We spend a lot of time inside our house, and if unchecked, contaminated air can wreak havoc on our health. The World Health Organization estimates that 7 million people die every year due to air pollution. Roughly 80% of people living in urban areas are exposed to poor air quality that exceeds the WHO’s guided limits. This includes the air outside as well as inside our homes.

Guide to Testing Your Home Air Quality

(Pixabay / Victoria_Borodinova)

Testing home air quality can give you detailed insights into the contaminants in your home. Understanding these pollutants can also help in guessing the right things to test. For example, smoke, radon, carbon monoxide, asthma triggers and volatile compounds are some of the risky pollutants that can cause harm to your health.

Molds are another issue that can form due to humidity and temperature differences. Dust particles may also present a challenge if they linger in the house unchecked. There are so many risk factors that affect indoor air quality (IAQ), and they differ by country, state, etc. If you know these risks, you can estimate how much this pollution affects your home and its residents. Here are some ways to test indoor air:

Purchase a Good Air Quality Monitor

Here are a few FAQs to help you with the purchase:

What does an air monitor test? There are different models that test particles, humidity, chemicals, temperature, and carbon monoxide. Some also measure carbon dioxide. It is suggested that you look at the specifications of a model before purchase. The most important thing to measure is dust particles and pollen, so make sure to factor this into your buying decision.

How does an air monitor work? The exact functionality is listed on every device manual. Most models come with a digital display that keeps flashing the indoor air quality in real-time. Some devices can connect to your phone and keep you updated via their web application. Monitors can also pair with other home devices like the thermostat to regulate air quality and temperature.

Price: The cheapest models go for less than $50, and the best ones have no set price limit but expect to pay somewhere around $250 for a decent model. A good air quality monitor does not come cheap, but it is also a one-time investment so you can try to fit it within your budget. Foobot, Awair Glow and Netatmo are some good commercial devices ranging between $99-200.

Check for Air Mold

Mold is one of the most common air pollutants in homes. It can go into the lungs and cause chronic respiratory illness. A home mold test is the device that measures mold particles in the air and warns you about potential population.

A home mold test is very common and can be done through simple equipment. You can buy a home mold test kit that contains a substance to catch mold particles in a dish. Some models also include a manual or a lab guide.

Since most homes contain mold particles, you’re likely to find the mold growing on the tester after a while. Once you detect the mold, compare the number of particles with the mold outside and see if they are excessive.

You can also inquire about professional mold removal services if the tests come out positive. Professional mold cleanup teams have the equipment and experience necessary to remove mold. Depending on the type of mold, trying to mitigate it yourself can compromise your health.

Consider Installing Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Carbon monoxide (CO) is one of the most dangerous air toxins that can affect your health if ignored. CO is also known as a silent killer because it is tasteless, odorless and colorless. CO originates from fuel combustion in items like gas stoves, gas dryers and furnaces.

Even if your house does not have a gas-burning device, it is recommended that you invest in a carbon monoxide alarm. Some models come in designs that can be secured into a wall or plugged into a socket. Make sure that that you’re not installing them in a corner and near sleeping/resting areas.

Since CO is lighter than air, it usually hangs high, so you can plug the alarm near ceilings. Nest Protect, Kidde and Onelink manufacture carbon monoxide alarms that usually sell for between $99 and $300 based on their features.

Conduct a Radon Test

Just like carbon monoxide, radon is an odorless and colorless gas that may pose serious health risks. Therefore, it is important to test it in the house using a detector.

This gas builds on the uranium in soil, so it seeps into the house through cracks and holes. Short-term radon test kits are available online to alert you about radon levels in your house. Long-term tests can also be done to calculate radon levels for 90 days up to a year.

Short-term radon test kits from companies like First Alert cost as little as $15. Once you have the right data on the amount of radon in your home, you can speak to a professional and discuss how you can eliminate this gas from your residence.