How to Determine Indoor Air Quality

Developing an indoor air quality policy can help you identify any areas of your home that may need extra attention when it comes to ventilation.

Your house is full of openingsholes in walls, windows, doors, and even ductwork for heating and cooling. While these holes allow fresh air to flow through your home, they also let pollution in from outside. For example, if theres a construction site down the street, diesel trucks used for moving materials cause massive amounts of dust that gets sucked up into the air you breathe inside your home.

Know where your vents are.

If you have an older HVAC system, it may not be necessary to do an annual inspection. But whether or not youre due for a full service visit, you should know what holes in your ductwork can cause musty smells in your home.

Think about your pets needs.

You should determine what types of indoor air quality testing services your pet needs, especially whether or not theyre sensitive to any chemicals or smells. If you have an elderly dog thats very wary of people, consider taking them to a veterinarian for a confidence boost so they can allow visitors in their home.

Ask yourself if there is a specific area of your house you want to protect.

Before determining what room or space you want to clean, think about why you want to clean it. Is there one particular place that always needs to be addressed first? A room that gets rarely used may not need as much attention.

Consider your households size.

The air in an apartment or small home tends to be much more dry and irritating than that of a larger house, where there is typically greater humidity. If you live in an area with a lot of rain or very low humidity, then consider installing a humidifier.

Calculate the amount of time it would take to develop a plan.

That depends entirely on how many people are in your home and their respective rates of movement. If you have a large family or numerous guests, figure out how long it would take for everyone to get comfortably settled before proceeding with your indoor air quality assessment.

Take advantage of natural light.

When it comes to indoor air quality, more is always better. If you can afford additional lighting in your home, add another lamp or flashlight to your room. Even if you dont use all the lights in your house regularly, exposing them to sunlight helps improve ventilation by helping move air throughout the room.

Use color-coded lights.

In certain areas of your home, like your bedroom or living room, you may want to use color-coded lighting to indicate what function each bulb performs. For example, a blue light can be used for downstairs lighting, while a red light should go in your upstairs hallway. This is a great way to create a defined space in your home and get everyone from your pets to your kids into bed by just looking at a few bulbs!

Create a schedule.

Before you can assess your indoor air quality, you need to know whats normal for your home. Is there a chemical smell? If so, what brings it out? A pet? A childs toy or homework assignment? Figure out what normal smells like in your house and write an emergency plan for dealing with hazardous materials. You also should have contact information for everyone who lives in your home as well as any employees or contractors.

How to Determine Indoor Air Quality

Developing an indoor air quality policy can help you identify any areas of your home that may need extra attention when it comes to cleaning and filtering what you breathe in.

First off, track how much dust is floating through your houseespecially at risk pieces of furniture like coffee tables or end-of-bed chairs. You can watch YouTube videos to see how easy it is to gather dirt from virtually anywhere your stuff sits.

Know where your chemicals are.

You may not realize it, but many compounds can be dangerous, even if you dont think of them as toxic. Perfluoroisobutane, or PFOA, for example, has been found in recent years in the blood of nearly every person in the United States. While we might not know how harmful this substance is to our health, what we do know is that it was once used by DuPont to make Teflona chemical that prevents grease from sticking. As such, it was released into the air around manufacturing plants and eventually ended up in our homes.

Keep your cleaners up to date.

You may not think of indoor air quality as you would outdoor air, but its important to keep on top of what chemicals are in your building that can potentially damage your carpet or couchesofa. Have professional cleaning agents certified by EPA tested regularly and replace them when needed.

Consider professional cleaning.

If you have pets, older children, or other people who love your home, be sure to ask them what they think about your indoor air quality (IAQ). If everyone thinks your IAQ is ruined, then it probably is! But if many of your family members want you to fix whatever issues you have, then do so.

Test your filter systems.

Your air conditioning system is responsible for filtering your homes air, so its important that it works properly. Whether you have an individual unit or a whole-house HVAC system, get in the habit of checking your filters before you start your machine. If one of your filters needs to be replaced, replace all of them! This may sound like a lot of work, but its worth it to avoid respiratory issues from inhaling too much dust or debris into your home.

Dont forget about your candles.

Candles are an easy way to add ambience and shine light in any room, but their smoke can be difficult to escape for those who live with sensitive airways. While you may think that leaving these products out will help prevent exposure, it actually increases the risk of harm by exposing your family to inhaled particles from the burning candle wax.

Think about your pets.

