With the rising concerns about respiratory diseases, particularly Covid-19, indoor air quality is gaining considerable attention. The buildup of environmental pollutants in interior spaces makes them unsafe and inconvenient to live in.
In this technologically advanced era, you can use different devices to perform indoor air quality testing. These sensor-based appliances help you identify what you're breathing in your home or workplace.
A Step-By-Step Guide to Testing Your Indoor Air Quality
You can visually identify large air pollutants, such as dust particles, or smell musty odors. However, some potentially toxic contaminants are odorless, tasteless, and barely visible to the naked eye. Performing an indoor air quality test is critical for detecting pollutants' presence, type, and concentration.
So, how do you measure indoor air quality? With modern technological advancements, you can quickly identify and monitor the levels of contaminants in your building. These pieces of equipment include air quality detectors, alarms, and testing kits. If you struggle with maintaining optimal air standards, here are five easy-to-implement steps on how to test indoor air quality.
1. Research Indoor Air Quality Problems and Indoor Air Pollutants to Look For
Before taking indoor air quality tests, try identifying possible sources of air pollutants. Over time, exposure to even the lowest concentrations of indoor air contaminants puts your health at risk.
The health impacts of indoor air quality include dizziness, fatigue, and ear, nose, and throat problems. You are more sensitive to poor air quality if you have respiratory issues such as allergies and asthma.
A few common sources of indoor air pollution include:
- Harmful chemical pollutants like pesticides, aerosol sprays, paints, and household products
- Biological contaminants such as pollen, mold, and pest droppings
- Building materials like paints, lead, and asbestos
- Naturally occurring substances such as dust and radon gas
- Human activities like tobacco smoke and the combustion of fuel
After identifying the primary source of indoor contaminants, determine the best IAQ measures you can implement. For example, if the source of pollutants is poor ventilation, you can opt to install an efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system.
Also, if there are carbon emissions from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, consider switching to efficient fuel or green energy sources.
2. Install an Indoor Air Quality Monitor
An indoor air quality monitor is the most suitable way to check indoor air quality. Different monitors that are available in the market measure specific air quality factors. For instance, indoor air quality sensors installed in ventilation systems monitor indoor pollutant levels.
Some monitors track indoor air quality issues and display results on the device. Others are WiFi-enabled and send the results to your linked smart devices. A monitor helps you know which contaminants you are dealing with and take necessary action to improve indoor air quality.
When you install a quality indoor air quality monitor, you enjoy benefits that include:
- Real-time detection of contaminants
- Meeting air quality standards
- Decrease in the spread of respiratory viral infections
3. Perform a Mold Test to Identify Any Mold Growth or Biological Contaminants
Inadequate ventilation and mold growth go hand in hand. Poor ventilation increases humidity levels, providing optimal conditions for molds to thrive. A common indicator of the presence of mold is a musty smell or visual evidence of mold. Mold can grow anywhere in your building, with the most common sites being plumbing lines, furnishings, leaky windows, and roofs.
Performing a mold test helps you determine the type and amount of mold present. Follow the directions on the mold test kit, and send it to the lab for analysis.
Controlling your building’s relative humidity helps prevent the condensation of moisture on surfaces. Additionally, you control other biological pollutants, such as pests that thrive in warm dirty areas, such as rats, dust mites, and roaches. Regular cleaning or replacing of surfaces and furnishings will also control the concentration of biological allergens.
4. Utilize a Carbon Monoxide Detector or Alarm to Detect Harmful Gases
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, tasteless gas that is highly toxic to the body. Fossil fuel combustion in appliances such as water heaters, clothes dryers, and fireplaces is the most common source of CO in indoor air. Other hazardous by-products of combustion include sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.
Inhaling carbon monoxide disrupts your body’s ability to absorb and distribute oxygen, resulting in the death of cells and tissues. Short-term carbon monoxide poisoning signs and symptoms present themselves like flu, thus making it challenging to identify. Prolonged exposure to high concentrations of CO leads to death.
You can use a carbon monoxide detector to assess indoor air quality. The CO sensor detects the presence or increasing levels of carbon monoxide in indoor environments and triggers an alarm. Ideally, you can mount the sensors in bedrooms and near fuel-burning devices on each house floor.
5. Measure Radon Levels Using a Test Kit
Radon gas comes from the breakdown of radioactive metals in groundwater, soil, and rocks. Like carbon monoxide, the gas is odorless and often undetectable. The gas seeps into buildings through cracks in walls and floors. Higher concentrations are likely to occur in basements.
Radon exposure does not have immediate health effects. The gas attaches to small particles, such as dust, and moves to the lungs during inhalation. Over time, increasing levels of radon damage the respiratory system and lead to lung cancer.
Use a radon test kit to measure levels of radon. The kits could have short-term or long-term use. Short-term kits measure radon levels within a few days compared to long-term kits. To control radon gas, seal cracks in floors and ensure that your building meets optimal indoor air quality standards.
Avoid the Health Risks of Indoor Air Pollution With Air Quality Sensor Technology
Indoor air pollution can be challenging to control as some pollutants result from unintentional emissions. Conducting an indoor air quality test is an excellent way to track contaminants in your workplace or home. Sensors help you monitor indoor air quality. However, with many monitors in the market, choosing the right one to fit your needs can be daunting.
Senseware IAQ products are integrated with the IoT cloud to give real-time air quality results. Our leading-edge sensors report infection risk levels, inadequate ventilation, and quantities of pollutants. As a result, you will make timely decisions to improve your air quality. Contact us today to schedule a demo and learn more about our indoor air quality monitoring capabilities.