We think we have high formaldehyde levels in our home from the subfloor or the flooring glue. Who can test for this?

Asked by TV
Knoxville, TN

The smell in our crawlspace, which was very humid when the smell started, is unbelievable. We get a film on our window within a couple of weeks and our symptoms match symptoms of formaldehyde exposure. This house was new when we bought it. I cannot find anybody who can test for this or give me guidance on whether it is our problem or something else. We thought the smell was mold in the crawlspace and had it encapsulated, but that, I believe, has made the smell worse in the crawlspace and filming worse on our windows...along with magnifying our symptoms.


Doug Cameron, LEED GA

Answered by Doug Cameron, LEED GA

Austin, TX

EcoSafe Spaces, LLC

August 2, 2011

Maybe you could vent the crawlspace using mechanical ventilation.

Regarding the levels of formaldehyde in your home, an Indoor Environmental Consultant should be able to take samples and have them sent to a lab.

  • The only problem is that the results will only reflect specifically what you are testing for.
  • What if the problem is something other than formaldehyde...did you test for that...see my point?

Rather than spend money on the tests, my advice would be to get to the source of the problem, which sounds like it is water-related...and fix it. That's because, even if you find high formaldehyde levels, what are you ultimately going to do about it?

  • VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are greatly increased by high humidity.
  • If you can decrease the humidity, you may be able to eliminate your issue altogether.

That's why I suggested venting the crawlspace with some form of mechanical ventilation.

Good luck, and I hope that helps!


For more information:

Read "Do I need an indoor air quality test? How much will it cost?" a Q&A answered by Evan Little.

Tagged In: home air quality

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