Curious about how to test home air quality? Don’t look any further. There are different ways to test your home’s air quality.
You can use a testing device or hire an indoor air quality specialist. Either option is good. Radon and mold tests are usually recommended to test home air quality and other home tests when buying a new home. If you want an accurate way to test the air quality in your home, you may consider hiring a specialist.
Most people believe that if they dust and clean their homes regularly, they will be safe from harmful particles. However, this is not always completely effective. Sometimes, your home may still have air pollutants that general cleaning can’t remove.
And, with air pollutants being microscopic, they are not usually visible to the human eye. That is why you need to test the air quality in your home. But how can you test your home air quality?
In this guide, we’ll explore how to test the air quality in your home. We’ll walk you through how they work, the types of air pollutants they test, and ways to reduce those air pollutants.
How to Test Home Air Quality
Often, we overlook the importance of a home air quality test. Testing the quality of your home’s air can assist you in detecting air pollutants. It can also reduce your energy bill by improving the efficiency of your HVAC system.
If you want a thorough test of your home air quality, you’ll need to use a combination of several tests. You’ll also need to know which air pollutants you want to test. Below are the most common ways how to test home air quality:
|Home Air Quality Testing Method
|Pros of this Method
|Indoor Air Monitor
|You can monitor several indicators at once and get real-time feedback.
|Can detect many different kinds of molds and goes deep into places other tests might not catch.
|Can prevent long-term health problems and let you know if your home need structural attention.
1. Install an Indoor Air Monitor
An indoor air quality monitor checks and analyses the air quality in your home. This is also one of the easiest approaches to employ when learning how to test home air quality.
Just be sure to choose a monitor that best suits your needs. For example, suppose you live in a heavily polluted area. In that case, you should opt for an indoor air quality monitor to detect particulate matter. However, if you live in an older house, you may want to invest in a model to detect carbon monoxide and radon.
What Does It Test?
Some indoor air quality monitors have electrochemical biosensors that detect air pollutants. In comparison, others detect traces of particle matter when they pass in front of the laser. While a few detect traces of carbon monoxide and formaldehyde.
Depending on the type of indoor air monitor, they can also pick up traces of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in your home. Advanced indoor air quality monitors can also detect any changes in humidity and temperature.
How Does It Work?
Most indoor air quality monitors have a screen panel that displays the current levels of air pollutants. Others indicate a comprehensive overview of your home air quality through an app. The app also includes instructions on how to test home air quality.
The good news is that most indoor air quality monitors are rechargeable, so you won’t have to buy new batteries all the time. Besides that, some advanced indoor air quality monitors have smart home connectivity. So you can pair it with other home appliances, such as thermostats. This way, you can monitor your air quality and optimize your energy consumption.
2. Mold Testing
Second in our list of how to test home air quality is mold. The mold that grows from bread that has been left for an extended time is easily noticeable. However, mold spores found in your home are less noticeable and pose a more significant risk to your health.
It would help if you did mold tests more often to limit exposure to you and your family. In addition, it’s easier to remove mold once it is detected.
What Does It Test?
Indoor air quality monitors can’t detect mold. Therefore you need mold tests. A mold test is ideal for determining if you have a mold problem in your home, especially if you aren’t sure because you haven’t noticed anything.
Suppose you’re coughing or out of breath more frequently, then it’s a telltale sign that there is possibly mold in your home. In addition, if you notice a musty odor coming from your home, you should push for a mold test.
How Does It Work?
Mold tests come in different types. For example, swabs and tape strips capture mold spores on surfaces such as tables. It takes a few minutes to receive your results. However, the results will not be able to tell you the type of mold in your home.
Unlike swabs and tape strips, you’ll be required to give the sample to a lab for analysis for air pumps. While these tests provide more accurate results than a swab test, it can take several days or weeks to receive feedback.
On the other hand, Petri dishes are placed in your home with a substance so that mold can grow. Make sure the petri dish stays closed. You leave it for a while for it to incubate.
If the mold grows in the Petri dish, you have mold. However, if it doesn’t grow, you don’t have mold in your home. The incubation period varies depending on the brand, so check the manual for the exact specifications.
