Indoor air quality is an important feature of any home or business, especially in a hot state like Florida where many people spend the majority of their time indoors. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most people spend 90% of their days inside and that indoor air quality is on their list for the 5 most dangerous environmental health risks.
Knowing indoor air quality can be bed for your health—or now that you know, the importance of indoor air quality testing is brought to light. Testing indoor air quality can service as a resource to identify which pollutants dominate your home’s air.
Indoor Air Quality Testing and Contaminants
Knowing which pollutants are in your air can provide you with some answers on how to improve your indoor air quality. However, there is a long list of potential pollutants and testing blindly for several different contaminated can be unnecessarily expensive. When indoor air quality testing is needed, we narrow down the type of testing needed by gauging the reaction to you or those in your home are having to the pollutants.
The EPA groups indoor air pollutants into three main categories:
1. Biological Contaminants
2. Chemical Pollutants
3. Combustible Pollutants
These can include pollutants like mold, pollen, dander, dust mites, and bacteria—all things a higher-grade air filter can pull out from the air as the air conditioner cycles. If the filter is not strong enough, hasn’t been changed in a while, or there is a leak in the duct work or air conditioning system then the biological contaminates can cycle through your home and wreak havoc. Typically, if biological contaminates are the issue within your home, you may experience symptoms relating to allergies, sinus infection, cold, and/or asthma. If you are experiencing symptoms like watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, or even shortness of breath or dizziness then you should have an indoor air quality test to confirm the presence of biological contaminates and identify the source.
As it sounds, contaminants in your air that are chemical in nature, like lead, radon, or formaldehyde, can cause chemical pollution in your air—even in your home. These types of chemicals are considered volatile organic compounds or VOCs. These VOCs are often found in certain types of cleaners, paints, building materials (wood preservatives), and disinfectants. While being used, VOCs within these products are released as gases into your home’s air and become trapped due to the “air tightness” of building construction post-1970s. Symptoms related to short-term exposure to VOCs or chemical pollutants includes skin, eye and respiratory irritation, fatigue, dizziness, and nausea. Long-term exposure can lead to liver and kidney damage as well as deterioration of the central nervous system.
Tobacco smoke and carbon monoxide are some of the most common combustible pollutants, although VOCs can make the list with a few other chemical pollutants that contaminate the air after combustion.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas and contamination often goes unnoticed. Low concentrations of carbon monoxide contamination can cause nausea, headaches, confusion, and dizziness. In high concentrations this can prove fatal. Carbon monoxide can pollute your home through a leak in a gas stove or fireplace and unventilated generators or space heaters.
Tobacco smoke, from the burning of a cigarette and the secondhand smoke cigarettes produce. If someone smokes inside their home or close to windows or entry points, this smoke can get into the air system and contaminate it. This can cause respiratory irritation and worsen asthma and allergic reactions.
If you or anyone in your home are experiencing any of the above symptoms or you have reason to believe that your home air quality is compromised, you can contact use for an indoor air quality test. AcuSystem Inspectors are Certified Green Indoor Air Quality Specialists and Certified Environmental Home Inspectors—giving us the training and knowledge to test and measure your indoor air quality and identify your home’s environmental risk factors contributing to the air quality.