How Do You Test Air Quality In Your Home?
Licensed and insured team with over 25+ Years of experience
It’s easy for homeowners to overlook their indoor air quality because when they think of air pollution, which often comes to their mind is the air outside. For a moment, let’s forget about the industrial and corporate facilities emitting toxic and greenhouse gases.
Let’s think of the air quality in your home. Did you know it could be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air? According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the concentration of indoor pollutants can be as high as five times. And the sources of contaminants are overwhelming.
The good news is that — you can keep track of the level of your IAQ and reduce health risks. Here at Texas Air Repair, we’ve done thorough research and assembled reliable information on how you can effectively test the air quality in your home.
Call Texas Air Repair For A FREE Estimate
Get 0% Interest for 60 Months + FREE Wi-fi Thermostat
4 Ways to Test Indoor Air Quality
Installing IAQ monitoring devices is a great way to measure the level of pollution in your spaces consistently. These user-friendly electronic devices come in different sizes, shapes, and have varying types of air pollution sensors.
While the features will vary, the monitors should typically check the levels of particulate matter (minuscule particles and allergens), volatile organic compounds, and humidity in real-time. Some devices are designed with advanced features, allowing you to monitor even temperature, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide levels.
We think it’s good to elaborate a little more on the volatile compounds and particulate matter elements. Well, VOCs can be produced from burning fuel sources like gasoline, natural gas, wood, and coal. They can also be released from products, such as cigarettes, pesticides, building materials, and glues. Monitors can detect well-known VOCs like formaldehyde, which has adverse effects on your health.
Particulate matter is suspended in the air. It includes dust, pollen, and other particles that enter our lungs through the air we inhale. There are different PMs, and good IAQ monitors typically check PM2.5 levels. By this, we mean it can measure particles that have a smaller diameter than 2.5 micrometers.
Examples of Reliable IAQ Monitors
The market has plenty of good as well as bad IAQ monitors. For a device that can effectively detect air quality inside your home, you can’t go wrong with monitors like Foobot, Awair, Netatmo, Speck, and Air Mentor 6 in 1. Just compare the features and see what works out best for you.
What’s the cost of an IAQ monitor?
The cost varies, depending on the features and brand. Expect it to cost as a little as $50 and as high as $300. For the devices we mentioned above, the prices typically range from $100 to $250.
Prolonged exposure to a high concentration of carbon monoxide (CO) can quickly kill you. You can play it safe by installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home. You’ll get an alarm when there’s a spike in CO.
This odorless, colorless, tasteless gas is produced as a byproduct of fuel combustion. Using household items like gas dryers, oil-burning furnaces, charcoal grills, and hot water heaters makes you more vulnerable to this poisonous gas.
While your IAQ monitors can notify you if there are high levels of CO, you will still want to have the specially designed CO alarms put in place.
First off, it can be expensive to place the monitors in all spaces within your home. Secondly, the monitors don’t have reliable alarms. Carbon monoxide alarms are powerful enough to wake you up in the middle of the night.
If you opt for battery-powered alarms, ensure the batteries are changed regularly, preferable at least every six months.
Where do I place carbon monoxide alarms?
Many people tend to place their alarms near or on the ceiling because they’ve heard that air is denser than CO, meaning the poisonous gas usually rises. The truth is — the level doesn’t matter.
You’re protected whether you place it at ground level or up the ceiling. However, make sure that the detectors are situated close to your bedroom, preferably within 10 to 15 feet. That way, you’re more likely to hear the alarm when asleep.
Radon is a dangerous radioactive gas, which is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, just like carbon monoxide. It is formed when the natural uranium in the soil and groundwater breaks down. The gas can enter buildings through the floors and walls in the sections close to the ground.
Exposure to radon increases your risk of lung cancer. This gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer cases after smoking. Approximately 21,000 people die per year from radon-related lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
You can buy short-term or long-term radon tests to keep your family safe. You should place them in risk areas and then collect it after a certain period, which can be seven days, 90 days, or even one year — depending on the manufacturer’s guidelines. The testing materials are sent to the lab for analysis. A professional inspection will be required ASAP if the analysis reports high levels of radon in your home.
The radon tests are readily available at most home improvement and online stores. For discounted kits, you can buy from the National Radon Program Services at Kansas State University.
What’s the cost of a radon home test kit?
The price for home test kits ranges from $10 to $30. Please note there are some models out there that continuously check the presence of radon, but they are quite expensive. They can cost over $100.
Mold is one of the leading agents of indoor air pollution. The IAQ monitors we have on the market today, however, don’t detect mold.
Like many homeowners, you may choose the home mold tests that typically involve a petri dish and some substance to create mold growth inside. Unfortunately, these tests are not reliable. The air circulating in your home could be full of mold spores despite conducting those tests regularly.
Hiring a pro is the most accurate method of testing. Professional air quality testing companies usually take into account the concentration level of the mold spores floating within a building and then compare it with the concentration of the floating mold spores outside.
If mold isn’t obviously visible, you can tell your indoor air quality has been compromised when you’re getting a musty smell, and thorough cleaning doesn’t help resolve the problem. The best course of action is to schedule a mold test as soon as possible.
What are the symptoms of poor air quality?
The common signs and symptoms linked to poor IAQ include:
· Coughing and sneezing
· Sinus congestion
· Shortness of breath
· Chest tightness
· Headache and nausea
· Skin and eye irritation
· Scratchy throat and runny nose
These symptoms usually get worse when you are indoors.