How to Conduct an Air Quality Test on Your Home
People today are very aware of what they put in their bodies. Anyone eating a bag of chips knows that its ingredients aren’t very good for them. But what about the air we breathe? Can we choose how healthy our air is like we choose our meals? Fortunately, yes. And you can monitor it with at home air quality checks.
Signs Your Air Quality Might Be Bad
Unclean air can be sneaky since it’s not something we can always see smell, but there are some things your body can help you look out for.
First and foremost, your allergies. Allergies usually start acting up around spring time when the trees and flowers are releasing their pollen, but if you notice allergies or asthma flaring when you walk into your home that’s an almost sure sign that your home’s air quality is the issue.
Second, pay attention to new or unusual symptoms. Some contaminants like mold, asbestos, and various chemicals can impact your health greatly. If you notice frequent headaches, rash, fever, nausea, chills, vomiting, bloody noses, shortness of breath, or muscle pain, then you may be dealing with a serious issue. Also note that if you suffer from frequent brochities or pneumonia, it could be due to airborne particles in your home. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should discuss your symptoms with a doctor and get your air inspected.
Ideally, you would catch the issue before you start experiencing uncomfortable symptoms. You can be precautious by changing your air filters regularly and running air quality test.
How to Test Your Air Quality Yourself
Not only can you save money by testing for air contaminants yourself but learning the skills to identify air pollutants can offer comfort, especially if you have young children or elderly people living in your home.
Get an Air Quality Monitor
Air quality monitors offer easy access to a reading on dust, allergens, chemical pollutants, and humidity in your home. This can help you prevent serious issues from arising by catching them early on your monitor. Its upkeep takes minimal effort, but it doesn’t test for all potential contaminants.
Look for Mold
You can set time aside to survey your house for mold or ideal mold-growing environments, or you can learn what this looks like and always keep your eyes and nose open as you go through your daily routine. Look out for growing black or green spots, water spots on your walls or ceilings, or damp carpet.
Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector
Carbon monoxide is a very dangerous toxin, so these detectors are highly recommended for every home. One should be installed on every floor. They are relatively inexpensive especially considering the safety and peace of mind they provide.
Buy an at Home Air Quality Test
At home radon tests can be found at almost any home improvement store or purchased online. It will most likely involve a charcoal reading that you will leave in your home for a given amount of time, then mail to a lab for professional analysis.
If your home’s water comes from a well, this test is especially important and should be run twice a year. If you find that there are elevated levels of radon in your home, it can be reduced primarily with a vent pipe and fan system ideally installed by a professional who has previously dealt with radon problems.
Assistance from a Professional
A lot of air quality checks can be done at home and are quite reliable, but if you ever have an unease or you receive concerning results from your self-tests then don’t hesitate to call the professionals. Like previously mentioned, dangerous health issues and even death can stem from air pollutants in your home all worries should be treated seriously. One of the most qualified professionals for this job is your HVAC contractor. Their analyses are more in-depth and the results identify specific contaminants in your air including mold, lead, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), carbon monoxide, asbestos, formaldehyde, mites, and chemicals linked to household cleaners.
How to Keep Your Air Clean
The best way to keep clean air in your home is preventative measures. Most of them are simple and take little if no time at all. But these simple change in behaviors will improve your quality of living and decrease your risk of breathing in toxins daily.
- Stop smoking inside: If anyone in the household smokes, just step outside instead of smoking in the house. This will avoid particles from getting absorbed into the carpet, furniture, or walls.
- No car idling: Don’t idle your car in the garage. This will save you gas, the earth, and also your health. Even if the garage door is open, you are filling your garage with a concentrated amount of toxins which can get trapped once you leave and close the door.
- DIY air quality checks: Check your home yearly or biyearly for airborne contaminants. The frequency at which you’ll have to do this depends on the pollutant you’re testing for and also the age and condition of your home. For example, radon should be tested twice a year and if you live in a humid place like Florida you will have to worry about mold more than a dry place like Nevada.
- Purchase an air purifier: Mechanical air purifiers constantly work to keep the air you breathe clean. These are especially good for people with sensitive allergies. If your budget is a little smaller and you would also like some greenery around your house, air purifying plants are a great option. They will clean your air naturally.
- Fix leaks: Leaks in your house facilitate the growth of mold. Even leaking taps can create enough of a moisture problem for it to grow. Leaks are often hidden and if it goes undetected or untreated for too long mold will most likely be the result. Once mold is in your home, it releases spores into the air and they eventually make their way into your lungs. They also spread around the house and find more places to grow so it’s best to eliminate it as soon as possible by cutting off the source.
- Clean your air filters: In an average home, air filters can last up to 90 days, but if you have pets they should be changed every 60 and if you suffer from allergies you should change them as often as every 20-45 days.
- Learn about your home: Find out when your home was built. If it was between 1930-1970, insulation containing asbestos may have been used. And lead-based paints were commonly used in homes built between 1960 and the 1970s. The more you know about your home, the better you can identify problems with air quality and stay safe.
- Avoid pesticides and toxic cleaning products: It can be tempting to go for the “instant-killing” when dealing with pests in your home but do what you can to avoid them because these are made with extremely harsh chemicals and eventually evaporate into the air. The same with cleaning products. If possible, use eco-friendly cleaning products, because what is better for the earth, is what’s better for you.
The air we breathe has a huge impact on both our short and long-term health. There are a lot of preventative measures to take and if airborne pollutants are found in your home it can definitely be fixed. But the best way to avoid all problems is to be aware.