Often people love to speak in a complicated language that is hard for others to comprehend. One such term that you will hear frequently is the “Indoor Air Quality.” The term has gained even more significance due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It’s time to simplify the term and help you know how to test your home’s indoor air quality.
What Is Indoor Air Quality?
In layman terms, indoor air quality is the health quotient of the air inside a building or a structure. Good air quality means good health of the residents, while poor indoor air quality is associated with illness and allergies.
Often poor indoor air quality is linked to the “Sick Building Syndrome” or SBS. The occupants suffer from fatigue, reduced productivity, the general feeling of being unwell, etc. These symptoms don’t relate to any illness. Instead, they are linked to the time spent by the individuals inside the building.
Why Is Indoor Air Quality Important?
To judge the importance of indoor air quality, let us have a quick peek at a few facts. Some of these may be quite an eye-opener.
1. According to the Environmental Protection Agency or the EPA, indoor air pollution is one of the top 5 environmental dangers.
2. Second-hand smoke is a big concern as it is one of the top indoor air pollutants.
3. In the United States, the pediatric asthma rate has increased to approximately 72%, with indoor air quality being linked as one of the reasons.
4. Surprisingly the indoor air quality can be 2 to 5 times worse than the outside air. In some homes, it is found to be 100 times more polluted.
5. Most homes use harmful chemicals that deteriorate the indoor air quality quickly.
The idea behind stating these facts is not to scare you, but to open your mind towards being more attentive to the air quality in your home.
Signs That You Need To Test The Indoor Air Quality In Your Home
You don’t have to aggressively test the indoor air quality every day and every few hours. Nonetheless, you need to be on the lookout for some typical signs. These will appear only when one is inside the house. Like:
1. Frequent headache, dizziness, and nausea.
2. Feeling of constant lethargy.
3. Shortness of breath.
4. Rash, fever, and chills.
5. Allergies and cold taking unduly long to abate.
If you or any member of your family is experiencing any of these symptoms, checking the indoor air quality becomes imperative. The culprit might just be the poor air quality inside.
DIY Air Quality Tests
Testing the air quality may sound like a tricky job. Yes, it is tricky, but thankfully, there are gadgets that take care of all the complicated assessments. You just need to know how to use the gadget. Here are the 3 air quality tests that you can do for your home.
1. Testing For Carbon Monoxide – Carbon monoxide is a highly toxic gas that has no odor; hence, its leak is relatively hard to detect. When its concentration in a closed space increases, it leads to flu-like symptoms that can make a person pass out and, in extreme cases, even die. Typically, its sources are gas appliances, water heaters, furnace, and fireplace. The good news is that there are carbon monoxide detectors available in the market. You can buy one and install it in your home to sound an alert whenever there is a leak.
2. Testing For Radon – Radon happens to be the leading cause of lung cancer. It is a radioactive gas that is produced when uranium breaks down in the soil. It can trickle into your home through cracks in the foundation and poison you without you even knowing about it. Most home improvement stores have DIY radon test kits. These test kits use a charcoal reading, collected over time in your house. You send the testing material to a lab where the test is developed, and you are given its result.
3. Testing For Other Indoor Air Pollutants – There are several indoor air quality monitors available online and in stores. Some are cheap, and others are costly. What you need is one that has sensors for humidity, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), levels of particulate matter, and Air Quality Index (AQI). Some monitors may provide additional information as well. But remember, as the features increase, so does the price of the monitor. Additional features may be well and good, but it should have the above mentioned basic ones. You just need to install the air quality monitor, and it will do the rest. Keep an eye on the readings to know when things start going downhill.
Improving The Indoor Air Quality
Now that you know how to test the indoor air quality, here are a couple of things you can do to improve it:
1. Install An Air Purifier – A whole-home air purification system will go a long way in improving the quality of indoor air. It will work continuously to ensure that your family breathes in clean air. Though such a system will have a big price tag attached to it, the guarantee of healthy air that it offers is priceless.
2. Keep Air Purifying Plants Indoors – An inexpensive way of improving the indoor air quality is getting indoor air purifying and placing them throughout your living areas. These plants will not only purify the air but change the look of your house.
3. Ventilate The House -. The biggest cause of poor indoor air quality is lack of ventilation. You need to bring in fresh air from time to time to dilute the indoor air. This will naturally reduce the concentration of pollutants indoors and make the air fresh.
In today’s time, being aware and conscious of the indoor air quality is to your advantage. One cannot control the outside environment with their solo efforts. However, with a little awareness, you can make a significant difference to the indoor air quality in your home. The methods discussed above will come handy in improving and maintaining it.