How to Monitor the Indoor Air Quality in Your Home

When you think about air quality, you may think about outdoor pollutants like emissions and greenhouse gases. However, your home can be far more polluted than the air outside. Many risk factors can contribute to unhealthy indoor air quality (IAQ).

Three Main Types of Pollutants

Before you begin testing your indoor air quality, it can be helpful to understand the three main types of pollutants that may be affecting your environment:

  • Biological
  • Chemical
  • Combustion

Examples of biological pollutants include things derived from other living sources such as dust mites, mold, and pollen. These pollutants are commonly found in the average household and may contribute to health issues like sort throat, nasal congestion, eye irritation, and asthma symptoms.

Chemical pollutants may not cause immediate symptoms, but long-term exposure can cause damage to the nervous system and internal organs. Common types of chemical pollutants include VOCs, formaldehyde, radon, and lead. Unfortunately, these pollutants are often found in popular household cleaners and building materials.

The last type of pollutant that may have a negative effect on your home environment is combustion pollutants. These pollutants can come from things like tobacco smoke and carbon monoxide. An odorless, colorless gas, carbon monoxide can be released by appliances that emit fossil fuels, including the fireplace, stove, generator, and car.

While you may not be able to control the pollution outside, you can do your part to provide better health and well-being for your family by improving your indoor air quality. Following are easy ways you can test air quality to make changes as necessary.

Invest in an Air Quality Monitor

If you’re experiencing health systems like respiratory issues or allergies or you suspect bad indoor air quality, an inexpensive way to pinpoint the issue is to invest in an IAQ monitor. This electronic, easy-to-use device is designed to consistently test and alert you about the levels of pollution found inside your home.

By regularly monitoring these levels, you can take steps to get fresh air back inside your house. IAQ monitors typically test the following measurements:

  • Insufficient humidity levels that could cause mold growth
  • VOC contaminants found in carpet, building materials, etc.
  • Dust and other allergens in the air
  • The Air Quality Index the EPA uses to evaluate health risks

Some types of indoor air quality monitors also detect carbon monoxide. If the type you purchase doesn’t, it may be a good idea to purchase a carbon monoxide detector.

Purchase an Air Purifier

Many modern types of air purifiers have built-in IAQ monitors that test for temperature, humidity, VOCs, carbon monoxide, and more. Besides monitoring your indoor air quality, this device may also help alleviate some of your concerns since it works to remove unhealthy particulate matter from the air.

Air purifiers use two primary methods to clean the air. One is by releasing negatively charged ions into the environment that cause pollutants to stick to surrounding surfaces. The other method is designed to screen and collect harmful substances from the air by the use of HEPA filters.

Conduct a Radon Test

Like carbon monoxide, radon is colorless, odorless, and entirely undetectable without the use of a detection device. While exposure to carbon monoxide can be deadly immediately, exposure to radon is more dangerous long-term. This contaminant can lead to lung cancer and can come inside your home through cracks in your foundation, pipes, floors, or walls.

You can purchase a short-term radon testing kit at most home improvement stores. They’re easy to use and relatively inexpensive. Since radon levels can fluctuate depending on the time of year and weather, you may want to invest in a long-term radon testing kit instead.

Schedule Professional IAQ Service

The quality of the air you breathe is vital to your health. If you suspect indoor air quality problems, the above steps may help you identify unhealthy IAQ levels. However, some indoor air quality issues may require professional help. For example, having your ducts cleaned aior installing a new air purifier can go a long way in improving your family’s health.

The quality of the air you breathe is vital to your health. For the ultimate peace of mind, consider leaving your indoor air quality concerns to the professionals. By thoroughly inspecting your home in Puyallup, the trained technicians at Puyallup Heating & Air Conditioning can identify your biggest sources of indoor air pollution and offer an action plan tailored to your unique needs. We also offer heating and cooling services. For more information, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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