Because every breath counts, knowing a few things about ways to measure air quality in your home can help safeguard yourself, your family, and your guests. Exposure to contaminated indoor air quality can cause physical symptoms from simple annoyance or irritation to allergic reactions to potential chronic illness.
DIY air-quality test kits are marketed for home use. However, while this method may cost less upfront, it’s also considered to be less accurate than the testing technology utilized by qualified professionals. And getting this wrong could cost you more in the future. Here are some potential pollutants present in homes and ways to measure air quality:
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde are ingredients of many household products and building materials. Extended exposure to high concentrations of VOC fumes is a known cause of respiratory irritation and more serious issues. Testing is performed by air sampling and is designed to detect unsafe VOC levels emitted by sources including solvents, cleaners, carpeting, paint, and tobacco smoke.
- Active mold contamination inside a house releases high levels of microscopic airborne spores. In susceptible individuals, inhaling spores may trigger allergic reactions and chronic illness. Professional mold remediation includes air sampling to capture spores and identify the specific type of mold. Spore counts obtained by sampling also helps estimate the extent and location of mold contamination inside a house.
- Radon gas occurs naturally inside the Earth and may seep upward into homes through the basement or foundation. Indoor radon exposure has been linked to a risk of lung cancer. The professional standard for radon testing is long-term air sampling of at least 90 days duration utilizing an alpha track testing device. This method is often used to verify a high radon reading previously obtained with a consumer-grade, short-term test kit.
- Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of combustion in gas-fired appliances, including the furnace and stove. Other potential home sources include an internal combustion engine running in an attached garage. Exposure to carbon monoxide gas is rapidly fatal in sufficient concentration. Every house should have functional carbon monoxide detectors on each level of the home.
For the professional perspective on ways to measure air quality, contact Jackson & Sons.