Air pollution kills 7 million people a year according to estimates from the World Health Organization.
Keeping the air in your home safe is an important task, and it’s one you shouldn’t take lightly.
If you’d like to know more, keep reading this guide on testing your home’s air quality.
Why Test Your Home’s Air Quality?
Several contaminants could be lingering in your home’s air, including mold, secondhand smoke, formaldehyde, or even just a buildup of dust. These problems only worsen for those living in a small apartment.
Whether you’re in an apartment or house, the most significant places to watch for air contaminants are the wet places in your home.
Bathrooms and laundry rooms are the leading proponents of mold growth and bacteria buildup, but your kitchen can quickly become a hotspot if it isn’t kept clean.
If you begin to experience shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, or eye, nose, or throat irritation, it might be time for an indoor air quality assessment.
If left unattended, the long term effects could lead to heart or respiratory disease, and even cancer.
Types of Indoor Contaminants
Three types of indoor pollutants may be affecting your air quality.
The first is biological. This includes anything derived from a living thing like mold, mildew, pollen, dust mites, animal dander, and even cat saliva. Controlling the humidity in your home is an excellent way to minimize biological contaminants.
The second is chemical.
This can include volatile organic compounds (VOC), which are often found in paint. Formaldehyde, lead, and radon are also common chemical pollutants. These often come with no immediate symptoms or physical indication, making them more dangerous.
The third type of indoor pollutant is combustion. Carbon monoxide is a huge proponent of this category, but it can also come from tobacco smoke or any other thing that is burned in the home (sage, incense, candles, etc.).
How to Test Indoor Air Quality
Considering the symptoms above, and the commonality of indoor contaminants, the first test you could conduct is a self-health test. If you’re feeling any of these symptoms and can’t pinpoint a reason behind it, it may be better to be safe than sorry.
You could purchase an indoor air quality monitor or a do-it-yourself testing kit.
Air quality monitors are placed in the home. They’ll report levels of certain pollutants in the air and let you know when things may be dangerous.
Carbon monoxide alarms are also available and can be easily installed in your home.
There are all kinds of at-home test kits available on the market that test for allergens, formaldehyde, mold spores, organic vapors, asbestos, and even lead.
Most tests include instructions for collecting air or surface samples from around your home. These samples then get sealed in a package and sent off to a lab for testing.
If you’d instead leave it to the professionals, consultations are also available.
Professional services could include everything from HVC diagnostics tests, air sampling, moisture mapping, volatile organic compound testing, and more.
No matter what, you should consult a professional if levels of any contaminant in your home become dangerous.
Preventing Poor Air Quality
The first step in any healthy home is prevention. These are also steps to take after you’ve consulted a professional for any potential dangers in your home.
Keeping air filters up to date in your home prevents allergen buildup. Regular cleaning and dusting prevent this too.
Buying a dehumidifier can also help prevent the buildup of mold.
Dust mites can be prevented in your bed (they’re very common in bedsheets and on pillowcases) by washing your bedding often and in hot water. Covering mattresses with allergen-blocking covers is also a good tip.
Ditching paraffin wax candles for soy or beeswax candles will also aid in keeping your home’s air clean. Soy and beeswax candles are natural, but paraffin wax is made from petroleum products.
Beeswax candles even emit the same light spectrum as the sun while burning, bringing in a more comfortable ambiance. This can also help in the dark days of winter.
The chemicals in household cleaning supplies can even be dangerous.
Switching to green products, or creating your own, can help keep the air clean. Products without heavy chemicals are also better for children and pets that play or lay on the floor or surfaces that get heavily doused with cleaner regularly.
Plants are natural air purifiers and help keep the air clean without breaking the bank.
We don’t all have a green thumb, however, and that’s where air purifiers come in handy.
Air purifiers help remove pet hair and dander from the air in between regular cleaning. They improve air circulation and eliminate mold spore buildup. If you do have indoor plants, these also help to remove any pollen they may produce during flowering seasons.
Having an air purifier can even help your home smell better.
Keep It Clean
The bottom line is, keeping your home clean is a great way to prevent indoor air pollutants from building up and becoming a problem.
You eat and sleep here. Your kids play here; your pets rarely leave. Clean air in your home is essential to a good quality of life.
If you do run into issues, however, consult a professional. Don’t wait when it comes to the air quality inside your home.
Conducting tests properly and getting the right help the first time around will prevent issues further down the line and ensures that your family is happy and healthy.
If you want to learn more about happy living, check out the rest of our blog.