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Do you often see yourself or your loved ones sneezing and coughing more than ever when you’re at home? Are you still experiencing cold-like or allergy symptoms even though you’re always cleaning your house? If your answer to these questions is yes, then your home air quality may be compromised.
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Importance of Testing Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air pollution in developing nations is a major health hazard. And one of your top priorities as a homeowner is to improve the poor air quality in your home even if you’re not feeling its effects. Most of us believe that we’re safe from harmful particles due to vacuuming and dusting regularly. However, the air inside your house may be experiencing some serious problems that a general cleaning can’t take care of.
Unfortunately, linking health complications or signs of them with poor home air quality may take some time to piece together. Often, you’re not aware that it’s already subtly harming you. Also, some toxic particles are too small to be visible to the naked eye.
For these reasons, it’s crucial to improve the quality of air in your house. You can do so by using a simple testing kit for home air quality to know what’s lurking in and around your humble abode.
DIY home air quality test kits allow you to discover the different types of pollution you’re exposing yourself to every day without your knowledge. It can help you determine the issues you need to fix before it harms your health and the health of your entire family.
Knowing which toxins are present in your home can also help you choose the best air filter or determine if there’s a need to call professional help.
Air Quality Tests You Can Perform Yourself
Here are ways on how you can perform a DIY indoor air quality test:
1. Carbon Monoxide
Your gas appliances such as fireplaces, water heaters, grills, furnaces, ovens, and stoves emit fumes of carbon monoxide. When the odorless gas leaks and starts to build up, it can lead to poisoning any individual or animal breathing it.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to flu, which can not only cause you to pass out but even lead to your death. Luckily, you can determine its levels inside your house by installing a carbon monoxide detector. It can also alert you of any problems and is one of the simplest ways to protect you and your loved ones.
One of the leading causes of lung cancer is radon. Hence, it’s always a good idea to test your home for this radioactive gas. Radon naturally occurs when uranium develops in the soil. It can leak in your house and subtly poison you and your family.
When your home has high levels of radon, simple renovations like sealing and caulking foundation cracks can lessen the radon exposure.
Radon home testing kits are available at most local home improvement shops. Charcoal reading is usually used in the tests and collected after being set up in your house for a certain period of time. You will then mail the test kit to a lab for the results.
You can find mold spores everywhere in your house. However, if there’s a musty smell, they may be growing in colonies and living on moist organic surfaces. As a result, it may irritate your asthma or allergies.
The best place to test if your home is becoming a breeding ground for mold is the ductwork of HVAC air filter. Here’s how to do it using a mold test kit:
- Use the rinse solution that comes with the test kit to dampen and sterilize a sponge.
- Wipe a section of the supply duct vent or air filter with the damp sponge.
- Place it in a rinsing container and then pour over more solution.
- Shake the container and put its contents in a sample container or a cup.
- The test kit also comes with a chart where you can compare the solution’s color afterwards. It will indicate whether there’s mold growth in the ductwork or on the air filter.
4. Volcanic Organic Compounds or VOCs
These chemicals are off-gas by your everyday household items. Most of our homes have a dangerously high level of toxic VOCs such as chloroform, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene. Too much exposure to these may cause nasal irritation and headaches, as well as lead to liver damage and even cancer.
You can analyze your level of exposure to VOCs with some home air quality test equipment. Some kits come with a badge that you have to wear, which can detect VOC within 24 hours. The badge is capable of measuring your exposure level. You’ll then send it to a lab for analysis. You’ll find out the VOCs concentration inside your home when they mail the results back to you.
How To Tell If You Have Poor Indoor Air Quality
You can determine the air quality in your house by looking out for some of these signs:
- Pay close attention to your allergies. Most people are allergic to a wide range of irritants such as dust and pollen, which are more abundant indoors than outdoors. Common symptoms may include sneezing, headaches, coughing, congestion, watery eyes, and bloody noses. You potentially have poor indoor air quality if you’re experiencing these symptoms whenever you’re home but then they shortly disappear once you step out of the door.
- Are you experiencing unusual or new symptoms? Although a lot of symptoms are mild, some pollutants like mold spores and toxic chemicals may severely affect your health. Consult your doctor if you begin to experience nausea, fever, rashes, dizziness, fatigue, muscle pain, chills, vomiting, hearing loss, or shortness of breath. Also, contact a professional to determine what’s damaging the air quality in your home and fix the problem right away.
- Take care of your lungs. Not addressing the chemical issues in your space may affect your lungs. There are some extreme cases when it may lead to severe health ailments. Make sure to have your air system cleaned or inspected and regularly change your air filters. Additionally, consider purchasing an air purifier system for your home. As they say, prevention is better than cure, especially when it comes to the health of your family.
- Repairs and renovations. Consider looking at some changes, renovations, and improvements in your home. The purity of the air may also suffer if you’ve recently painted the walls or replaced your flooring. Chemicals from these improvements can accumulate within your HVAC system and circulate back in the entire room. And this may have a negative impact on your health as well. Air purifiers can help prevent the issue and so can cleaning up thoroughly when the project is finished.
- Air distribution inconsistencies. Look for any inconsistencies in the air distribution within your home. You may have a problem with your system if one area is warmer or colder than the other. As a result, the airflow purity and temperature in every room will suffer. Also, make sure to check out the humidity levels of each room. Dryness or mugginess in certain areas is also a sign of poor home air quality.
Purify The Airflow In Your Home
One cost-effective home solution for air pollution is an air purifier. It’s one of the easiest ways to clean the air you and your family breathe once the test kit results are in and you know what type of contaminants are present inside your house.
Air purifiers come in several types, but the most efficient is the HEPA air purifier. It is ideal to leave it running throughout the day to ensure that it’ll be able to capture all harmful particles that enter your room. Keep in mind that you’ll continue to experience health problems if you don’t do something to improve the air quality of your home.
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