Air Quality Testing

Test home air quality

The importance of air quality can be best described by a worst-case scenario: toxic air kills. Air quality testing may be performed by trained technicians for commercial or industrial regulatory requirements, or for home testing, with available indoor air quality testing equipment. Air quality testing should be performed by trained technicians. In commercial or industrial settings, they'll be checking to ensure air meets governmental regulatory requirements for safety. In residential settings, they'll use indoor air quality testing equipment to ensure air is free of toxins and contaminants.

Air Quality Issues in the Home

Toxic air can be found in the home. Consider the number of "hot spots" around the house that can negatively affect air quality: refrigerators, freezers, air conditioning units, heating furnaces…the list goes on. These appliances emit low levels of gases into the air. When the appliance's efficiency decreases as a result of wear, these gas levels can elevate and cause nausea, rashes, allergies and lung congestion. It's wise to check the operations and maintenance manuals of these appliances to find their codified efficiency levels and manufacturing specifications.

Mold, particularly black mold, can be dangerous. It collects in areas where moisture accumulates, such as around piping or baseboards and near walls that support exterior surfaces. This is particularly true if indoor humidity levels tend to be high. Consider performing mold testing at the same time as your home air quality test.

Air Quality Test Kits

How to test for air quality in the home, and knowing what to test for, depends on the particular heating, cooling, ventilation units and appliances in use in the home. Generally, testing for formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide as well as mold, mildew and radon is standard. Most tests also factor in pH levels, ozone, relative humidity and ambient temperatures in each room.

Air quality test kits provide a specialized detection meter that registers the volume of typical pollutants present in the indoor air in a home. Petri dishes are also used to test indoor air for mold. Air purifiers and other detection and filtering devices provide regular monitoring of air quality levels.

Improving Air Quality

Improving and maintaining air quality should be considered a regular part of home maintenance. Good air indoor quality results from vigilance, regular home testing and maintaining a log of testing results. Comparing data from test results clearly indicates any changes. Improving air quality should also include reducing the number of inefficient appliances, eliminating cleaning products with high levels of ammonia or chlorine, getting rid of heating devices that use kerosene or build up coal dust particles in the air and periodically replacing worn insulation that may contain asbestos or radon. Each home differs in terms of indoor air quality, and the key to enjoying quality air is identifying and eliminating the things that taint its purity. 

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