How to Conduct an Indoor Air Quality Test at Home
Why is Indoor Air Quality important?
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is the air quality in and around buildings and structures. As we all know, IAQ affects the health, comfort, and well-being of the residents. Most of us remain indoors (home, office or school) for 90% of our daily life, breathing in air that is impure and polluted. It can be worse than outdoor pollution as closed areas allow potential pollutants to build up more as compared to open spaces. The perpetual cold or itchy nose could also be because of the presence of harmful pollutants present in our home. The amount of air pollution in a home may vary from place to place. Polluted indoor spaces can irritate of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Some pollutants can also be the cause of asthma and may aggravate the condition of a person who is already suffering from asthma. Extended exposure could also result in respiratory diseases, heart disease and cancer. Poor air quality in our space can also lead to issues with productivity, workplace satisfaction and attendance, and in turn hampering the organization’s operations. All these reasons emphasize the importance of having a pollution-free environment in our homes. Conducting an indoor air quality test can help us evaluate IAQ and take appropriate steps to improve it. Read on to know how to test indoor air quality.
How to test Air Quality at Home (Steps to Follow)
Ambient air pollution is something that we can’t always control but we can improve the IAQ for our better health. Knowing how to test indoor air quality is something that can come in handy to ensure that we breathe clean and pure air in our homes. Take the following steps to create a healthier living space for you and your family.
1. Purchase an indoor air quality monitor
As the name suggests, an indoor air quality monitor is a device that measures the air quality of our home. It is a device that always stays on and continuously tests and reports the levels of pollution indoors. Monitoring indoor air pollution is the first step towards an indoor air quality test and a healthier lifestyle. A good air quality monitor must provide the following air quality monitor measurements
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)
- Levels of particulate matter
- Air Quality Index (AQI)
Many models have display panels that display values and readings on the device in real-time. Others display the overall IAQ through the indicator light and share specific readings on the phone through a dedicated app. Most of the models in the market are also smart home enabled. Indoor air quality monitors are easy to use and are available in a wide range of price points.
2. Check for mould
Mould is a fungal species that causes natural materials to breakdown through biodegradation. It becomes dangerous in large quantities, causing a lot of health issues including breathing difficulties like asthma and allergic reactions. Continuous exposure to mould and mildew has also been reported to cause depression and disorders in the nervous system.
The simplest way to test for moulds is by using our eyes and nose. If we can either smell a musty odour coming from certain places in our home or see visible signs like spots of water, or growing black spots, then it means that there is a presence of mould. In the absence of visible signs, one can either go for professional help for conducting a mould test or get a home mould test. If toxic mould is found, it is important to take immediate steps to eliminate the problem.
3. Install carbon monoxide detectors
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odourless, colourless and tasteless gas which is extremely lethal. It is a by-product of many appliances found in our home like stoves, furnaces, grills, fireplaces etc. Therefore, the next step in how to check air quality should be to install a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of the home. Most indoor air quality monitors come with an in-built CO detector but it is advisable to install a separate CO detector. The reason behind this is that the indoor air quality monitors are costlier and do not have an effective alarm to warn you about instant increases in CO levels. The detectors should be placed close to the bedrooms so that we can to hear the alarm while sleeping as well.
These detectors are available in battery-operated as well as plug-in models. In case, you decide on purchasing a battery-operated one, be sure to change the batteries regularly.
4. Perform a radon test
Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally as uranium breaks down. It is an odourless, colourless and tasteless gas but not lethal like carbon monoxide. It can be found in the soil and well water, and can sometimes infiltrate people’s homes. The gas can enter our home through cracks in our floors, foundation, walls, or areas around pipes. Because of the way radon is formed, it usually enters at the lowest levels of our home and concentrates there.
The nature of radon makes including a radon test an important part of performing an indoor air quality test. Short-term radon test kits can be purchased in any home improvement store or online and can tell how much radon is in our home. If there are high levels of radon present then it advisable to hire a professional to test for radon and resolve the issue.
5. Get an air purifier
Now that we know how to test air quality in home, we must take the next sensible step, i.e., to buy an air purifier. Air purifiers can be very useful in improving the air quality in our home, especially for those who suffer from allergy problems. Investing in an air sanitizer like FOREST would guarantee purified indoor air by removing harmful pollutants like CO2, CO, VOOC, NO2 and reducing PM 2.5 and PM 10 particles. FOREST sanitizes the air with its unique 5 stage purification method – Carbon Filter, HEPA Filter, Plant Leaves, Microbes in the roots of the plants, and Aerated growing media with activated charcoal.
The first step towards a healthy lifestyle is having a clean and fresh air inside our homes. There are a lot of harmful effects of indoor air pollution. But these steps would help you in identifying what is causing the indoor air quality to deteriorate. If you have an air purifier at your home, ensure that you change the filters regularly. Doing this would help with the particulate matter and moulds.
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