In this guide to indoor air quality testing, we’ll look at the different contaminants that may be in the air you breathe and how to find them. These can include dust, pollen, mold, particulates, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) can affect your comfort and health, but knowing what’s polluting your home can help find solutions. Here’s a closer look at indoor air quality testing and the options available.
There are far too many pollutants to test for all at once. But various indicators can point to certain IAQ issues, so start by recognizing these signs of a potential issue:
Schedule professional IAQ testing if any of these issues are familiar to you.
Aside from what to test for (which we’ll discuss soon), there are different types of IAQ testing to consider. Some methods can check for several pollutants; others are intended to check for a specific contaminant. These are the most common methods used:
If there are pollution sources near your home contributing to IAQ concerns, source testing or stack emission testing can be performed at specific locations, such as industrial facilities. Mobile source testing measures pollution from vehicles and other modes of transportation. These methods can help find ways to reduce the risks and amount of pollution in your home.
An indoor air quality monitor is a simple and inexpensive way to determine if your home has any IAQ problems. Depending on the model, it can measure temperature and humidity or toxins in the air (via electrochemical sensors). Some units can estimate the level of particulate matter using a laser or volatile organic compounds from building materials such as carpeting. An IAQ monitor may determine the Air Quality Index (AQI), a measurement devised by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to determine the health risks of outdoor and indoor pollution.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is odorless and colorless but can cause sickness and death. It has many sources, including malfunctioning heating systems. Required near bedrooms and on every floor of your home, a CO detector should be placed wherever there’s a smoke detector (some units combine both functions) about 5 feet above the floor or near the ceiling.
Various types of mold tests are available. Swabs and tape strips allow you to collect samples from surfaces. Some swab tests yield results in minutes, although they won’t reveal the type of mold. Tape strips and petri dish tests must be analyzed in a lab. Nonetheless, contamination by other particles can skew the results. An air pump test is closed off and less likely to be contaminated.
For the most accurate mold testing, hire a professional if you think your home is infested.
Found naturally in soil and rocks, radon gas can seep through tiny cracks in your home’s foundation. High levels can have long-term health effects, including cancer. But radon testing takes time. Depending on the test, it can take 90 days to several months, and even then, a lab must interpret the results. You can also install a continuous radon monitor that will alert you if levels get too high.
Indoor air quality testing can identify pollutants such as pollen, mold, or dust. Tobacco smoke and fuel combustion sources can severely reduce IAQ. But there may be many pollution sources you don’t know about. For example, aerosol sprays, paints, pesticides, disinfectants, scented candles, dry cleaning, and manufactured furniture can contain harmful compounds and contribute to pollution inside your home.
At NexGen, our licensed professionals can test for VOCs, mold, carbon monoxide, and other contaminants. We are Google Certified for Home Services. Our team can identify and address IAQ issues in your home or business. For fast and accurate indoor air quality testing and proven solutions, call (805) 301-6788 today.