3. Perform a Radon Test
Up next in our list of tips on how to test home air quality, radon has no odor, color, or taste. It is practically undetectable without a home test. Radon enters your home through gaps in your floor, walls, and other areas such as ducts. Because radon is a by-product of uranium deposits found in the soil, you can find it in low concentrations in your home.
Unlike most air pollutants, radon causes significant health problems. According to the American Cancer Society, long-term radon exposure has been related to the deaths of 21,000 people from lung cancer.
What Does It Test?
Radon tests detect the presence of radon in your home. They include long-term and short-term tests. While long-term, tests can last up from 90 days to several months. Short-term tests such as charcoal canister can detect radon for 2-7 days.
How Does It Work?
Short Term Radon Tests
For a short-term test, you can put the test object in the area closest to the ground or beneath the ground. Keep it there for at least three days to a week.
It’s essential to keep your windows and doors shut where you place the test until it is complete. In addition, avoid touching the test because it increases the likelihood of contamination, altering the results.
After the test is complete, you must send it to the lab to get your results. The results will indicate the level of radon in picocuries per liter. If the values are higher than five ppm (picocuries per liter), don’t be alarmed. You can hire a specialist to seal up any gaps to reduce and prevent further radon infestation in your home.
The specialist can also use soil suction to reduce radon levels. This involves taking pressure pipes and placing them into the floor and soil beneath your home. It creates a way for radon to escape instead of recirculating in your home. HVAC filters can also reduce radon levels.
Long-Term Radon Tests
Long-term tests can provide an accurate analysis because radon levels change throughout the year owing to weather and other causes.
You can purchase two charcoal packets and install them at the lowest level of your home, such as the basement. Furthermore, make sure they are 20 inches above the floor, ideally at your breathing levels.
Also, please keep it one foot away from walls and three feet away from windows and drafts. Furthermore, do not place it in areas with high humidity, such as bathrooms and laundry rooms, or areas with high temperatures, such as fireplaces.
4. Use a Carbon Monoxide Detector
Next in our list for how to test home air quality, carbon monoxide, like radon, has no smell or flavor, and it’s colorless. It is released from fuel combustion from appliances such as gas dryers, furnaces, and notably gas stoves. Fireplaces also produce a considerable amount of carbon monoxide.
Short-term exposure to carbon monoxide at a low concentration can cause disorientation and migraines. In contrast, long-term exposure to carbon monoxide can be fatal.
What Does It Test?
Carbon monoxide tests and detectors are a relatively simple technique when learning how to test the air quality in your home. Most detectors measure carbon monoxide concentration from zero ppm (parts per million) to 1 ppm in your home and alert you if anything changes.
How Does It Work?
Some carbon monoxide detectors need batteries. However, others need to be plugged into your wall. An electronic portable toxic multi-gas monitor is the best option for testing carbon monoxide in your home.
It differs from conventional carbon monoxide detectors in that it can detect even trace amounts of the gas. In addition, it is also battery-powered.
To use it, unbox it, and place it near a smoke detector in the ceiling because it needs to monitor the air as it rises. Health problems can occur if it detects levels between 3 ppm to 70 ppm. Especially long-term exposure to 70 ppm can lead to death.
That’s why it is the best option because you can place it at a higher height. Make sure to keep it a distance from a fireplace or a flame.
5. Volatile Organic Compound Tests
Finally on how to test home air quality, volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are air particles that can contaminate water and gases. They are made up of chemicals released from paint, gas stoves, air fresheners, and cleaning products.
In addition, VOCs are a significant source of concern because concentrations within your home can be five times higher than outside. They can also have severe short and long-term health impacts.
What Does It Test?
Volatile Organic Compound tests include home air kits used to detect different types of VOCs such as formaldehyde.
How Does It Work?
You can install some VOC tests throughout your home for continuous VOC testing. The tests take an accurate reading for volatile organic compounds. Because most of these tests are connected to your computer, you can easily download the readings.
To get the exact quantity of specific VOCs, you can use sorbet tubes or summa canisters. They enable you to collect the air and send it to the lab for analysis.
