How do you test the air quality in your home?
Are you concerned about the air quality in your home? If the air home seems stuffy, smells linger and your family continually experiences nasal, throat and eye irritations, there may be a problem. One of the primary reasons why this happens is that modern homes are better insulated and have less natural ventilation, which allows the levels of particulates and other pollution to gradually increase to the point where they cause problems.
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The only way to find out if this is the reason is to have the air quality in your home tested. While simple devices can test for one or other condition, the range of potential air quality problems is such that you may need expert help.
Effects of Poor Air Quality
According to the EPA, many people experience short-term discomfort from poor indoor air quality, and this includes sore throats, nasal irritation and itchy eyes. Headaches, fatigue and dizziness are also common symptoms. If these symptoms reduce when you go out, it’s a sign that indoor air quality is not right.
Long-term exposure to poor air may also lead to respiratory diseases and the potential for heart problems and cancer. Poor air quality affects people in different ways, so it’s often difficult to pinpoint the exact cause. However, the EPA suggests that improving air quality indoors is the best way to go.
The EPA uses an air quality index that measures the degree of air pollution. This index focuses on the concentration of tiny air particles that are much smaller than the thickness of human hair. High concentrations of these particles are believed to be related to nasal and respiratory problems and, as they are so small, they can be ingested into the lungs. These particles are invisible and can only be seen under a microscope.
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Indoor Pollutants & Air Quality
Indoor air pollutants can be grouped into four categories, each of which requires a different method for evaluating their concentration. These are:
- Radon: This is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally from the decay of uranium deposits and radium. It’s found in various concentrations across the country and can seep into buildings through poorly sealed basements, utility conduits and cracks. While low levels of radon are acceptable, higher concentrations may cause lung cancer.
- Carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Although most homes have carbon monoxide detectors, these are set to go off at relatively high levels. Long-term exposure to lower levels of carbon monoxide is not healthy. Carbon monoxide is generated from poorly adjusted furnaces, fires and heaters. High levels of carbon dioxide, while not as toxic as carbon monoxide, cause headaches and drowsiness.
- VOCs: Many chemicals such as household cleaners, degreasers, paints and fuel contain volatile organic compounds. These products cause irritations, and in higher concentrations, lead to liver and kidney damage.
- Mold: Mold spores are tiny and readily transported by air currents. Some forms are toxic, while others cause irritation. Mold grows in warm, damp conditions especially where there is condensation or water leaks.
Air Quality Testing
If your home isn’t adequately ventilated, the concentration of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, VOCs, radon gas and mold spores gradually increases. Unfortunately, these silent killers can’t be detected except by sampling the air in your home. Simple tests that are readily available are non-specific and, while they may indicate you have a problem, most don’t show what it is or how to fix it.
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The best way to check the air quality in your home is to have it professionally tested. This way you can determine exactly what is wrong and what’s needed to improve your indoor air quality.
For over 20 years, we have been helping people who are working on improving indoor air quality with Indoor Environmental Surveys and Ventilation Systems Cleaning by providing high quality workmanship with unparalleled customer service to both residential and commercial customers. Our staff of professionals are dedicated to serving your specific needs from the moment you contact us until the completion of your remediation project. Visit our website or contact us today for more information or to schedule your mold remediation consultation.