Indoor Air Quality

Maintaining Good Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is generally good in well-maintained buildings with well-maintained heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. Occupants can play a key role in maintaining good air quality as follows: 

Is your issue more of an odor concern?  If so, see odor concerns.

  1. Keep building materials dry: Many building materials can support mold growth when they are wet for extended periods. Therefore, keeping things dry is of utmost importance for maintaining good indoor air quality. Occupants are in the best position to recognize new water leaks and notify  Facilities at extension 3239 to take corrective action.
  2. Keep windows closed: Outdoor air carries pollen, mold spores, and humidity, any of which may cause problems indoors. Air that is brought in via the building HVAC system is filtered and conditioned, removing allergens and excess moisture. Leaving windows open may cause allergic-type symptoms in sensitive individuals, and may lead to condensation (and later mold growth) when humid outdoor air comes in contact with cool indoor surfaces.
  3. Do not block air vents: The building’s HVAC system was designed to provide and remove air from each part of the building. Blocking the vents can compromise this design. 
  4. Remove visible mold: If you notice mold growing on building materials, call EHS to assess the mold growth.

Indoor Air Quality Concerns

The first steps to take if you have Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Concerns:

  1. Contact Facilities to repair leaks. If needed, Facilities can also replace damaged ceiling tiles or drywall that has been wet for too long and bring fans to help speed drying.
  2. Contact facilities and EHS if a large area of carpet is wet. They can extract water from the carpet and bring fans to help speed drying.
  3. Use paper towels or other absorbent to clean up small spills.
  4. If you notice mold growing on building materials, contact EHS.
  5. If you are experiencing an ongoing indoor air quality concern, please review the following common symptoms that may be associated with indoor air and steps that may be taken to alleviate the concerns:
    1. Dry, itchy eyes: During cold weather, the heated air indoors can be very dry, sometimes making our eyes feel dry or itchy.  Local humidification systems are discouraged because, if not maintained well, these can distribute microorganisms into room air, causing more severe health issues than the low humidity. Allergic-type symptoms (sneezing, watery eyes): There are many potential causes of allergic-type symptoms, most of which are not related to indoor air. However, if a building is excessively humid or if water leaks into the building, mold may grow on building materials or in the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system, subsequently causing symptoms for sensitive individuals. 
  6. If you notice mold growing on building materials, call EHS to access the mold.
  7. If employees are leaving windows open in the area, make them aware that pollen and mold spores will enter the building through open windows and may cause symptoms for sensitive individuals. Ask employees to leave windows closed.
  8. If occupants are experiencing allergic-type symptoms but there are no signs of visible mold and windows are not being left open, contact Facilities and ask that they  check your HVAC unit. 
  9. If maintenance is not able to resolve indoor air quality concerns, you may request that EHS perform an Indoor Air Quality Investigation by following the instructions below.

Request an EHS Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Investigation

Review the Indoor Air Quality information above.

You may request that EHS perform an Indoor Air Quality Investigation AFTER requesting that Facilities check the ventilation or plumbing systems as appropriate.


The initial assessment will include:

A conversation with the maintenance employee who responded to your concern,

A visual inspection of the area, and

Measurements of common indoor air quality parameters such as humidity, temperature, carbon dioxide, etc.

If this assessment indicates a potential problem, additional sampling may be performed and necessary corrective actions will be recommended to facilities.