Indoor air quality testing in LaGrange, GA, and surrounding areas is important for many reasons. Being more concentrated indoors, pollutants can be harmful, especially to children, the elderly, and people with underlying health issues. That makes testing extremely important. Gases, chemicals, and even living organisms can trigger anything from allergy-like symptoms to respiratory illnesses, heart disease, cancer, and even death (especially in the case of carbon monoxide).
How Indoor Air Quality Is Tested
There are indoor air quality (IAQ) monitors and test kits you can buy. A monitor may use electrochemical sensors to detect toxins, or a laser to estimate the concentration of particulates in an area. Some test kits provide instant results while others must be properly set up and then sent to a lab for analysis. The type of testing product used depends on the pollutant you suspect or that a professional thinks is most likely present.
Types of Indoor Air Quality Tests
Some of the most common indoor pollutants to test for include:
- Mold: While mold is extremely common and often harmless, some molds can be extremely dangerous. Basic home test kits may only tell you if mold is present. Professional test equipment can determine the type of mold and how much there is. This can help determine the exact source of the mold so preventive measures can be taken in addition to cleanup and remediation.
- Carbon Monoxide: A carbon monoxide detector, which works similarly to a smoke detector, is a basic indoor air quality testing device. It is required by law, especially in any home that has gas appliances. When properly installed, it will measure carbon monoxide levels continuously and trigger a loud alarm if high levels are detected.
- Radon: Radon is a toxic gas that cannot be detected by sight or smell. It occurs naturally in the ground and can seep through cracks in floors, foundations, and pipes. A short-term radon tester is placed in a high-risk area of a home and, after a specified amount of time, is sent to a lab for analysis. Depending on the test, it may collect samples for a few days or a few months. Some long-term monitors function similarly to carbon monoxide detectors on a ground floor.
- Formaldehyde: A VOC, formaldehyde is an airborne chemical present in many building materials as well as glues, paints, and paper products. It’s even found in personal care products. Formaldehyde usually has a strong odor and can cause eye/nose/throat irritation, breathing problems, and neurological effects. Test kits are available but it’s recommended to have a professional who has the training and equipment for precise testing.
- Lead: Lead was once commonly used in paint, which the U.S. government has banned since 1978. Exposure is more likely when lead-based paint is removed by scraping, sanding, or open-flame burning. It’s usually not a problem if left alone, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, unless the paint is peeling, cracking, or chipping or becomes damp. The concern (especially for children) is when it becomes airborne, is breathed in, or swallowed.
Other Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
Secondhand smoke, due to the harmful effects of chemicals in burning tobacco products, is a major IAQ issue. Test kits can identify chemicals from tobacco smoke, including nicotine, whether the source is from within your home or a nearby apartment.
Combustion pollutants originate from fuel-burning appliances that are unvented or improperly vented. These can include gas stoves, woodstoves, space heaters, water heaters, dryers, or fireplaces. Installation issues, a lack of maintenance, and the fuel used can affect the types and quantities of pollutants emitted.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) should be considered as well. These are released by a wide range of products. Such harmful chemicals can originate from paints, paint strippers, pesticides, building materials, furnishings, varnishes, and even consumer cleaning products. Air fresheners, moth repellents, and dry-cleaned clothing can emit VOCs as well.
Know When Indoor Air Quality Testing in LaGrange Is Needed
While DIY air quality test kits are relatively easy to use, they’re not always accurate. Professional testing will provide more detail and accuracy. Schedule air quality testing if:
- Health problems, such as respiratory issues, develop after moving into a home or occur mostly while you’re at home and subside when you’re away.
- There’s condensation on walls or windows, visible mold, musty odors, or other signs of poor ventilation.
- You live in an older home where questionable materials and construction methods may have been used.
- Any home has recently been renovated, especially if older materials have been disturbed or construction practices that can decrease IAQ issues weren’t used.
Know What Next Steps to Take
Indoor air quality testing in LaGrange is the first step to improving the air you breathe. To eliminate pollutants, you’ll need to take measures such as opening windows, using fans, scrubbing mold, and improving ventilation. At Airforce Heating and Air, we provide a range of professional indoor air quality services including HVAC maintenance, ionization systems, air purifiers, energy-recovery ventilators, UV lamps, and humidifiers. To learn more, book an appointment online or call 706-471-1469 today.