An indoor air quality monitor is the best option but there are several other useful methods to test the quality of the air in your home such as mold testing, carbon monoxide testing, and radon testing.
Did you know that the air inside your home can be up to five times more polluted than the air outside your home? A statistic not discussed often enough. So much focus is put on outdoor air pollution, but we will shine some light on Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) issues that you may not be aware of.
The amount of air pollution will vary in each home in the United States. Risk factors that affect IAQ (indoor air quality) and which ones are relevant can vary by state, county, or even by town. Indoor air pollution affects your home and health. To gain piece of mind though, you can always test your indoor air. We did the research, and here are some ways to test your indoor air quality.
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Purchase an indoor air quality monitor.
An indoor air quality monitor is a device that monitors the quality of air inside, your indoor air. If you had no idea that these products existed for consumers you’re probably in the majority, not very many people consider checking their IAQ.
What is an Indoor Air Quality Monitor? An electronic device that constantly and consistently tests and reports on the levels of pollution inside.
What does it test? Each device is different, but almost all test for particulate matter, chemical pollutants, and humidity. Some monitors will track temperature, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and formaldehyde levels. If you’re unfamiliar — particulate matter includes things like pollen and dust and is essential to track because many IAQ issues are linked to it.
How much do they cost? While some indoor air quality models retail for around $50, the average starting price is closer to $100. The top-end price is well above $300. Indoor air quality monitors are not cheap devices, but you may consider it a worthwhile one-time investment in-home wellness.
How does it work? Some models have a display that shows you the values of readings in real-time, right on the device itself. Others opt to show overall IAQ with an indicator light. Most IAQ monitors are smart home enabled and can pair with devices like thermostats to help manage your indoor air.
Here are just a couple examples of good IAQ monitors:
Test for mold in the air.
You’ve likely seen mold on bread that you or a family member forgot to throw away, but you may or may not have seen other types of mold in your home. Mold is a common household pollutant that your indoor air quality monitor won’t report on. Airborne mold spores are a threat to health and pollute indoor air. Sense your IAQ monitor won’t report on this, you’ll need to perform a mold test.
What type of mold test should I use?
While most home mold tests are easy to use, available at most hardware stores, and affordable — they are almost entirely useless. So, we don’t recommend one of those tests. There are a few critical questions to answer when it comes to mold in your home and if the particles found there pose a hazard. The first is whether or not they're excessive - that's always been an issue for most people. What you should be really concerned about is how well those spores will grow inside your HVAC unit. Many homes with severe air quality issues are actually allergy-free on the surface because their ventilation systems trap all airborne contaminants! Mold is not just present indoors, but outside too! The EPA doesn't give us an official guideline on how much mold constitutes as "too much," so we resort to comparing our concentration of spores found inside with the ones that hang out outdoors. This can be tricky for anyone without extensive experience or training though! If you think mold is an issue, it is best to call a professional to perform a test. A professional mold inspection will answer the important questions for you. For an average-sized house, an inspection of your home will usually cost between $300 and $400. And if remembering to change your air filter time after time sounds like too much work, try out FilterTime’s air subscription today. We'll keep track of how often and when you need to change your filters so new ones arrive on time.
Install carbon monoxide alarms.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is known as the silent killer. CO is tasteless, odorless, colorless, and it will kill you if you’re exposed to large amounts of it for too long. Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of fuel combustion, so appliances like gas dryers, gas burning stoves, and gas furnaces are risk creators. If you own any of these dangerous appliances in your home or office space then consider grabbing some carbon monoxide alarms from the store to protect yourself against CO poisoning. A few alarms is a small price to pay for complete assurance of safety from the silent killer. Protecting yourself from deadly carbon monoxide leaks can be as simple as opening the box and plugging it in. The low-cost eight-dollar alarms detect CO levels with a sensor that triggers an alarm when the levels are unsafe. It is suggested to install one on every floor of your home to keep everyone safe! Always remember to place one within 10-15 feet of a bedroom or sleeping area.
Conduct a radon test.
Radon is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. It’s undetectable without a device made for it but unlike oxygen poisoning, radon doesn't strangle your lungs slowly to death: instead, it can take years before symptoms of lung cancer show up in people who have been exposed too long.
Radon gas is a chemical element that can be found in the soil and enters homes through cracks. The radon then accumulates in your home's lower levels due to it being made up of uranium, which usually just occurs on the ground.
If you're concerned about the radon in your home, order a test kit to see if it will be an issue. You can purchase the test at any home improvement store or online - just ask for "short-term" tests that measure how much radon is present in your house. There are National Radon Program Services that offer discounts on these products too.
When performing the test, close all doors and windows around the test area. Avoid using the area until the testing is complete. This will help eliminate any external factors that can affect radon counts. After the period of time has passed for your short-term radon test to be completed, you must mail it for the results to be analyzed.
There are also long-term radon tests. Radon levels in a home can fluctuate depending on the weather and time of year so it is important to know what an average for radon output looks like. A long-term test will help you determine this information by monitoring your house over several months or even up to one year.
If you find high levels of radon in your home, it is recommended to have a professional inspection scheduled as this will help identify trouble areas that need to be sealed up.
Radon gas can be just as deadly as carbon monoxide. But with a few easy safety steps, you'll have nothing to worry about it in your home or office.
When you think about the threats to indoor air quality, it can seem like a daunting task. There are many things that could be causing your home's IAQ problems and there is no way of knowing which one until you test for them all (and then fix them). But don't worry! You have plenty of options when it comes to testing for every possible threat in your environment!
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