Did you know that 40% of Americans live in homes with poor air quality?
Air quality testing is a vital but often overlooked component of home maintenance. When you test the air quality, you provide yourself and your family with the information you need to maintain both your home and your health.
But what exactly are the steps in air quality testing? And what should you do if you find contaminants in the air in your home? Keep reading to find out.
Signs You Need Air Quality Testing
The largest indicator that you need to test the air quality of your home are an increase in experiencing allergy symptoms. These can including coughing, sneezing, itching, runny nose, headaches, and congestion. You may also be experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, including fevers, nausea, fatigue, and chills.
Children and older individuals are most likely to experience these kinds of symptoms when pollutants and allergens are present in your home. Anyone who has chronic respiratory illnesses, allergies, asthma, or is immunocompromised is also more likely to experience adverse effects related to poor air quality.
Even if you and your family members aren’t experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to regularly test the air quality of your home. You never know when pollutants or allergens could be building up inside your home. The earlier you catch the presence of these contaminants, the less damage they’re able to cause to your home and to your health.
How to Conduct Indoor Air Quality Testing
You have several options for indoor air quality tests that you can conduct. The right choice for you depends on your lifestyle, the symptoms you’re experiencing, and what you want to measure.
Check for Visible Mold and Odors
First, check for visible signs of dust and allergens. If the vents for your HVAC system are dusty or have mold growing on them, it’s likely that your problems stem from your HVAC system. Contact a professional to clean out your HVAC system, and your problem should be solved.
Even if you can’t see mold, you can identify it by smell. Any musty or “dirty” smell indicates the presence of mold. This is especially common in humid, moist environments, including the drains in your sinks and in the bathrooms of your home.
Home Air Quality Test Kits
If visual and odor cues aren’t helping you identify the problem, your next step is to order an at-home air quality test. You can either order a test that you administer yourself, or you can call in a professional to take a sample for you.
With the self-administered test, you collect an air sample from your home and send it to a lab for testing. They’ll then send you the results. It’s up to you to decide what steps to take next.
With a professionally-administered test, the same process occurs, except that the professional collects the samples for you. They may also advise what follow-up steps you should take, if any, based on the results of your samples.
An air quality test kit is great if you don’t notice any visible signs of air contamination and you don’t have any physical symptoms. These tests are sensitive enough to pick up trace amounts of contaminants before they become a major issue.
They’re also a good option for when you’ve recently finished remodeling, repairs, or renovations in your home. These kinds of projects can affect the air quality in your home. Following up with an air quality test ensures that your family’s health won’t be at risk in the coming weeks and months.
Air Quality Monitors
For cost-effective, regular testing, purchase an air quality monitor for your home. Some monitors test for specific pollutants, such as carbon monoxide or radon. These monitors continually assess the levels of these pollutants in your home, and they have alarms that activate when dangerous levels of these pollutants enter the air.
Other air quality monitors measure your indoor Air Quality Index. They take readings on your air’s temperature, humidity, volatile organic compounds, and particulate matter.
If your tests come back with no indication of air pollutants or contaminants, then you’re good to go! Otherwise, the solutions are specific to the kind of contaminant found in your air.
For high levels of dust or mold throughout your home, you may just need a thorough cleaning of your vents and ducts, as mentioned above. If that doesn’t solve the issue, though, you may need to replace parts or all of your home’s HVAC system. An HVAC maintenance professional will let you know the best course of action for your situation.
For high or low levels of humidity, find a way to regulate the amount of moisture in the air in your home. Purchasing indoor house plants or running a humidifier are effective ways to introduce more moisture into the air in your home. Running a dehumidifier can help lower excess amounts of moisture in the air.
If you find volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, in your air, you probably need to change the products you use in your home or the way you use them. Certain paints, cleaners, disinfectants, wood-burning stoves, and other household items can introduce contaminants into your air. Either find a way to add ventilation to your indoor space when using these items, or eliminate them from your home.
For most other small airborne particles, in-home air purifiers do the trick. You can purchase purifiers ranging from one-room units all the way to whole-home purifiers. Effective options exist at various price points.
Test Air Quality Regularly
The quality of the air in your home affects the quality of your life. Air pollutants ranging from dust to harmful chemicals can cause irritation, allergy symptoms, and long-term health complications. Test the air quality in your home regularly, and take steps to mitigate the effects of any contaminants you find.
Looking for professional support in upgrading the air quality in your home? Contact us today to learn more!