How to Test Air Quality At Home

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The are dozens of factors that contribute to your overall health. Your stress levels at work, diet, activity levels, and other habits can contribute to your energy and sense of well-being. However, you may notice there are other factors out there that also impact your health. High levels of pollen or pollution in the air can make you feel fatigued, even if you don’t have any noticeable allergy symptoms. 

Testing the air in your home can help you identify hidden factors that have a negative impact on your physical health, which can impact your mental state as well. Learn more about the benefits of a home air quality test and how you can improve the air you breathe indoors.  

Why Should You Test Your Indoor Air Quality?

Anyone can benefit from testing the indoor air quality in their homes. Even if your air is clean, a residential air quality test can confirm that you live in a healthy environment and are keeping dangerous particles out of your lungs. 

Studies show that some people spend as much as 90% of their time indoors, with the majority of that time being at home. This means that if you are exposed to particles and volatile organic compounds in the air, you don’t have a safe space to go to avoid them. 

There are a few warning signs that you can look out for if you are worried about indoor air pollution. Remember, every person is unique and reacts to irritants in different ways. You may have a few of these symptoms, while other people in your home have none or have milder reactions. A few warning signs to look out for include:

  • Respiratory problems and worsening asthma and allergies when you are home.
  • Headaches and nausea.
  • Shortness of breath when you try to do basic tasks and household chores. 
  • Increased sinus congestion and sneezing or the development of a cough.
  • Eye, skin, nose, or throat irritation.
  • Fatigue, dizziness, and depression throughout the day. 

The main challenge with these symptoms is that most people will try to explain them away. They assume they are tired because they didn’t sleep well or have a headache because of work stress. While these causes are possible, the dirty air in your home could also contribute or worsen your symptoms. 

How to Check Indoor Air Quality

As you learn how to test the indoor air quality in your home, determine the best course of action for your needs. Indoor air quality tests come in a variety of sizes and costs. Consider how much you can afford to invest in these tests and what you think you will find. For example, if you know you are sensitive to pollen or dust, a basic air quality monitor can alert you to when the particles in the air get out of hand. 

You have two main options when moving forward with an indoor air quality test. You can test the air in your home by yourself or hire a professional to do it for you. If you run the tests by yourself, you can set your budget and test the air on your time and as frequently as you need. However, if you don’t know what to measure (and aren’t sure if the air is contributing to your symptoms at all), then you may want to bring in an expert to test the air for you. Indoor air professionals can evaluate your home with a variety of criteria to identify exactly what is causing your problems. They can also make recommendations to alleviate the situation. 

What Should Indoor Air Quality Monitors Measure? 

As you research different indoor air quality monitors, make sure you have a list of features that different systems have so you can accurately measure the air in your home. You may want to pay a little extra beyond the base models in order to get all of the features you want. A few key sensors to have include:

  • Humidity levels: High levels of moisture in the air can make it hard to breathe in hot weather conditions and can foster mold growth. 
  • Volatile organic compounds: These are pollutants identified by the EPA that contribute to indoor air quality problems. They come from carpeting, building materials, and other home and office pollutants. 
  • Levels of particulate matter: This defines the level of dust or allergens in the air. 
  • Air quality index: This is a measurement by the EPA to determine the outdoor air pollution levels, which could impact how clean your indoor air is. 

If you can’t find an air quality monitor that has all of these features, look for alternative options. For example, there are multiple free air quality apps in the Apple Store and on Google Play that report the AQI in your area. 

Types of Indoor Air Tests

When you choose to hire a professional to evaluate your indoor air, you may need to leave your home or prepare for the tests they are going to run. A few of these advanced indoor air quality tests can take longer than expected but will also provide the results you need. A few common tests include:

  • Blower door test: This detects air leaks in your home, which may cause condensation to increase and lead to high humidity levels and mold growth. 
  • HERS score: This isn’t a test as much as a score that is assigned to your home during the construction process. It evaluates how energy-efficient the home should be to see whether the homeowner would qualify for efficiency rebates or tax incentive programs. 

As you can see, these tests require special equipment or knowledge about your home. This is why many homeowners call professionals to check the indoor air quality before taking steps to improve it. 

Test Your Indoor Air Frequently

It is important to test air quality in both home and work environments frequently to protect the people inside. Clean air allows people to breathe easier and feel healthier. Learn about the code compliance services offered by Energy Diagnostics to see how we can help you keep the air clean in any home, condo, or workplace you are currently developing.