How to Test the Air Quality in Your Home

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Air quality is an important aspect of home safety, which unfortunately is often overlooked. Harmful or toxic agents can spread through the air in your home and begin to impact your health over time.

Living in a place with chronically poor air conditions can lead to frequent headaches, bronchitis, and long-lasting colds as well as chronic asthma.

That’s why it is important for your health to test air quality frequently.

 

How to Test the Air Quality in Your Home

 

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is very dangerous combustion pollutant. It is a colorless and odorless gas generated from incomplete combustion of fuel in household devices, such as furnaces, stoves, water heaters, and fireplaces.

The only way to detect the presence of the gas is to have a carbon monoxide detector, which works like a smoke detector and alerts you when the level of carbon monoxide rises. It is cheap and a mandatory part of your air-testing arsenal.

Besides installing the detector, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends going through a professional inspection of all fuel-burning appliances like furnaces, fireplaces, stoves, clothes dryers, water heaters, and space heaters once a year to detect any dangerous carbon monoxide leaks.

 

Environmental Tobacco Smoke

Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is another combustion pollutant which is a complex mixture that comes from the end of a burning cigarette, cigar or pipe, as well as the smoke exhaled by the smoker.

The smoke can cause an increased risk of respiratory tract infections like bronchitis and pneumonia. The risk is even bigger for children that might also have symptoms of respiratory irritation like a cough.

Similar to carbon monoxide, the only way to detect ETS is by acquiring a special detector. It is more expensive but will help you to track the levels of tobacco smoke in your house.

In the end, remember that number one way to avoid the health effects of ETS inside your home is not to smoke or permit others to do it inside of your property.

 

Radon

Radon is also a colorless and odorless gas that rises naturally from the soil and enters the home through dirt floors, drainage systems, and cracks in the basement floor and walls. It is thought to be a major cause of lung cancer.

And again, to test for radon, you need to purchase a radon detection kit. One proven method to reduce the radon level in your home is to simply install a ventilation system and fan.

 

Mold

Mold is one of the most common biological pollutants in our homes. It grows both indoors and outdoors and can be carried indoors by clinging to clothing or shoes or float into your home via doorways, windows, and vents.

People sensitive to it can suffer from nasal stuffiness, irritation of the throat, wheezing or coughing, or eye irritation.

Before starting with the air testing it is best to look for mold in common problem areas in your home. Clean up any visible signs, and remedy the conditions that led to the mold growth in the first place.

As soon as you are done, hire a professional to test for mold or buy your own mold detector.

 

Pollen

During the spring, summer, and fall, trees, grasses, and weeds release tiny pollen grains into the air. These floating pollen grains then hitch a ride on people and are carried inside.

The symptoms of hay fever include sneezing, coughing, itching eyes, nose and throat, and red watery eyes.

To test your air for pollen, you need to acquire allergen test kits that detect and identify not only pollen but other common indoor allergens as well. The best way to prevent pollen in your place is by keeping windows in your home and car closed, drying your clothes in a dryer instead of hanging them up outside, and if possible, staying indoors from 5:00 am to 10:00 am while outside pollen counts are highest.

 

The Bottom Line

 

One of the key benefits of testing your air for pollutants is simply the knowledge gained about the air quality of your indoor environment.

Once you have information about the quality of your air, keeping your house clean and decluttered will help keep the air inside fresh and pollutant free.

By doing that, you will enjoy better health for the whole family!