However, these tests cannot pinpoint the exact source of the VOCs in your home. Instead, you’ll need to figure out which products emit VOCs. Check your cleaning products, candles, and other products in your home that may be releasing VOCs.
How to Test Home Air Quality Conclusion
There are a lot of factors that affect the air quality in your home. Fortunately, there are easy ways how to test home air quality.
You can also hire a reputable air-quality specialist. Alternatively, you can seek advice from real estate agents who can put you in touch with a professional.
It’s also essential to prevent any further air pollutants in your home. To do so, make sure to change your air filter. You can try our HVAC subscription service, so we’ll ship a new air filter when it’s time to change it so that you can stay on top of things.
If you don’t have an HVAC filter for your home, you should consider buying an HVAC filter because it can improve your air quality. Hopefully, you should be one step closer to having a cleaner and healthier home with our guide. Thanks for checking out how to test home air quality.
FAQs about How to Test Home Air Quality
Why Is Monitoring Humidity Important?
It’s important to monitor humidity in your home because high humidity levels can cause mold growth. Lower levels can also result in skin dryness and nosebleeds in some rare cases. Monitoring humidity can also prevent “sick syndrome,” leading to serious health issues in offices. The optimal humidity level should range from 30% to 50%.
Do I Need to Test My Air in My Home?
Yes, especially if you are moving into your new home or experiencing frequent coughing. This is usually including a requirement for a home inspection. In addition, if you are remodeling your home, dust particles and other air pollutants can accumulate in the house. Also, after a natural disaster, such as a flood, you’ll need to test the air in your home.
What Can I Do if the Results Come Back Positive for Mold?
You can use a bleach and water solution or household cleaners made specifically for removing mold. Alternatively, you can also purchase an HVAC filter. Most HVAC filters are effective for capturing and removing mold. UV light is also another method to remove mold from your home.
How Do I Decide Which Home Air Quality Test to Buy?
It depends on your location and lifestyle. However, assessing your home is the best way to determine what home air quality test you need to buy. Have you done any house remodeling that may have resulted in greater VOC levels? Have you got a fireplace? Do you have any pets? Consider your needs because home air quality tests are designed for specific requirements.
Which is Better, At-Home Air Quality Tests or Hiring a Specialist?
At-home air quality tests are affordable and easy to use. Primarily tests that are designed with innovative home technology. Because they include smart technology, you can also easily connect them to your devices and some home appliances. However, some tests, like mold tests, are notoriously inaccurate. When you hire a specialist, you get more accurate and thorough results. But the cost may be higher.
What Can I Do if I Have Poor Air Quality in My Home?
There are several things you can do to improve the poor air quality in your home. You can install an HVAC filter. These will help capture and remove 99% of air pollutants found in your home. You can purchase an HVAC filter in-store or online home supply stores. Additionally, keep your home clean regularly to reduce dirt build-up. Increase the ventilation in your home as well.
How Often Is a Home Air Test Needed?
It is dependent on the air pollutants being tested. For example, you should test for Carbon Monoxide continuously in your home. While radon at least once a year. You should test for VOC regularly because VOCs are released from daily activities and standard household supplies such as cleaning products.
How Can I Reduce VOCs in My Home?
There are a few things you can do to reduce VOC levels in your home. Ventilating your home can help lower the levels of VOCs in your house. Using an air filter can also help capture and remove VOCs in your home. Opt for furniture that is made of solid wood instead of particleboard. Avoid buying products in the future that may contain VOCs.
How Much Does It Cost For to Test Home Air Quality?
The cost will also vary depending on the size of your home and the type of testing. If you want to hire an indoor air quality specialist, you can pay between $500 to $600, depending on the service provider. However, if you buy a carbon monoxide test, you can pay $15 to $150. Meanwhile, a radon test can cost between $150 and $800.
How Do You Know if You Have Poor Indoor Air Quality?
Sometimes you may experience symptoms after short or long-term exposure to poor indoor air quality. For example, you may experience frequent migraines and shortness of breath. While other times, you may notice a skin rash or dryness, depending on the type of air pollutants. However, the best way to know if you have poor indoor air quality is to do a home air quality test.