Testing the air quality is one of the most important parts of owning a home. Unfortunately, many people overlook this step. It’s hard to see anything wrong with the air, so why would you want to monitor it? Checking and adjusting the air quality can promote healthier sleeping, breathing, and more.
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To test the air quality yourself, use indoor air quality monitors, thermostats, hygrometers, and carbon monoxide testers. You can also inspect and replace the air filters in your home and use mold test kits every time the seasons change. Don’t forget to test for radon since it comes from the soil.
In this article, we’ll explain how you can test the air quality in any building and why it’s so important. Enjoy!
Use Air Quality Monitors
According to Safewise, air quality monitors are the first thing you should get if you want to check your home’s air quality. These monitors check particle density, mold, and many other components. Some of them look for carbon monoxide, radon, and greenhouse gases. However, it depends on which monitor you choose.
The Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor uses Bluetooth technology to show you everything you need to know about your home’s air quality through your smartphone. It checks the humidity, particle density, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), and more. You can set up multiple monitors to check the air quality of every room throughout the house or apartment.
Keep a Thermostat and Hygrometer
Believe it or not, your home’s temperature is a crucial part of monitoring its air quality. If your home is hotter than usual, it could be a sign of mold growth. Mold tends to put off heat in cupboards, dresser drawers, and other enclosed spaces. You should also get a hygrometer to ensure there’s not too much moisture in the environment.
Excessive amounts of moisture will lead to mold, mildew, and bacterial growth. It can also cause wood rot, rust, and corrosion. Some people are sensitive to high humidity, so do your best to keep your home’s humidity around 35% to 45%. If it’s hot and wet, your home will be the perfect environment for throat-irritating mold.
Inspect and Clean Air Filters
Every HVAC system should offer air filtration. Some air filters are single-use, whereas others can be cleaned and reused. Follow the steps below to ensure your home has adequate, clean filtration:
- Turn off the airflow.
- Open the filtration vent and remove the filter.
- Inspect the filter for mold, mildew, clogs, etc.
- Check if the filter is reusable or single-use, then clean it if necessary.
- Place the cleaned or new filter in the filtration vent, making sure the arrows point in the proper direction.
If you constantly have to replace or clean your filter more than once every three to six months, there’s a high chance your home’s air quality is compromised.
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Try a Seasonal Mold Test Kit
Mold test kits let you know if there’s mold in your home. If there is, it’s important to adjust the humidity, temperature, and air filter. Once these variables are fixed, it’s best to sanitize every surface throughout the house to remove mold spores. Mold spores are often very small and impossible to see, but they can grow rapidly.
The Mold Armor DIY Mold Test Kit gives you results within two days, letting you know whether or not your home has mold. Use a swab and the provided solution to identify the mold. Then, scrub the surface with your preferred mold-cleaning solution. You can also use an all-purpose cleaner (as long as it doesn’t harm the surface material).
Install Digital Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Carbon monoxide detectors are often required by most local building codes. You’re typically supposed to have CO detectors installed in kitchens and hallways. Make sure your CO monitors are updated and have batteries to keep them functioning properly.
Second Nature recommends getting a digital carbon monoxide detector. These monitors let you know the carbon monoxide content in the air. CO can reduce your home’s air quality through gas leaks. When there’s too much carbon monoxide in the air, it can cause fatigue, lightheadedness, headaches, and more. It can also cause severe health problems from long-term exposure.
Test for Radon
Radon naturally comes from the soil. It typically goes into the atmosphere, which means it won’t cause any problems. That being said, your home often traps radon below the floorboards since it can’t go into the atmosphere. This is especially common in basements and crawl spaces. Bob Vila suggests using radon testers, though many air quality monitors check the radon levels.
If you want to check your home’s radon levels, remember these tips:
- Use radon testers near the lowest point in your home since that’s where radon builds up.
- Ventilation and optimal airflow are the best ways to get rid of excessive radon levels.
- Consider covering the exposed soil under your house.
Unfortunately, radon is invisible and scentless. Carbon monoxide is also invisible and scentless, but it has a chemical added to it to create the foul smell people associate with it. Since radon naturally comes from the soil, there aren’t any additives. Failure to identify and reduce radon levels can cause a range of health concerns.
Improve Your Home’s Air Quality
Your home’s indoor air quality is important because it directly affects your health, your home’s structural integrity, various odors, discoloration, and more. There are numerous ways to improve your home’s air quality after testing it. Remember to perform all of the aforementioned suggestions before working on improvements.
Here’s how to improve your home’s air quality:
- Clean your home’s air filtration and HVAC ducts. Cleaning the air filter is quite straightforward, but you might need to hire an HVAC technician to clean the ducts. The ducts throughout your home can carry debris, including mold spores, bacteria, carbon monoxide, radon, and more. Removing this debris will drastically improve the air quality.
- Get seasonal or annual HVAC maintenance. Routine maintenance often includes cleaning, lubricating, and repairing HVAC appliances. You can use this preventative maintenance to ensure your home’s air quality is always in good condition. If the filtration systems are working properly, the air quality will work properly.
- Use air purifiers, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers when necessary. These appliances will balance the particles and humidity in the air. Remember, humidity isn’t always a bad thing. A lack of adequate humidity can lead to respiratory problems and worsen pre-existing health conditions.
If you’re unsure whether or not your home has poor air quality and you don’t want to get the recommended monitors and test kits, look for these symptoms:
- Mold around windows and doors
- Moisture buildup throughout the building
- Fogginess or air density
- Headaches, breathing problems, and other signs of respiratory issues
- Excessively dirty air filters anywhere in the HVAC system
- Copious amounts of dust buildup on fans, filters, windowsills, and furniture
It’s incredibly important to test and adjust the air quality of any building, especially if you live in it. Your home’s air quality affects your sleep, respiratory system, and cancer prevention. The good news is that it’s quite easy to monitor your home’s air quality once you have all of the proper tools mentioned above.