How to test the air quality in your home

The air quality in your home has an significant impact on your health, comfort, and productivity.


The air quality in your home has an significant impact on your health, comfort, and productivity. Pollutants like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and mold can lead to issues like headaches, respiratory problems, allergies, and other health issues if there are high concentrations in your home air.

Testing your home air quality regularly with the right equipment is the only way to know if there are any pollutants you need to be concerned about and take steps to improve. Some of the key things you can test include:

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Volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

VOCs are emitted from a wide range of common household products like paints and air fresheners. You can use an indoor air quality monitor or VOC test strips to check VOC levels, especially in newly constructed or recently renovated homes. High VOC levels may indicate issues with outgassing from new materials.

Carbon monoxide.

Colorless, odorless carbon monoxide is poisonous and can be fatal in high amounts. Monitors provide an easy way to check levels in your home, especially if you have any gas-burning appliances. Any detectable levels should be addressed immediately.

Particulate matter. 

Fine particles in the air like dust, pollen, pet dander, and smoke can trigger allergies and respiratory problems. An air purifier with a built-in particle counter or standalone particle monitor can measure particulate matter levels in your home. Reducing levels may help improve allergy and asthma symptoms.

Mold.

Excessive moisture and dampness lead to mold growth which releases spores that can cause or aggravate respiratory issues. Look for any signs of water damage or leaks and use a moisture meter to check for high humidity. Mold testing kits can determine if there are toxic black molds like Stachybotrys present so you know how serious any issues are.

Bacterial contaminants.

While some bacteria are normal and harmless, dangerous bacteria like E. coli and Listeria can contaminate indoor air and spread illness. Swabbing surfaces to test for levels of certain bacterial strains may be needed if you suspect an issue. A doctor can determine if testing is necessary based on symptoms.

Testing the quality of the air in your home regularly is one of the most important things you can do for the health and safety of yourself and your loved ones.

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