You can’t see it normally, but air pollutants are all around you. From dangerous mold to cleaning product fumes, do you know what you’re inhaling inside your home?
Because they’re usually invisible, you might not have considered testing for airborne pollutants. However, if you have asthma or allergies, or you experience frequent headaches or nasal irritation when in your home, it’s time to discover the source of your discomfort and find a solution. Here are a few compelling reasons to conduct a home air quality test as soon as possible. Once the test has determined the quality of your home’s air, a good place to start improving it is by cleaning your ducts and vents.
Reasons to test your home’s air quality
Home air quality impacts your comfort as much as it does your health, and certain airborne pollutants can have adverse effects long-term on your health. Here are the seven most common pollutants that homeowners should know about before conducting a home air quality test:
- Carbon monoxide (CO)
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- Dust and dander
Probably the most important reason to test the air quality in your home is to guard against potential dangers. Odorless gases can harm your home and your family as well. At the top of the danger list is carbon monoxide, a very dangerous odorless gas that accumulates when fuel does not burn completely. Initial symptoms include excessive fatigue, headache or dizziness, and prolonged exposure can be fatal. An air quality test will identify if there are elevated levels of carbon monoxide present in your home. It’s also a good idea to install CO detectors, to monitor levels at all times, and to alert you if dangerous conditions exist.
Volatile organic compounds
After a remodel or a simple paint project, a test for VOCs is necessary. These hazardous emissions originate from paint products, building materials, and aerosol cans. They’re found mostly indoors and are a primary contributor to household air pollution. If you’re experiencing constant eye, nose or throat irritation indoors, testing the VOC level in your home’s air is key to finding a solution.
A dangerous gas you can’t see, taste or smell may be lurking in your home, and it’s the primary cause of lung cancer in the United States, according to the EPA. Radon can be found both indoors and outdoors, but people are most often at risk in their homes. It is produced by the natural decomposition of uranium in soil, which then moves up into the atmosphere from the ground. Buildings trap the gas inside, which is why it’s especially a danger for homeowners.
If you’re looking to purchase a home, you should always test for radon with the help of a professional. If radon is found at above-average levels, they can help you with a solution to make it safe.
Allergies and asthma
An air quality test will reveal what you can do to relieve the symptoms of allergies and asthma. According to the EPA, indoor air allergens and irritants play a significant role in the severity of an asthma attack. An air quality test can identify if there’s dust, pollen or pet dander in the air.
Dust, mold, and dander are common triggers for those with allergies. Even if you’re not a pet owner, it’s still wise to test and see what might already have been in your home when your family moved in. If the test reveals higher-than-normal amounts of these allergens, a professional carpet cleaning can reduce them. In severe cases, replacing the carpet entirely is often the best option.
Other harmful materials
Excessive exposure to airborne mold and formaldehyde can cause serious health problems such as respiratory diseases or even cancer. If you’re buying a home, it’s always a good idea to test for these hazardous materials so you can take action to remove them before prolonged exposure.
Testing your home’s air quality
When it comes to testing your home’s air quality, there are many things you can check for. Some homeowners opt for do-it-yourself testing kits, but it’s best to have a professional do the testing. They’ll be able to conduct a thorough air-quality inspection, identifying all potential problems. The average cost for a professional test is $400, with most homeowners spending between $325 and $450.
If you still prefer to conduct a DIY home air quality test, it’s a good idea to test for a specific pollutant at a time. Mold, pollen, and dust are the most commonly tested among those who choose to do it themselves. Keep in mind that these DIY tests can run as high as $250 for a thorough and accurate result. You can find air testing kits at your local home improvement store or online.
Improving your home’s air quality
Once you’ve revealed any pollutants in your home, it’s time to remove them. Here how you can improve your home air quality.
- Have your ductwork cleaned regularly
- Invest in an air purifier
- Have your HVAC system inspected regularly
- Open windows whenever possible
- Clean your floors and carpeting often
However, if an air-quality test reveals that pollutants are coming from a specific source, such as mold, have it professionally removed as soon as possible. This will have an immediate and positive impact on your indoor air quality, resulting in better health for your family.
Everyone deserves a healthy home. Your indoor air quality is important, and even though you can’t see it, you can feel its presence. An indoor air quality test will show you if improvements need to be made and the specific ways you should make them.