Physical symptoms or strange odors in your home are signs that you have poor indoor air quality. These problems can sneak up on you. A home that was once fine might become susceptible to mold after a plumbing leak. A malfunctioning furnace or gas fireplace could expose your whole household to deadly carbon monoxide (CO). The potential threat to your health may make you want to learn how to test the air quality in your home. But first, what are the common sources of poor indoor air quality?
Sources of Indoor Air Pollutants
Your health could suffer for a number of reasons.
- Excessive airborne dust mites or pet dander can trigger allergies and asthma attacks.
- Mold spores floating in the air irritate the respiratory tract and skin.
- Chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOC) are toxic to the body. Materials like carpeting, paint, solvents, and cleaners emit VOCs.
- Furnaces and other fossil fuel appliances can pollute homes with CO when their combustion systems exhaust improperly.
- Radon, a naturally occurring gas that emerges from the ground in some places, has been known to lead to lung cancer.
- Carbon dioxide (CO2) builds up when your home does not get adequate fresh air.
Exposure symptoms to different substances can overlap. This is why you’ll be testing for everything.
Signs of Bad Indoor Air Quality
The physical symptoms of poor indoor air quality that you or your family members experience are usually the first warning sign.
- Sore throat
- Asthma attacks
- Runny nose
- Skin rash
- Visible mold growth on walls or ceiling
If symptoms flare up when you’re at home but resolve when you’re elsewhere, then your home’s indoor air quality requires investigation.
Items You’ll Need
- Journal or calendar
- Indoor air quality monitor
- Mold test kit
- Radon test kit
- CO detector
How to Test the Air Quality In Your Home Step by Step
- Start tracking the symptoms that you and household members experience.
- Write notes about symptoms in a journal or calendar.
- If symptoms worsen or are bad to start with, talk to a doctor.
- Inspect your home for mold growth.
- Use a flashlight to check around appliances, under sinks, behind furniture, and throughout the basement or attic.
- Install a CO detector on every level of your home or contact Oliver for professional carbon monoxide testing during your heater tune-up.
- If you believe you have high levels of dangerous Carbon Monoxide CO call 911 and get everyone out of the building, If possible open the windows, to ventilate. Schedule repair services for the appliance creating the CO immediately.
- Buy one or more indoor air quality monitors and place them throughout your home.
- Choose a monitor that measures humidity, VOCs, temperature, and particulate allergens.
- Use the guidance that comes with the monitor to see what its measurements indicate.
- Depending on what the monitors indicate, you may need duct cleaning or better air filtration.
- If you suspect mold, buy mold test kits and place them according to the manufacturer’s directions.
- If mold spores are detected, work with a plumber or ventilation professional to remedy moisture problems.
- Radon does not come out of the ground everywhere, but it’s always good to know the status of your home.
- If a radon test kit produces a positive result, you must install special ventilation to prevent ongoing exposure.
Oliver Can Fix Your Indoor Air Quality Issues
As you can see, various problems can pollute the air in your home. At Oliver, our heating, cooling, and plumbing experts have the expertise to address excess humidity, leaking pipes, dirty ducts, or poor ventilation. We also repair and maintain furnaces so that they vent dangerous fumes completely from your home. For your health and safety, contact Oliver about your indoor air quality concerns today.