Indoor Air Quality Testing

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While environmentalists have been busy recording improvements in outdoor air quality since the start of the coronavirus lockdown, not much has been said about the air inside our homes even though it tends to be much more polluted. The coronavirus pandemic, however, has brought more attention to cleaning and sanitizing the air inside our homes and buildings, especially since we are spending even more time there these days. Moreover, we cannot forget that there are still other threats to our inside air besides coronavirus germs. Fortunately, there are different indoor air quality tests to detect these threats and ways to reduce or eliminate their presence completely.

What Are You Testing For?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists three main types of pollutants that can impact your air quality.

  1. Biological – derived from other living things such as mold, dust, pollen, bacteria, allergens and viruses
  2. Chemical – volatile organic compounds (VOC) that often lack physical indication and do not cause immediate symptoms such as lead and radon
  3. Combustion – carbon monoxide is the best-known culprit in this category, but it also includes tobacco smoke and the byproducts of something burning (VOCs and other chemical pollutants may result from combustion)

Biological Pollutants

Naturally, the attention brought by the current pandemic has renewed the focus on testing for biological pollutants inside the home. Because the coronavirus is highly contagious and spreads through the air, maintaining indoor air quality for viruses has taken on even greater importance. If you suspect a problem, you should contact an air quality specialist to test for allergens and bacteria. In addition to decontaminating affected areas, a specialist can also provide effective solutions to keep dangerous pathogens from entering your home in the future.

Mold Testing

Mold is an extremely common problem inside households because it grows when moisture comes in contact with ordinary building materials. Due to the fact that it grows both indoors and outdoors, it can enter your home through windows, doorways, and vents. It can also attach itself to one's shoes or clothing. While many forms of mold are harmless, some strains can irritate individuals with allergies while others can be toxic.

Molds can cause illness in a few different ways. They can irritate the eyes, nose and upper respiratory system. Common symptoms include nasal congestion, coughing, and post-nasal drip. People with allergies may develop hay fever or asthma symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, chest tightness, coughing and wheezing.

The more dangerous strains create chemicals known as toxins that cause illness. These can affect the skin as well as the respiratory and nervous systems. Although toxic mold affects everyone, it can be especially harmful to children, the elderly and immune compromised individuals. Allergenic mold, on the other hand, is not harmless either, and long-term exposure is definitely more serious.

In addition to testing for mold, a mold remediation company can identify and eliminate the moisture sources that cause mold growth. Whether you have visible mold in your household or you recognize some of its signs, a mold assessor can improve your indoor air quality by protecting your home from future mold-related damage.

HVAC Mold Remediation

In addition, a mold remediator can also remove contamination from your HVAC system. Cleaning and maintaining HVAC systems is central to reducing mold growth because mold can enter your HVAC system through the return vents which can bring contaminated air into the system and transport it around the building structure through the supply vents.

Chemical Pollutants

VOCs are organic compounds that can easily become gases or vapors. Some organic chemicals occur naturally in living things, but many are synthetic. Not only can chemical products in our homes release organic compounds while they being used but also when stored. Common items containing VOCs include cleaners, paints, stored fuels and disinfectants.

Lead Testing

Lead-based paint is common to houses built prior to 1978. Dangerous exposure, however, only happens when it is improperly removed by sanding, scraping or open-flame burning. At high levels, lead can affect all systems of the body; it can be especially harmful for young children whose bodies are still growing. For this reason, in 1971 the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services declared that lead was the “number one environmental threat to the health of children in the United States.” To identify this threat, you should make sure that your lead inspector has received his certification as a lead-based paint risk assessor.

Asbestos Testing

Another potentially dangerous product found in building materials is asbestos; it is often used for insulation and as a fire retardant. Similar to lead-based paint, it is common to older homes and can also become airborne after asbestos-containing materials are cut, sanded, or disrupted by other remodeling activities. A licensed and experienced asbestos abatement professional can help with identification and removal of asbestos from your home.

Combustion Pollutant - Carbon Monoxide

One of the most dangerous of combustion pollutants, carbon monoxide, is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause unconsciousness and death at high concentrations. Unvented gas space heaters, fireplaces and gas stoves can emit carbon monoxide fumes. At lower concentrations, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and confusion. One of the dangers is that its symptoms are often confused with the flu or food poisoning. To detect dangerous leaks, homeowners should have an inspection of all fuel-burning appliances.

To maintain your home’s air quality and to make sure that its structural, HVAC, and electrical systems are in good working condition, you should get a thorough inspection of your household. A residential home inspector can detect any damage or defects within your home that could lead to poor air quality and any subsequent illnesses. By contacting the right professionals, you can uncover any current problems, and you can safeguard your indoor air quality against future health-related issues.