Indoor Air Quality Test

There are all kinds of indoor-air pollutants hence an indoor air quality test is really a must; here are a few more reasons to convince you that it is wisest to take such a test:

– combustion is probably one of the biggest air polluters in our homes; besides, one of the most dangerous home appliances is the cooking stove since unfortunately, the sheer facts are that it kills about 4 million people all around the world every year; that’s quite scary, isn’t it! Other dangerous pollutants include: fireplaces, furnaces, space heaters, heating stoves, and tobacco smoke, to name but a few. The most dangerous gasses emitted from those sources mentioned above, released from combustion, are carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter. Those facts are crucial to know, since only by educating people could we prevent further death cases. To indulge further into details: CO causes variety of symptoms – ranging from headaches and nausea to confusion and unconsciousness — and kills about 500 people in the U.S. per year. NO2 irritates mucous membranes and causes shortness of breath, while long-term exposure to low levels may increase the risk of lung infections or emphysema. Airborne particulates can lodge in the lungs, potentially damaging tissue and even working their way into the bloodstream.

What’s more, be advised that CO is colorless and odorless, thus the best way to detect it is by installing CO alarms near bedrooms and fuel-burning appliances. Those appliances should also be inspected at least once a year by a qualified technician, as should chimneys, flues and air-handling systems. Other combustion products are easier to see and smell – NO2 is reddish-brown with an acrid odor, for example – but low levels can also be detected with certain instruments. Additionally, be advised to ventilate with a fan or window every time you use the stove, the space heater or when you leave the fireplace burning.

After all is said and done, what we are left with is the shouting need to do indoor air quality test, since it is some secure method to monitor the air quality in the building where you live and in case of any worrying data to take the needed measures before it is too late for that.

Radon – yet another colorless and odorless gas. Besides, this is the second most deadly gas and some sure cause lung cancer, killing about 21,000 Americans every year. In general soil contains low levels of decaying uranium, which emits radon, although certain regions have more than others. It normally dissipates harmlessly into outdoor air, but it can also flow into buildings through gaps in the foundation, eventually reaching unsafe levels in basements and lower floors. Hence air-quality testing (outdoor and indoor) is the only way for radon to be detected and for precaution measures to be taken. Of course, on the market in certain countries, there are already DIY radon test kits available, even online, still we need to be careful since we are not professionals and we are not that good at reading the results; thus plenty of people choose to call a qualified radon inspector, especially when buying a home. In case high levels of radon are detected, you should be advised to seal off the building’s interior; however, this is quite a complicated task, which is best left for the professionals to handle.

Asbestos – just like radon, asbestos occurs naturally in the soil, posing little health risk until it gets indoors. While radon sneaks in, we ourselves use asbestos in our homes as it’s some heat-resistant mineral fiber hence it has been long used as a building material and insulator. However, in recent years, it’s become clear that its fibers can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma and long-term lung scarring. Thus it’s e rule nowadays that nearly all modern homes and offices use alternative materials; however, older buildings most probably still contain asbestos. Even then, the fibers only become airborne when they’re disturbed, so the most practical solution is to simply leave asbestos alone. But this is not always possible, take for example some old home which needs repairs in its, say, asbestos-lined attic or just about anywhere. So all in all, people living in old homes run the risk of inhaling asbestos fiber particles. So what’s the solution? Once again – indoor air quality test performed by a specialist in the field; since DIY asbestos remediation is not only an option but it could pose unnecessary threat to your building environment. You are not even advised to take asbestos sampling by yourself! If you suspect that some given material contains asbestos, look for signs of damage without touching it, then contact a professional inspector to come in and perform the testing.

Volatile organic compounds – in general, VOCs are contained in numerous consumer products, ranging from, say, paint and glue to printers and shower curtains. They have low boiling points, which enables them to “off-gas” lots of vapor even at room temperature. Some VOC vapors cause short-term health issues like headaches and nausea, often grouped together as “sick building syndrome.” Others pose longer-term risks, ranging from, GOD forbid!, brain damage to cancer. So what can we do?! First and foremost, it is wisest if we perform an indoor air quality testing, of course, not by ourselves but by a professional, then if volatile organic compounds are detected the best defense is to use VOC-containing products sparingly, and to keep their fumes from accumulating by using them outdoors or ventilating with fans and windows. Some more additional details, one of the most famous volatile organic compounds is formaldehyde, which wafts from pressed wood products, glues, textiles, gas stoves and tobacco smoke, to name but a few. Although, it is wisest to perform an indoor air quality testing, in the case of formaldehyde there are DIY test kits available, still you cannot count 100% on the accuracy of results.

Mold and mildew – Fungi are notorious indoor air polluters, seizing on warm, humid conditions to colonize and contaminate. Outbreaks often begin in basements and bathrooms, but can quickly spread thus causing symptoms like nasal stuffiness, wheezing and skin irritation. Additionally studies have also linked indoor mold exposure to asthma development in children. The best way to fight mold is to fight moisture. Keep the relative humidity indoors below 60 percent, and use a dehumidifier or fan to dry out the air if needed. Pockets of mold can be removed from hard surfaces by scrubbing with soap and water, a bleach solution or hydrogen peroxide. Finally, indoor air quality testing is also advisable and most air-testing companies do offer mold inspection.