Step-by-step Guide to Testing Home Air Quality
Having a clean indoor quality is a must, especially for AC owners. The fact that indoor air can be way more polluted than outdoors means you should take into account the maintenance of the air that circulates inside your premises. But how do you do this?
There are several ways to test the quality of indoor air. Here, you will get a detailed list of the steps that you can follow to ensure that the air that courses through your home and the air that you breathe is hygienic. But before getting into the valuable tips, it’s important to distinguish the symptoms of poor air quality.
What are the symptoms often associated with poor indoor air quality?
Indoor air quality (IAQ) is as important as outdoor air quality because it affects not just the comfort of people around but also their health. Knowing and controlling the pollutants that exist in your home increases comfort and reduces possible health concerns. While IAQ issues have varying impacts, it largely hits those with chronic respiratory problems.
Below are the most common symptoms linked to poorly maintained IAQ:
- Constant coughing and sneezing
- Sinus congestion
- Shortness of breath
- Dryness of eyes, throat, nose, and skin
What are the most important things to consider for clean indoor air quality?
Now that you have an idea of the relevance of IAQ, it’s easier for you to dive into the steps of testing your home’s air quality.
- Avail of an indoor air quality monitor.
Whether you want to optimize the air inside your home or lessen allergy attacks, it’s highly recommended to invest in a good indoor air quality monitor. This is such a useful device to help you assess the level of pollutants and understand the condition of the air in your home. It makes sure that your indoor air quality is clean and free from harmful particles like excessive dust, high humidity, and damaging emissions.
An air quality monitor comes in different meters, though most have three and four meters to test the gasses inside the house. These include oxygen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, volatile gasses, and other sources like tobacco, perfume, and food. Without this equipment, it’s hard to know the detrimental factors that affect indoor air quality. And as a result, it may impact your health in general.
Using the key features of an IAQ monitor, you will be alerted if the air quality is unsafe. Warnings are often displayed on the screen of the equipment while some allow you to access it through your smartphone or tablet. Other IAQ devices track the air quality outdoors to provide a better context for indoor air readings.
- Examine the mold in the air.
Mold is another household pollutant that may exist inside your home. It may appear on your stale food or perhaps within the dark and warm kitchen area. Though it’s easy to throw away food with mold, the risk of airborne mold spores is still prominent. And unfortunately, your IAQ monitor could not distinguish this harmful particulate.
Airborne mold spores can be toxic when ingested or inhaled. These often cause frequent allergies, persistent wheezing, sneezing, and coughing. Since these are microscopic in appearance, it’s difficult to see them with the naked eye. Therefore, you need to determine the presence of airborne mold spores inside your home through a mold test.
Most mold test kits are readily available in hardware stores. However, these can often provide unreliable results. And because of different factors like manufacturing guidelines and restricted time frames, people get inaccurate results. That is why it’s highly recommended to contact a professional who can efficiently and effectively interpret and analyze the possible existence of mold in your place.
Ideally, this professional must be a Certified Microbial Investigator so you are guaranteed of getting credible results. Some of the situations that need an expert’s help include a musty smell in your area, frequent coughing or sneezing, and significant plumbing leaks.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms.
Did you know that large and long exposure to carbon dioxide can be deadly? Carbon monoxide (CO) is a byproduct formed from incomplete fuel combustion. It is characterized by its tasteless, colorless, and odorless state, which is why it is often dubbed a silent killer.
Because of the impending risks, home and building owners are recommended to install a carbon monoxide alarm. This is a relevant addition, especially if you own appliances such as gas-burning stoves, gas dryers, gas furnaces, or any equipment that burns gas. Fireplaces produce CO as well.
Though most IAQ monitors assess the CO concentration, it’s quite impractical to install one in every section of your home. Accordingly, it’s best to have a carbon monoxide alarm that you can depend on in case the CO level in your home is beyond normal. When installing this equipment, make sure to place it on the ceiling. The location of the alarm is crucial because CO is lighter than air, hence it rises above.
There are two main types to choose from: battery-powered and electric models. The latter is a better option as it uses electricity, which means it is purged and regularly reset to provide a more reliable CO detection.
- Run a radon test.
For the last step, don’t forget to check the radon level in your home. Radon, just like CO, can be deadly because of its nature. It is a radioactive gas with no odor, color, and taste. Therefore, it’s completely undetectable, adding risks and health issues to the people who inhale it. This kind of gas is formed during the decay of radium, uranium, or thorium, which are normally found in soil, groundwater, and rocks.
When these elements are broken down, it gives off radioactive particles that could be life-threatening in the long term. Because the sources of the radioactive elements are generally from natural soil deposits, radon could sift through the cracks in your floors and even walls. It can also enter your home through the pipe or at the lowest area of your home.
To keep your indoor air clear of this deadly gas, you can conduct your own radon test using a kit purchased from a hardware shop. Professional testers are also available to complete the task for you. Either way, a few tests are just a small price to pay to ensure your safety and comfort in your own home.