December 2014
Indoor Environmental News
Texas and Gulf Coast Residents Provided Tips to Prevent Winter Water Damage & Mold 
With the official start of winter only a few weeks away, many parts of Texas and the Gulf Coast have already experienced freezing weather and even snow in some areas.  The arctic blast that took place in mid-November reminded people that winter and sustained cold temperatures are just around the corner.


Strong winds, rain, snow and ice can all take a toll on a home or building.  Freezing temperatures alone can cause burst pipes resulting in extensive property damage and mold growth.  In fact, a recent study by ACE Insurance Underwriters found that water damage causes $9.1 billion in homeowner property loses each year in the United States. 


Because winter weather can be so tough on any type of building, it's important to takes steps to prepare for the season and prevent moisture, mold and other indoor air quality problems from occurring.  The following tips can help prepare a home for winter weather. 

  • Insulate any exposed pipes and evaluate if the home's attic, walls, basement or crawl space needs more insulation. This is also a good time to check for any signs of water damage from existing leaks.
  • Be sure the attic is well ventilated.
  • Shut off the water to exterior hose bibs and drain those water lines if possible.  Also shut off and drain the yard's irrigation system.
  • Clean gutters and down spouts to make sure water is able to drain properly and to minimize the risk of ice dams.
  • Make sure water drains away from the home.
  • Check to make sure any fireplaces are operating properly and are not obstructed.
  • Caulk around windows, doors and other openings.  Also fix any cracks or holes in the foundation.
  • Check for drafts and add weather stripping anywhere it's worn or missing.
  • Consider having the heating system inspected before it's needed to make sure it is operating properly and that there are no carbon monoxide hazards.  This is also a good time to change the air filters and inspect for debris in the ducts.
  • Check the roof, flashing, chimney, siding and skylights for any signs of damage.
  • Trim back any branches that could cause damage to a property during a winter storm.
  • If the home is summer property or is going to be empty for an extended period of time, shut off and drain the water system.

"If water, moisture or excessive humidity are allowed to occur in an indoor environment, mold may begin to grow in as short as 24 to 48 hours," said Hollis L. Horner, President, Indoor Environmental Consultants, Inc.  "This is why it is so important to respond quickly to any type of moisture problem.  At IEC, our building science experts inspect homes and buildings to assess conditions and make recommendations to prevent moisture problems, mold growth and address any indoor air quality concerns.  If a problem already exists, our staff will identify the root cause and provide solutions to quickly resolve the problem."


IEC recently sponsored a video that provides tips for winterizing a home that can be seen at: 
Winterize Your Home to Prevent Water Damage and Mold
Winterize Your Home to Prevent Water Damage and Mold


To learn more about preventing water damage and healthy indoor environments, please visit www.iecinc.net, email ncancino@iecinc.net or call (877) 432-8378.



LEED IEQ Certification Services in Texas & the Gulf Coast 

Across Texas and the Gulf Coast, a growing number of building owners and management companies have recognized the benefits of obtaining the USGBC Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for their properties.  To obtain this coveted status, there are a number of credit categories where points can be earned towards certification.


One major category for LEED certification is indoor environmental quality credits.  One of the foremost LEED consulting firms in the region that specializes in helping those in search of certification achieve seamless compliance with these requirements is Indoor Environmental Consultants. 


Two specific areas that IEC is frequently called upon to assist with during new construction activities include IEQ Credit 3.1 and 3.2.  In order to comply with IEQ Credit 3.1: Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan - During Construction, an indoor air quality management plan must be developed and implemented for the construction and pre-occupancy phases of the building.  To earn IEQ Credit 3.2: Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan-Before Occupancy, two options are available: (1) a building-wide  flush-out of specified duration and volume of air, or (2) indoor air quality testing for carbon monoxide, total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs), formaldehyde, and total particulates conducted after all finishes have been installed and before the building is occupied.


IEC also offers Indoor Environmental Quality Services for LEED 2009 Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance (EBOM) , including:

  • Credit 1.1 - Indoor Air Quality Management Program
  • Credit 1.2 - Outdoor Air Delivery Monitoring
  • Credit 1.3 - Increased Ventilation
  • Credit 1.4 - Reduce Particulates in Air Distribution
  • Credit 1.5 - Indoor Air Quality Management for Facility Alterations and Additions


To learn more about IEC's LEED certification compliance consulting services or other indoor air quality services
, please visit www.iecinc.net, email ncancino@iecinc.net or call (877) 432-8378.