Indoor Air Quality Testing: What You Need to Know

Protect your family’s health by prioritizing indoor air quality with Moore Home Services. They are on a mission to purify the air inside homes in the Sonoma, Napa, and Marin counties. With indoor air being up to five times more polluted than the air outside, the quality of the air you inhale should be at the forefront of your mind. Indoor air pollution can lead to long-term medical problems and unwanted side effects. So, be proactive for your household and start thinking about indoor air quality. Before you can improve the quality of the air you are inhaling, you need to pinpoint its current state. Only when you know what you are dealing with can you develop strategies to make improvements. So, what exactly is indoor air quality testing? How can you discover what is causing your air quality to be contaminated? And how important is indoor air quality, really? Moore Home Services is here to tell you everything you need to know about indoor air quality testing.

The Importance Of Indoor Air Quality

  Human beings spend 90% of their lives indoors, so the air we inhale should be as safe as possible. With gasses, chemicals and other pollutants circulating inside your home, it is unsurprising that your household could be suffering from headaches, irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, allergies, and fatigue. In fact, up to 900 toxins can contaminate the purity of indoor air. With 81% of people at risk of respiratory or dermatological conditions due to poor indoor air quality, it is time to start taking indoor air pollution as seriously as we take that of outdoors.

What Pollutants and Allergens Are Causing Poor Air Quality?

There is a wide range of allergens and the sources of them inside homes. Some of these pollutants include:
  • Radon
  • Mold
  • Pet dander
  • Combustion byproducts (such as tobacco smoke, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter.)
  • Pesticides
  • Lead
  • Asbestos
  • Ozone (caused by air fresheners and other cleaning products.)

Do I Need To Test My Indoor Air Quality? Signs and Symptoms That Your Indoor Air Needs An Inspection

The following symptoms strongly correlate with poor indoor air quality. Though everyone should test their indoor air upon showing one or more of these symptoms, people who suffer from respiratory problems and are particularly sensitive to air pollutants should prioritize testing as soon as possible. If any of your household notices one or more of the symptoms, it is time for an indoor air quality test:
  • Irritation to your eyes, nose, and/or throat
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Congestion
  • Skin reactions (for example, rashes)
  • Worsening of allergies and/or asthma
  • Dizzy spells
  • Frequent colds or illnesses
As you are taking up to 23,040 breaths per day, it is best to make sure the air you are inhaling is safe.

How To Define The Sources of Poor Indoor Air Quality

If you are able to pinpoint which indoor air pollutants you are exposed to, you are able to work out how they will impact your symptoms. Then, you are equipped with knowledge that can be used to put strategies in place to lessen your symptoms and improve your indoor air quality. Though air pollutants can be both low and high threats, even the lower ones require action for your family’s health and comfort.

Low-Threat Air Contaminants

Low-threat indoor air contaminants might include:
  • Pet fur and dander
  • Allergens
  • Dust

High-Threat Air Contaminants

Higher-threat air contaminants that are extremely harmful to your household include:
  • Radon
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Asbestos particles
  • Smoke
  • VOCs
  • Mold
  • Lead
  • Fumes from cooking fuels

How Do I Test My Indoor Air Quality?

  If you are testing your indoor air quality yourself without the use of a professional, you will need to invest in a number of air quality testing kits. However, prior to purchasing a random range of indoor air quality testing kits, you will need to determine which air pollutants you want to measure.

Which Indoor Air Quality Testing Kits Should I Purchase?

The air quality inside your home can be drastically different from that of your neighbor’s home. Air quality is extremely varied from property to property, determined by both your lifestyle and your location.
Before you purchase any air quality testing kits, take a look at the Air Quality Index (AQI) and take a look at the information listed for your city. The Air Quality Index will help you discover the most common outdoor pollutants in your area. You will also need to assess your home yourself to find the right indoor air quality testing kits for your particular needs. For example, if you recently renovated and painted your home, you may find that your VOC levels spiked. If you have a pet – particularly pets with long fur – this will influence your results, too. Consider your household’s context before choosing your testing kits. This will allow you to prioritize certain allergens and pollutants for measuring. Some testing kits are designed to measure a wide range of air contaminants. Others focus on a single pollutant, such as carbon monoxide or radon.

Test For Mold At Home

Though mold is not exactly welcomed into our homes, it is actually extremely common. The danger mold poses to our household vastly depends on the type of mold and the extremities of its growth.
Measuring mold levels in your home does require a professional. Though there are at-home mold testing kits, they are notoriously unreliable. DIY mold testing kits will tell you if mold is present. However, it is important to note that there is always a low level of mold in the air. These kits do not show you the details, including whether you have an excessive level of mold in your home or what type of mold it is. On the other hand, a professional can measure the mold levels both inside and outside your property. That way, the results can be compared, allowing you to know whether the level of mold is high, the type of mold it is, and the source of the problem. If you are concerned about mold inside your home, an at-home mold kit will not provide much information. Instead, it is best to use a professional for thorough testing and analysis.

Test For Carbon Monoxide At Home

Carbon monoxide is an extremely dangerous gas, made harder to find as it is colorless and odorless. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have reported that 430 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning every year, with another 50,000 patients having severe reactions and requiring treatment in the Emergency Room.
If your household uses gas, carbon monoxide detectors should be used. These devices are used in the same way as smoke detectors. Carbon monoxide detectors should be fixed to a wall, roughly 5 feet off the ground. Do not fix them directly over appliances that use gas or your fireplace. After set-up, the device will immediately start measuring carbon monoxide and collecting data continuously. If carbon monoxide levels are detected, the detector will sound an alarm, just like a smoke detector.

Test For Radon At Home

Like carbon monoxide, radon is a colorless and odorless gas that is highly toxic for you and your family. This gas escapes from the soil and then enters the home from any cracks in your property’s floors, foundation, and pipes. Found in all 50 states, Radon has been connected to 21,000 cases of lung cancer death every year. With this in mind, it’s obvious that radon testing should be routine in every household. There are both short-term and long-term radon testing kits that are fairly straightforward to use. The long-term radon testing kit acts similarly to carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. If your home has multiple stories, make sure that you fix your long-term radon testing kit to the ground floor. Radon comes from the ground, meaning you will gain a more accurate reading. Short-term radon kits, on the other hand, should be placed in a high-risk area of your home. The testing kit will remain in this location for the specified time, collecting information continuously. Then, you will send the device back to the manufacturer so that they can analyze the results. While some testing kits are designed to collect data only for a few days, others require a few months to collect samples and provide detailed results for analysis.

Test For Allergens At Home Using an Indoor Air Quality Monitor

An Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) monitor is a fantastic testing kit if you are looking to gather information about a number of allergens inside your home rather than one pollutant in particular. IAQ monitors can capture the presence of a range of particulate matter, including dust, pollen, and dirt, which can often irritate allergies. An indoor air quality monitor looks like a programmable thermostat. Its accessible display screen allows you to see—in real-time—the pollutant levels inside your home. This device also provides an overall air quality assessment.

DIY Or Professional Air Quality Testing: Which Is Right For You?

While DIY home air quality kits might be fairly inexpensive and easy to use once you get started, the accuracy of these tests does vary. For example, the at-home mold testing kits are very temperamental, and the results are often inaccurate. Note, too, that DIY kits do not provide a great deal of detail. A professional indoor air quality test allows your home the peace of mind that the results are conclusive and true. The data provided is detailed enough for you to build strategies around improving it. Professional indoor air quality testing is always the better option, especially if you or a member of your family suffers from health issues related to or worsened by indoor air pollution. In addition, professional air quality tests allow the experts to guide you and explain how to purify your home’s air.