European and American studies reveal that 80% to 90% of our time is spent indoors. Time at home, time at work and school, and other indoor activities make it necessary to devote some thought to the air we breathe inside.
Indoor air pollutants such as allergens, volatile organic compounds, and other particulates circulate daily, potentially wreaking havoc on your health. Prolonged exposure to indoor air pollution can cause respiratory issues, fatigue, headaches, and other chronic conditions if contamination levels are not adequately addressed and reduced.
Contributing Factors to Poor Indoor Air Quality
Some of the most common contributing factors to poor indoor air quality in your home are surprisingly easy to fix. Taking quick action to reduce or eliminate these issues will protect your HVAC system, preserving your health and that of your loved ones. Here are some of the most common situations where indoor air quality would be impacted.
A home that is locked up tight holds stagnant, saturated air that circulates through your system. Insufficient ventilation in your home leads to an excessive buildup of pollutants like carbon monoxide, radon, and volatile organic compounds.
Mold and Moisture Buildup
Humid, damp conditions in your home will quickly lead to the growth of mold, mildew, and other harmful fungi that release spores. These spores are hazardous to your health, particularly for those with asthma or other pre-existing respiratory conditions.
Use of Household Chemicals
Common household cleaning agents, pesticides, air fresheners, perfumes, and body sprays can release volatile organic compounds into the air you breathe. All-natural cleaners such as essential oils, vinegar, and water reduce levels of harmful substances in your home.
Wood-burning fireplaces, gas stoves, and other off-gassing appliances release harmful particles into the air. Proper ventilation of your home is necessary to offset the effects of these devices.
Dust and Allergens
Pet dander, dust, and rodent droppings quickly accumulate in your home and ductwork, contributing to poor indoor air quality that causes uncomfortable symptoms.
Signs of poor indoor air quality include:
- Sneezing, coughing
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Respiratory issues
- Trouble sleeping
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s time to consider having an indoor air quality assessment to ensure you provide the best indoor environment for you and your family.
What Is an Indoor Air Quality Test?
An indoor air quality test is a comprehensive assessment of the air quality in your home. Its purpose is to identify potential sources of indoor pollution and determine if the air is optimal to breathe.
Air tests involve the collection of several air samples that are analyzed in a laboratory for various contaminants and pollutants like radon, carbon monoxide, allergens, and dangerous chemicals present at unsafe levels. Air quality tests may also evaluate your home’s current temperature, humidity, and ventilation levels. These tests require a professional to collect and analyze the air to prevent accidental contamination.
Testing indoor air quality is done for distinct reasons, including identifying the source of health issues, evaluating the effectiveness of your HVAC filtration system, and ensuring compliance with local regulations. In addition, these tests provide valuable information to help you address and correct indoor air quality issues.
What Types of Indoor Air Quality Tests Are Available?
There are Indoor air quality tests for various pollutants and contaminants, even some you may not know exist.
Tests can be run for the following items:
- Volatile organic compounds
- Mold and Mildew
- Household chemicals
Professional services for indoor testing range from simple assessments to more in-depth evaluations. Experienced indoor air quality specialists can provide a detailed analysis of your home and identify the root causes of your quality issues.
Trained and certified professionals conduct indoor air quality testing using advanced methods. Simple testing kits only offer a small number of pollutant results, whereas a detailed professional test can accurately determine the full range of pollutants that are present in your indoor air. A trained professional usually conducts a site inspection at your home to identify potential sources of pollution like mold growth, water damage, and poor ventilation. Then, air and surface sampling will be performed to ensure that all areas of your home are in good condition and contribute to a healthy indoor environment.
Professional indoor air quality assessments include detailed reports that summarize the findings of the testing process and recommend steps for correcting deficiencies to improve your home environment.
How Often Should I Have Indoor Air Quality Tested?
The frequency at which you should have your indoor air quality tested depends on several factors. If you are experiencing symptoms or moving through some of these life situations, consider having your air quality tested as soon as possible.
Moving to a New Home
If your home has recently undergone renovations or you’ve moved into a new home, it’s a sensible idea to have a test performed to ensure that indoor air quality is safe to breathe.
Suffering From Health Issues and Concerns
If you or any household member has developed respiratory issues or other health problems related to poor indoor air quality, perform an air test to identify pollutants and rule out other probable causes of poor health. Finding the underlying cause of air quality issues and taking steps to correct them will be integral to protecting health in the future.
Planning for Regular HVAC Maintenance
As part of a home and HVAC maintenance plan, testing indoor air quality annually is the best defense for protecting your heating and cooling system and your health. In addition, this helps to identify and correct potential issues before you experience more severe consequences.
If you have pets, live with smokers, or use specific products in your home that release harmful byproducts, it may be necessary to have an indoor air quality test more often than once yearly. Certain circumstances contribute to excessive levels of pollution in the air, and doing what you can reduce and eliminate these situations will contribute to a cleaner home environment.
Choosing the Right Schedule for You
If you are unsure how often to schedule your indoor air quality test, start by speaking with an HVAC professional. Begin with an inspection and evaluation that will reveal the condition of your system and your home. Then, a qualified HVAC professional can recommend products and services that will improve your home’s comfort and efficiency and clean up indoor air quality in accessible and sustainable ways. Professionals can also recommend a periodic testing schedule.
Outstanding Indoor Air Quality Services
Providing exceptional services for valued customers in Bastrop and beyond, our team at Blue Ribbon Cooling & Heating offers furnace and AC repair, installation, and maintenance as well as indoor air quality assessment and solutions. Your home’s comfort and energy efficiency are our top priorities. If you suspect air quality issues in your home, contact us today for an assessment and recommendations that will improve your indoor environment and protect your family.