Why should you test your home’s air quality? You clean, sanitize and dust so there shouldn’t be a logical need right? Wrong. The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates indoor air pollution can be up to 5x more concentrated in your home than outside.1 In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO), estimated that 7 million people die worldwide each year as a result of exposure to air pollution.2 Even if you have an air purifier, that doesn’t mean you’re fully protected. Not every purification system can handle every pollutant.
With the potential for exposure to a wide range of pollutants, you need to test your home’s air quality now if you haven’t done so.
Air Quality Testing
There are various ways to test air quality. Although more affordable, DIY testing isn’t as accurate as professional testing. This is one consideration, but you also have to factor in what to look for. Indoor air quality can be affected by these three main types of pollutants:
Biological Air Pollutants
- Microorganisms: Viruses, bacteria, and toxins from other microorganisms can spread throughout your home through the ventilation system. Common cold viruses, influenza, and bacteria such as streptococci and staphylococci may be present.
- Mold: Is often detectable with a musty smell. Symptoms of exposure include sore throat, nasal congestion, and eye irritation as well as asthma attacks and other respiratory symptoms. Mold can be controlled by keeping humidity levels down.
- Pollen: Trees, grasses, and weeds release pollen into the air that’s carried inside on your clothing and by pets. You can keep pollen out by closing your windows, drying your clothes in a dryer and not outside, and removing high pollen producing plants on your property.
- Dust Mites: Are present in bedding, mattresses, carpets, curtains, and upholstered furniture. Dust mites release potent allergens but can be reduced by covering mattresses and pillows, washing bedding in hot water, and lowering the humidity. Vacuuming or wiping away allergens also helps.
Chemical Air Pollutants
Chemicals that may be present in your home can include:
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): Formaldehyde, benzene, and other VOCs are present in cleaners, paints, disinfectants, and building materials. Long term exposure can cause organ and nervous system damage, but short-term symptoms may occur as well if your home isn’t properly ventilated, and you continue using harsh chemical substances.
- Lead: Deteriorated lead paint can release led particles into the air. High levels can cause biological harm and even kill. If your home was painted prior to 1978, it may have dangerous lead which should be removed by a professional.
- Radon: A colorless, odorless radioactive gas that originates from naturally occurring underground uranium sources. Radon is a leading cause of lung cancer. Testing your home is important since it can take years to experience symptoms or illness.
Combustion pollutants are not only toxic, but their presence can indicate hidden problems that can put your home at risk of fire or an explosion. Common culprits include:
- Tobacco Smoke: Secondhand smoke, otherwise known as environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), contains thousands of compounds, including dozens of carcinogens. It can cause lung cancer, even in non-smokers and is responsible for respiratory conditions and infections in children and infants.
- Carbon Monoxide: Low concentrations of CO gas can make you feel sick. In high concentrations, it is deadly. Since CO is usually emitted from cars, fireplaces, stoves, and other things that burn fossil fuels, elevated levels can signal a malfunctioning appliance. Carbon monoxide detectors should be on every level of your home.
Schedule Professional Indoor Air Quality Testing
Elmer’s Air Conditioning and Plumbing has various tools and equipment to perform air quality testing and check for all common types of indoor air pollution. Our team can perform air duct sealing, air duct cleaning, and install air cleaners, purifiers, UV lights, ventilation systems, or humidifiers/dehumidifiers to ensure your home’s air is safe to breathe. Call 210-333-5637 today to schedule service.