Looking for More Useful Resources on the Topic of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)?
ASHI Executive Director Frank Lesh recommends checking this resource:
Jeff May’s Healthy Home Tips: A Workbook for Detecting, Diagnosing and Eliminating Pesky Pets, Stinky Stenches, Musty Mold, and Other Aggravating Home Problems
Written by Jeffrey C. May and Connie L. May. Published in 2008 by Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. Available on Amazon.com for $15.14.
This handy book provides useful information and checklists related to indoor pollutants and IAQ that can benefit both homeowners and home inspectors. The authors advise readers to keep detailed notes about the steps they’ve taken to improve IAQ, and the book’s design offers space to record those observations and concerns.
Another excellent feature of this book are “Jeff’s Gems.” Here are a couple excerpts:
“Mildew can grow within 24 to 48 hours whenever moisture (from leaks, spills, high relative humidity, or condensation), air and food sources (skin scales, wood, and starch in drywall, cardboard, and paper, among others) are present. You can’t get rid of air, and biodegradable dust is everywhere. You can, however, minimize moisture, which is the key to preventing mildew growth” (Page 11).
“Mold can grow in an attic when excess moisture is present. In cooler climates, pull-down attic stairs that aren’t tight-fitting and recessed lights in rooms below that attic can allow warm, moist house air to infiltrate the attic. Then moisture condenses on cooler attic surfaces. In air-conditioned buildings in warm humid climates, air from the exterior used to ventilate the attic carries moisture, which can condense on any inadequately insulated, and thus cooler, air conditioning ducts or equipment. In some very humid climates, attic ventilation may have to be reduced.” So, “don’t over-ventilate your attic if you live in a hot, very humid climate, such as in the Southeast,” and “don’t install circular soffit vents, which have little area for ventilation and often get clogged with paint” (Page 36).
The authors enhance this and many other sections by providing lists of “Dos and Don’ts” designed for homeowners. Another example appears in a section addressing the issue of excess moisture. The authors provide graphics that emphasize how “in houses without over hangs, water will run down siding and windows, causing damage and rot, and enter the basement,” (this is bad) and “in houses with over hangs and drip edge, water drips away from the framing and basement” (this is good). The overall message is that “rainwater from roofs, gutters, or downspouts should never stream down the exterior of a building” (Page 91).
Need another reason to add this book to a list of useful resources on your business website? The authors repeatedly suggest that homeowners should “call in a professional home inspector” to assess various situations. This kind of whole-hearted support for home inspection appears throughout the book, so why not read this resource yourself so you can internalize a few more reasons to validate your services with your clients. By listing this handbook along with other resources about homeownership on your business website, you can help enhance your clients’ knowledge and spread the message that home inspectors are exceptional resources for professional advice and information.
Jeff May also publishes an online newsletter. Check out his website at www.mayindoorair.com.
Articles from the ASHI Reporter Archives…
• Maintaining Air Quality During Winter Months, by Jay Gregg. ASHI Reporter, December 2013. http://www.ashireporter.org/homeinspection/articles/maintaining-air-quality-during-winter-months/4605.
• Environmental Air Quality: What Is Indoor airPLUS? Edited by ASHI Staff. ASHI Reporter, December 2013. http://www.ashireporter.org/HomeInspection/Articles/Environmental-Air- Quality/1990.