How Can You Check the Air Quality in Your House

crawfordmech June 29, 2022

Your house is a safe, comfortable environment you depend on to protect you from outside elements. However, air pollutants and particulates can creep inside, reducing air quality and creating health concerns. Some hazards, like radon and carbon monoxide, are undetectable without proper testing. Getting your home air quality tested can help protect you from health problems and catch airborne contaminants before they become dangerous. Use this guide to help you measure indoor air quality and keep your home’s air clean and safe. 

What Is an Indoor Air Quality Test?

If you want to measure indoor air quality in your home, consider getting an air quality test. These tests will measure aspects of your home’s environment to determine whether air quality is dangerous or safe. Tests will often look for mold, radon, carbon monoxide and allergens. Testing the quality will let you know exactly what is in your air to protect yourself from harmful pollutants and keep your home’s air fresh and clean. 

There are several different air quality tests you can perform on your home. Some require the assistance of a professional, so consult a reputable company for help with more complex testing. 

Signs of Poor Indoor Air Quality

There are many pollutants, allergens and particulates floating around in the air. Small debris naturally travels inside, carried by the wind, people and pets. Too many of these particulates can cause health problems if left unchecked for you and your household. While there are many causes of home air pollution, here are some signs you might have poor air quality inside:

Bad Ventilation

If you’re seeing condensation build-up on windows and walls or smelling musty air, you may have poor ventilation. Visible mold build-up can also indicate bad ventilation. When air is improperly vented from the home, water and dampness can collect on surfaces, leading to mold and breathing issues. Check walls, objects and dark corners for signs of condensation or mold to see if you have a ventilation problem. 

Old Home or HVAC

Older homes were often built with materials and construction practices that emit harmful pollutants and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are just a few of the common problems some old homes experience, so always get your older house checked for safety issues. Older paints often had lead or asbestos inside, which can lead to health problems after extended exposure. The construction and design of old homes might also have poorer ventilation than newer homes. If your home is from the 1970s or older, it might have a less-than-adequate air quality. 

Older HVAC systems can also indicate poor air quality. When properly maintained, some systems can last for 15 to 20 years. If your HVAC is older than this or hasn’t been serviced recently, it could be contributing to air issues. As HVAC systems age, they begin to function less efficiently. Older models may also contain poor or dangerous materials, so have your unit inspected to see if it’s causing poor air quality. 

Strange Noises and Smells

If you notice unusual sounds or smells in your house, you might have air quality problems. Your HVAC system or poor ventilation could cause strange sounds. If you leave your home and notice a musty smell when you return or smell stale air throughout the day, it could be a sign of mold and pollutants. 

What Types of Mold Should I Test For?

Many people warn of the dangers of black mold and its severe health effects. However, color does not indicate the danger posed by a mold. Mold infestations can cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems, so finding and removing the mold, regardless of mold type, is essential to maintain the health of your home. 

Air pollution tests often won’t test for mold, so you’ll want to perform a separate mold test to learn more about mold levels in your home. Airborne mold spores float around in the air and, in large concentrations, can cause health problems. A mold test will compare the more spore concentration indoors to the amount of mold outdoors to find out if you have an excessive amount of mold in your home. 

Home mold tests are often inaccurate, so schedule a mold test with a professional company. This will give you more accurate results, and a professional will help walk you through the steps you’ll need to take to remove the mold from your home. Leave mold testing and removal to trained mold removal services for the safest and most effective results. 

How to Test for Air Pollution in Your Home?

When deciding how to check air quality in your home, know that you won’t need to test for every possible air contamination. Air pollutants are often easy to narrow down based on location, house and symptoms. You can perform several tests to determine if you have hazards contributing to low air quality. If you’re experiencing consistent health issues at home without an apparent cause, consult a doctor for possible treatments and origins. 

Air Quality Monitor

To test air quality in your home, you can purchase an indoor air quality monitor. These monitors often use electrochemical sensors, lasers or other technology to measure particulates and toxins in the air. Different models will test for various factors and have added features. Some air monitors can even measure temperature and humidity indoors. 

Select a quality monitor that targets the specific concerns you have. People living in older homes with lower-quality construction might want a monitor that detects carbon monoxide or radon. Someone living in an area with high pollution may purchase a monitor that checks for particulate matter. Shop around and find the air quality monitor that best suits your needs. Always contact a professional to install your monitor to ensure it works properly. 

Radon Test

Radon gas is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that occurs when uranium breaks down. Exposure to higher rates of radon can lead to lung cancer, so checking your home’s radon levels is essential to your safety. You can buy short, 90-day radon tests or tests that take up to a year in home improvement stores or online. Radon should be measured over many days, as its levels can change due to the time of year and weather. 

Once your test is complete, you’ll need to send your data to a lab to receive your results. If the lab finds concerning or dangerous radon levels in your home, you’ll need to call in a professional to help seal up areas where radon is leaking into your home. 

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Carbon monoxide, like radon, is colorless, odorless and tasteless. If left unchecked, it can cause nausea, headaches, confusion, dizziness and even loss of consciousness or death. Carbon monoxide is produced by gas-powered and gas-using appliances like stoves, dryers and heaters. To check air quality in a room, simply install a carbon monoxide detector in each sleeping area and level of the house. If your alarms go off, contact 911 or visit a health professional for an evaluation and next steps. 

Trust Crawford Mechanical Services for Expert HVAC Help

Home safety is essential to maintaining a comfortable, healthy living space. HVAC systems need professional maintenance and repair to keep running efficiently and safely. Protect your home from poor air quality with expert assistance from Crawford Mechanical Services. Our team has been delivering high-quality, fast services to residents in central Ohio for over 25 years. We can help you diagnose your HVAC issues and will provide speedy, superior results when you request us for installation, repair or replacement. If you’re experiencing HVAC issues, contact us to get started fixing your system today!