Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. #1
    Debora Hodinski's Avatar
    Debora Hodinski Guest

    Question Chemical Sensitivity in home

    The home we are dealing with is 5 years old. Upon moving in to this new home allergies and chemical sensitivities have been continually escalating. The home is heated with the Rinnai system which uses in floor heating. The system is the homes complete source of water and home heat. Upon the installing of carpet/underlay / lino on the bottom floor the chemical sensitivites heightened. It has been over 2 years with no improvement. Can the carpets/underlay/ lino be giving off toxic gases due to the floor being heated?

    There was no air exchanger put in the home until last year. When it was installed the air inake and outtake lines are situated horizontally across from each other. Will this bring in the appropriate amount of fresh air with them being so close together? There is only one source of outake which is on the top floor and two sources of air intake, one on each floor.
    Again no improvement.

    There was a wood burning fireplace installed with the fresh air intake source coming from a vent going into the garage. Could this cause problems? The installer stated that all air coming into the house would be contained in the firebox but there is an exhaust above the firebox which emits hot air during use. Just maybe another idea on how this home could be improved.

    Definitely the symptoms are "only" during the months when the floor is being heated and there is less air circulation in the home. Has to be some kind of connections.

    I would so appreciate any suggestions as this is becoming a very serious problem.

    Thanks - Deb

    Similar Threads:
    NHIE Practice Exam

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Posts
    2,480

    Default Re: Chemical Sensitivity in home

    Quote Originally Posted by Debora Hodinski View Post
    The home we are dealing with is 5 years old. Upon moving in to this new home allergies and chemical sensitivities have been continually escalating. The home is heated with the Rinnai system which uses in floor heating. The system is the homes complete source of water and home heat. Upon the installing of carpet/underlay / lino on the bottom floor the chemical sensitivites heightened. It has been over 2 years with no improvement. Can the carpets/underlay/ lino be giving off toxic gases due to the floor being heated? There was no air exchanger put in the home until last year. When it was installed the air inake and outtake lines are situated horizontally across from each other. Will this bring in the appropriate amount of fresh air with them being so close together? There is only one source of outake which is on the top floor and two sources of air intake, one on each floor. Again no improvement. There was a wood burning fireplace installed with the fresh air intake source coming from a vent going into the garage. Could this cause problems? The installer stated that all air coming into the house would be contained in the firebox but there is an exhaust above the firebox which emits hot air during use. Just maybe another idea on how this home could be improved. Definitely the symptoms are "only" during the months when the floor is being heated and there is less air circulation in the home. Has to be some kind of connections. I would so appreciate any suggestions as this is becoming a very serious problem. Thanks - Deb
    Deb,

    As home inspectors, we are generalists. The best that we can do is hazard a guess. It is necessary to understand that the vast majority of home inspectors are not air quality specialists. If this is a home for a client, then deferring is your best bet.

    I have heard of chemical sensitivity to offgasing from carpets as well as formaldehyde in plywood and OSB panels and your observation that the symptoms increased with the carpet/vinyl installation as well as when the house is closed-up for the winter does seem to corroborate this.

    If it were me, I would notify my doctor and see about getting a referral to an allergy specialist. There may also be a doctor that specializes in chemical sensitivity. Talk to your doctor about the possibility of VOCs or other chemicals in the building materials used in this home. You could also contact an indoor air quality specialist such as an industrial hygienist to do air sampling. However, it would probably be beneficial to find out what exactly you are sensitive to, so the AQS can have the air samples tested for specific chemicals.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: Chemical Sensitivity in home

    Hello Debora, welcome to Inspection News.
    First, I would recommend contacting an industrial hygienist to look into your situation. Home inspectors are not trained or qualified in regard to Indoor Air Quality issues.
    It looks like you have covered the bases at first glance, but there are many other interrelated systems in a home that could cause or exacerbate problems for sensitive individuals.
    Pulling combustion air from a garage for the fireplace is wrong and just plain dumb due to the fire hazard issue even if you forget about the air quality.
    Most all carpets and interior furnishings will off-gas, but most of the off-gassing diminishes with time. Heating anything will tend to cause vapors to be released more easily but I would think off-gassing would slow once the initial vapors were released (i.e. more concentrated fumes early on but lower levels after the heat had been used for a while)

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
    Posts
    5,005

    Default Re: Chemical Sensitivity in home

    Debora

    Firstly I don't know whether you have sought medical advice or had confirmed through allergy testing what the occupants may be sensitive to, such as, mould, chemicals or danders. However many wood products are made with binders, glues which will off gass formaldehyde, as well as any open products in the home such as perfumes, paint, cleaning products will off gas.

    Carpet backing is a product which can off gas and with the addition of moisture migrating up through the concrete could increase the vapours, along with the floor being heated.

    As to air exchangers if installed properly would have to be balanced for the particulars of the home, such as air leakage/infiltration, exhaust fans, stack effect et cetera.Unless the air exchanger is installed to manufactures specs, its difficult to say with certainty that it is effective or installed correctly. Not to mention the exhaust vent locations throughout the house and proximity of exteranl exhaust and intake vents.

    As to the fireplace again it is possible that it is not venting properly or the air intake from the garage is operating. Personally speaking I would discontinue use of the fireplace until such time as it can be established that the air exchanger if functioning/installed properly. Further the vent from garage to firebox should be sealed off until such time as the items above are looked at and the fireplace has further investigation for proper venting.


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •