Testing indoor air quality is not something most people think about, but it is an important step in ensuring the health and safety of those who occupy your home or office building. Poor indoor air quality can lead to a variety of concerning health issues. These issues may include asthma, allergies, and other respiratory problems.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nine out of ten people worldwide inhale pollutants and contaminants in both indoor and outdoor environments. Additionally, about 93% of children live in polluted environments that exceed the air safety guidelines provided by the WHO. Children are especially at risk regarding health issues caused by poor indoor air quality due to their weaker immune systems. According to the EPA, 20% of the U.S. population spends their days inside schools, which is concerning when considering most school buildings' indoor air quality.
To ensure your family's or coworkers' health, you should always test the indoor air quality of your home or office. Several methods exist for testing indoor air quality, including using air quality monitors, assessing health symptoms, and installing carbon monoxide alarms and radon level monitors. In this blog post, the Airzey team will provide an overview of the various methods for testing indoor air quality and discuss each approach's benefits.
Factors Which Impact Your Home Air Quality
Several factors can negatively impact your home's indoor air quality. You might not know it, but your home or office could have dangerous air chemicals and other impurities lingering in the air. Let's look at some of these specific factors now.
Radon is a radioactive gas that is naturally present in the environment. It can be found in water, rocks, and soil. It can seep into buildings through cracks or openings in the foundation and can also be found in well water. When radon is present in the air inside your home, it can pose a serious health risk.
Radon can cause lung cancer, allergies, respiratory problems, and other illnesses that may occur due to long-term exposure. Testing for radon is important to maintaining healthy indoor air quality in your home. It is especially important to test for radon in homes with basements or crawl spaces.
Secondhand smoke (ETS) is a major contributor to poor indoor air quality. According to the CPSC and the EPA, secondhand smoke is a mixture of over 4,000 compounds, and more than 40 of them are known carcinogens. It is the smoke that is exhaled or released into the air by a smoker, and it contains many toxic chemicals — many of which can cause cancer. When people are exposed to secondhand smoke, especially indoors, they can inhale these harmful chemicals, which can have serious health consequences.
Secondhand smoke can cause various health problems, including respiratory issues, heart disease, and cancer. It is especially dangerous for children, who are more vulnerable to secondhand smoke. To protect the indoor air quality of your home or office, you should set some ground rules with the people you live and work with. This might include prohibiting smoking altogether or creating a designated smoking area outside of your home or office building.
Combustion pollutants are substances that are released into the air when fuels are burned. These pollutants can come from various sources, including fireplaces, gas stoves, furnaces, and space heaters. Often, these fuels are released because certain fuel-burning appliances are incorrectly vented or not vented at all.
Combustion pollutants can cause respiratory issues and other health problems. They can release dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide, which is a colorless, odorless gas that can be toxic if inhaled in large amounts. Carbon monoxide can build up in enclosed spaces and can cause headaches, dizziness, and even death. To protect indoor air quality in your home from combustion pollutants, make sure to properly maintain and vent any appliances that burn fuel.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Volatile organic compounds (VOC) are gases that are emitted from certain solids or liquids. They can have a variety of sources, including paint, cleaning products, and personal care products. VOCs can affect indoor air quality by releasing gases into the air that your family members can inhale. These gases can cause health problems like headaches, dizziness, and eye, nose, and throat irritation. Some VOCs are carcinogenic, which means they can cause cancer.
To protect the indoor air quality in your home and reduce risks associated with VOCs, you should choose cleaning products with low VOC levels. It is also a good idea to properly ventilate your home to allow fresh air to circulate. Make sure you are changing your air filters regularly to ensure the circulation of healthy indoor air.
Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition affecting millions worldwide. It is characterized by inflammation and narrowing of the airways, which can cause symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. Asthma triggers found inside the home, like dust mites, mold, and secondhand smoke, can cause asthma symptoms to flare up. To improve indoor air quality and reduce the risk of asthma triggers, you should try to keep your home clean and free of dust and mold.
When mold spores are present in the air inside your home, they can affect indoor air quality and pose a serious health risk to you and your loved ones. Mold can cause various symptoms, including allergic reactions, respiratory problems, and other illnesses. To prevent mold from growing in your home, try to keep your home clean and free of moisture.
What Are The Symptoms Of Poor Air Quality?
There are many signs and symptoms that can potentially indicate poor air quality in your home. Let's go over some of the most common symptoms now.
Poor ventilation in your home can lead to poor indoor air quality because it can cause a build-up of pollutants and contaminants in the air. Without sufficient ventilation, pollutants like carbon dioxide, VOCs, mold, and mildew can become concentrated and potentially harmful to inhale. Check for any condensation on your walls or window or mold growth in your bathroom or basement to determine whether or not poor ventilation could be an issue causing poor air quality in your home.
Respiratory issues and other health problems could simply be a matter of your home's atmosphere. Oftentimes, health issues may appear in your home right after you and your family have relocated. However, these problems tend to go away independently with proper ventilation and home maintenance.
If you start to notice any unusual odors in your home, the air inside your house or apartment may be contaminated with mold or other pollutants. Mold inside your home tends to have a musty, earthy, or rotten smell, depending on the mold type and the mold growth location.
What Are The Steps To Test Indoor Air Quality?
You can take several steps to ensure your family's safety in your home. Measuring indoor pollution levels and taking the appropriate actions to improve them are the first things you should do when combatting poor indoor air quality. Let's get into it, shall we?
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Get An Indoor Air Quality Monitoring Device
If you or a loved one has been experiencing allergies or respiratory problems in your home, you should consider purchasing an indoor/outdoor air quality monitor to keep track of pollution levels in your living space.
Assessing Health Symptoms
Tracking and assessing health symptoms like coughing, sneezing, and difficulty breathing will help you determine whether your home's indoor air quality is healthy.
Install Carbon Monoxide Alarms & Monitor Radon Level
Monitoring carbon monoxide and radon levels in your home are important. Both of these substances can lead to serious illness or death, so if you discover these substances in your home, you should reach out to a professional immediately.
Purchase An Air Purifier
Air purifiers can provide significant relief to people who suffer from asthma and allergy symptoms. Purchasing an air purifier could help eliminate airborne particles within your home.
How Can Indoor Air Quality Be Increased?
To increase the indoor air quality in your home, you should consider taking the following actions:
Controlling The Sources Of Pollution
It can be difficult to control the sources of pollution in your home. However, by identifying and removing particular sources of pollution and contamination, you can greatly increase the indoor air quality in your home.
Changing Filters Regularly
It's important to change your air filters regularly. Air filters are used in air conditioners and central heating systems to collect dust, debris, and other airborne contaminants. You should change your air filters at least once every three months.
High humidity increases the risk of mold and bacteria growing in your home. Purchase a dehumidifier, and remove any cracks in your home's foundation where moisture could seep through.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are home mold tests?
Home mold tests are kits or products that are designed to detect the presence of mold in your home. You can get effective mold tests for relatively cheap. That said, a professional inspection is always a good idea if you are worried about mold growth in your home.
What is an Indoor Air Quality Monitor?
An indoor air quality monitor is a tool that measures and analyzes the air quality inside your home. IAQ monitors can measure various factors, including temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide levels, VOCs, and particle concentrations.
What are the most common IAQ issues?
The most common IAQ issues are poor ventilation, pollutants and contaminants, high moisture levels, allergens, and exposure to carbon monoxide or radon in your home.
What is Mold?
Mold is a fungus that grows by releasing spores, which can travel through the air and cause respiratory issues in those who inhale it.
What Are The Dangers Of Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (CO) can cause those who are exposed to it to suffocate. Being exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide could potentially cause death.
What about CO alarms?
CO alarms typically cost about $8 at any department store.
Improve Your Indoor Air Quality With Airzey!
You can take several steps to improve the indoor air quality in your home, including increasing ventilation, removing sources of pollution, using air purifiers, and cleaning or replacing your air filters regularly. Interested in learning more? Check out Airzey's selection of quality air filters.