How Do I Test the Air in My Home?

Plant in a home with quality air

Breathe easier with quality air

When you think about pollutants, you probably think about the air outside or perhaps the ground and water being polluted. Most people do, rarely do we think about indoor air quality, but we should. Indoor air quality is just as critical to our health, especially when we consider the pollutants that are found inside.

The good news about indoor air quality, we can do something about it that is immediately beneficial, whereas the outdoor air quality needs help from the rest of the world. What is indoor air quality? This refers to the air quality is in and around your home or office and how it affects the comfort and health of those inside.

Once you understand the importance of indoor air quality and what you can do for controlling the common pollutants, you can reduce the risks concerns to your health. What may not be affecting your health could show up later.  Health consequences from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years later.

What are the symptoms of bad air quality in the home?

Some immediate effects of bad indoor air quality on your health are indicated by irritation of your eyes, nose, and throat.  You may suffer from dizziness, fatigue, and headaches. These are typically short term and can be treated with over-the-counter medications or by eliminating the source causing these things.  It is common for asthma or other similar type diseases to develop after long-term exposure to certain indoor air pollutants, such as cigarette smoke.

What are the 4 major indoor air pollutants?

There are several things that cause and create indoor air pollution, with the primary ones being the released gases or other particles and inadequate ventilation. It may seem odd that not having adequate amounts of outdoor air, where a lot of air pollution exists, can be harmful to indoor air quality, but that is the truth.  The outdoor air around your home is less pollutant than the air inside your home.

The following are the 4 main sources of indoor air pollutants:

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Central heating/cooling, humidification devices
  • Household cleaning products

Other sources for indoor air pollution include:

  • New flooring, upholstery
  • Building materials
  • Asbestos
  • Deteriorated insulation
  • Certain pressed wood products
  • Excess moisture

How do you test indoor air quality?

Some say that the air inside our homes has 5 times the pollution than outside. While this may seem impossible, you can perform indoor air quality testing with any of the following methods:

Indoor Air Quality

This is an electronic device that monitors your home’s indoor air quality consistently and provides reports on the pollution levels inside your house. It checks for chemical pollution, humidity, and particulate matter. There are models that also check for carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde levels, and temperature. You can purchase them anywhere from $50 and upward.

Carbon Monoxide

We know carbon monoxide as a silent killer because it is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless. If you’re exposed to it long enough and with large amounts, it is deadly It is a fuel byproduct that comes from gas appliances in the home, like your clothes dryer, cook stove, or gas furnace. If you have any of these appliances in your home, pick up a carbon monoxide alarm at your local big box home improvement store. They are typically around $10 and should be placed with ten feet of each bedroom.

Mold

Mold is one of the most common household pollutants affecting indoor air quality in your home. Every home has had mold at some point, even it was the forgotten last bagel or a piece of bread. Fortunately, if found early on, mold can be dealt with easily, like throwing away that last bagel. The mold that is less obvious is more difficult. If you suspect you have a mold issue, especially black mold, calling in a professional for mold testing is recommended.

Any big box home improvement or hardware store sells home mold test kits, and they are inexpensive. The standard mold test contains a petri dish and a substance that creates mold growth. You place this dish with the substance in your home and after a stated time, put a lid on the dish, and incubates. Every manufacturer will have their own guidelines and follow their instructions exactly to get the best reading. If the dish contents mold grows, then your home has mold. 

Radon Test

Another colorless, odorless, and tasteless killer undetectable without a detection device. Radon won’t asphyxiate you but has long-term danger like lung cancer. It enters through any cracks in your home through the floor, foundation, pipe openings, and walls from natural uranium deposits breaking down in the soil.

How much does an indoor air quality test cost? 

The types of indoor air quality tests and the size of your home will determine what type of indoor air quality test unit you need, but the typical cost a homeowner spends is less than $300. If you choose to go with a professional unit, you could spend as much as $500 and up.         

clean air filter

How can I improve indoor air quality?

Seven things you can do today that will improve your home’s indoor air quality:

  • Change or clean the HVAC filter
  • Change or clean other air filters in your home
  • Have the air ducts professionally cleaned
  • Clean the cooling vents
  • Have carpets, drapes, and rugs professionally cleaned
  • Purchase and home humidifier
  • Keep fresh plants in the house

For a healthy home, it is important to know how to indoor air quality improvements, as we have discussed in this piece. If you aren’t sure where the problems are within your home, or if you even have a problem, there are professionals that will evaluate and test your home. They will then provide you a report on their findings and make suggestions accordingly. For indoor air quality in Virginia Beach, VA, call 757-633-9949 today!