,
Augusta Civic Center, Augusta MEDetails…
ASHRAE Maine Monthly Meetings
October 10, 2017November 14, 2017December 12, 2017Contact Rachel Riley for more information.


Passive Haus Maine
October 23-27, 2017 – Consultant/Designer Certification Course
November 2-3, 2017: Fall Forum
November 13-17: Tradesperson/Builder Certification CourseDetails___
MECHIPS Seminar: Forensic Home Investigations with Jeff May

November 7, 2017 – Augusta Civic Center



Northeast Sustainable Energy Association

Building Energy NYC
October 12, 2017 –
New York, NY

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



Healthy Buildings Summit

November 2-4, 2017
Seven Springs, PA



Indoor Insanity 5k!

January 21, 2018
Bates, College
Lewiston, ME



IAQA Annual Meeting

January 22-24, 2018
Chicago, IL



IAQ & Energy 2018!

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




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.

Early Bird Registration: Early bird rates available through December 31, 2017. Registration is open now. Make it happen!

Out and About with MIAQC

What’s MIAQC been up to lately?

Board members Kurt Johnson and Steve Caulfield were the featured experts on the Maine Calling show on Indoor Air Quality in August. The podcast of their interview with Jennifer Rooks is available in the Maine Calling archives on the Maine Public website. Click here to listen to the podcast. * * *

Executive Director Christy Crocker was interviewed by WCSH as part of their story on mold in rental properties. Click here to listen to the interview.* * *

MIAQC had a Healthy Homes booth at the recent Common Ground Fair for the fifth year in a row. What a great venue for us to provide members of the public with practical strategies for healthy, energy-efficient indoor environments! Thank you to our volunteers extraordinaires–MIAQC members Jon Levenseler, Tom Caron, Jay Otis, Mark Toth, Steve & Alison Caulfield, and Bob Stilwell all braved the crowds, the traffic, and the heat to donate their time to the Council.* * *

30+ professionals participated in the Building Commissioning seminar held in Augusta on September 26th. Thank you to MIAQC Members Steve Caulfield, Fred McKnight, and Jason Donovan, as well as guests Mason Rowell and John Penney for their great discussions of this critical building practice. * * *

You’ve heard of Black Friday. Then Cyber Monday. Now, there’s #GivingTuesday! The Maine Indoor Air Quality Council is taking part in #GivingTuesday, a fundraising event that raises funds for nonprofit organizations all over the world. So on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, be sure to donate to your favorite nonprofit, whether it’s the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council or something else.

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:
207-626-8115; christy@maineindoorair.org.


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 September, the Council received a call from a homeowner with a mold problem in her finished basement. The homeowner had recently received an estimate from a reputable mold remediation company for the retrofit, clean-up, and repair of the property. However, the cost estimate for the work was significant, and the homeowner was worried that her avid Do-It-Yourself husband would attempt to rip out and repair the mold damaged materials without much thought to the impact the work might have on the home and their children. One of the children has severe asthma and has recently been sick.

This homeowner clearly understood the risk that poor mold remediation practices could have direct negative impact on her child’s health and well being.

A lot of very smart scientists and practitioners have worked hard to develop sound mold remediation practices, guidelines, and training regimes–all designed to ensure proper mold clean-up, as well as prevent mold-related illness for both building occupants and mold remediation workers.

The Council’s response to this homeowner stressed the need to make sure the work to repair the home and conduct proper mold clean-up is done in accordance with the well-established body of best practices–regardless of whether the work is done by qualified, trained professionals or savvy DIY homeowners.

We referred the homeowner to the following available resources:

What would you say? Continue the conversation on our LinkedIn page.


Interesting Reading…

IAQ Global Alliance

Green & Healthy Maine Homes Magazine

Healthy Indoors Magazine

Have some interesting reading to share? Send it to MIAQC Executive Director Christy Crocker and we ‘ll post in the next Informer Newsletter in January 2018.


Reminder…2017-18 Membership Dues Now Due

If you wish to be a member of the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council, right now, the beginning of our dues year, is the best time to join and/or renew your membership. Invoices have been sent via e-mail to all current members. However, if you aren’t a member but would like to join, please visit our membership information/sign-up page.


Corporate Partners ‘ Corner

The Maine Indoor Air Quality Council is grateful for the financial and in-kind support our Corporate Partners provide us on a daily basis. This month’s featured Corporate Partner is Particles Plus of Stoughton, MA. If your company is interested in partnering with us in a similar capacity, please contact Christy Crocker, MIAQC Executive Director.

The Value of Particle Counters and IAQ Monitors: Essential Tools for IAQ Investigations

It would be difficult to discuss Indoor Air Quality without first being able to quantify and identify the composition of the air being tested. There are numerous ways we investigate air quality, ranging from simple observations such as our olfactory senses and visual inspection to more complex air sample analysis utilizing reputable laboratories that incorporate advanced instrumentation like Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry. Many investigators, consultants, and other Indoor Environmental Professionals utilize various tools or instruments onsite to help identify and measure the indoor environment. Electronic gas detectors or sampling tubes are very useful for providing an indication of the levels of various gases like Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Formaldehyde, Ozone and Volatile Organic Compounds. Being able to identify these types of gases onsite and in real time is crucial to a faster resolution to the client’s indoor air quality complaint.

Another key aspect to indoor air quality investigation relates to the amount and types of particles that are found in the air. Spore traps are valuable testing tools that allow for lab analysis to identify and quantify all fungi present in the sample was taken. Unfortunately, testing all locations within an indoor environment can become costly. The use of a particle counter to record the particle levels during the initial investigation, while simultaneously taking spore trap samples, allows for the Indoor Environmental Professional to record all of the locations in the structure where the spore traps are not being utilized. Using this data in conjunction with the spore trap lab report helps create a particle count baseline that can later be used after the remediation process is completed and clearance is requested. The particle counts recorded following the remediation and air scrubbing should provide initial insight if the restoration and cleaning process was effective. Using advanced particle counting features, investigators and remediation contractors can also pinpoint high particle generation areas including leaky air ducts, or infiltration of particulate from unfinished spaces due to bad construction seals and improper air balancing.

Particle counters and electronic air quality monitors should be considered a necessary tool for most indoor environmental professionals and remediation professionals. Saving time and money by enhancing testing procedures, and allowing for onsite spot checking helps indicate that the air being remediated is within normal levels. This allows for a clearance request and sign off to be issued with higher degree of confidence.

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: 207-626-8115; christy@maineindoorair.org.


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

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