Before you start thinking about what quality air your home can provide, take time to consider your pets health. If you have a dog or cat, how would fresh air be good for it? Pets love interaction, while unhealthy animals suffer from stress and anxiety when they are cooped up in their rooms all day long. Ask yourself whether an indoor lifestyle is good for your furry friend and make sure to spend plenty of time with you both now that youve decided to move!

How do You Test Indoor Air Quality

Testing your indoor air quality can help you identify any sources of pollution that may exist in your home, but it can also help you understand your familys environmental conditions and make recommendations about possible improvements.

The best way to fight against pollutants is by taking action against them. That means testing your air every few months or so (or whenever you notice an odor or smell in your house), going through your cleaning products and replacing those that could cause health problems, and changing how you handle chemicals at home.

Choose the right test.

There are lots of tests you can choose from to measure your indoor air quality, but not all are equal. Just like with any other type of testing, dont just pick anything up at your local pharmacy or buy a cheap kit online. Make sure that you get a test that is accurate and will give you what you need to know.

Be sure to take the right test for your needs.

When it comes to testing indoor air quality, its important that you get the right test for your environment or issue. Some tests can be too sensitive, while others dont provide results easy to readwhich means they may not tell you anything useful. If you want a fast and effective way to see whether an area is contaminated, check its pungent gas list. That will give you a better idea of what type of test to perform to help identify any problems.

Conduct testing at the beginning of a renovation or remodel and check back after all repairs have been made.

During home renovating or building, youll likely work with many different contractors and vendors. It can be difficult to determine which items should go first, so its important to know your options for testing indoor air quality before you start your renovations. Testing allows you to compare your findings to those of others in your areais your house getting worse? Better? There are several ways to test indoor air quality and each one provides unique information about what chemicals are present.

Take additional samples if theres evidence of mold or mildew.

Thats rightyou should have multiple air samples collected whenever there is potential for mold or mildew to exist in your home. When you purchase a test kit, consider purchasing more than one box so that you can collect enough sample to accurately determine what substances are causing your smell issue.

Know what variables affect your results.

There are lots of different factors that can impact how an air quality test measures your home, so youll want to make sure you take all those into consideration before choosing a testing kit. Some tests run more frequently than others, for example, while some include data about your heating ventilator system or plumbing systems.

Understand how results vary among testers.

Every persons individual experience with air quality is different, so what works for one may not work for you or someone else. While there are guidelines regarding indoor air quality, there arent any laws regulating it like there are regulations surrounding outdoor air quality. This means your experiences testing both types of air will differ depending on factors such as your age, sex, height, and weight.

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Winter

Develop a plan for heating with air conditioning.

When you turn on your heater, what kind of heat do you get? If you have warm or cool air conditions, chances are that its not very cold in your home, which means theres probably also some hot air. While using an air conditioner is one way to reduce indoor air pollution, if you have no choice but to heat your house, try to minimize the time you spend without ventilationespecially when kids and pets are involved. The more time you can allow between ventilations, the better; as soon as possible after letting hot air build up inside plans activities that will avoid contact with particles.

Take advantage of sunlight during the winter months.

Our bodies naturally crave vitamin D when were not outdoors, so when its cold and dark outside, our brains send messages that cause us to stay inside and sleep. This makes sense when you consider what happens every year around this timeseasonal allergy attacks strike millions of people as they spend more time indoors. When you open your windows, let in some sunshine, and reset your mind and body with an indoor sun ritual, you can improve your quality of life and feel better nearly anytime anywhere.

Boost your energy savings by using lights that mimic daylight.

When you turn off incandescent bulbs, youre not saving electricityyoure just going back to what light sources used to be before compact fluorescent lamps were mainstreamed into homes in the 2000s. While CFLs can have shorter lives than incandescents, they generally last at least ten years, which is much longer than most people keep their homes for. Instead of changing out all your light fixtures, try looking for LED replacements. Not only do these products look better, they also consume up to 90 percent less energy per lamp compared to traditional lighting.

Pick products that use less power.

Many energy bills come during winter because of how we heat our homes. If youre looking for a way to reduce your own energy usage, consider furnaces, air conditioning units and heaters when choosing items for your home.

Install a ventilator or heater.

If you have an air conditioner, it should be running most of the time when youre inside. One possible solution is to install a portable ventilation system, which will pull fresh air into your home through vents placed outside his wall. Or if you live in a particularly cold house, consider using a heating humidifier instead, which works by bringing indoor moisture back up to room temperature.

Dont let the moisture from cooking and bathing build up.

Probably one of the biggest challenges for improving indoor air quality is removing the accumulated natural oils that are present in our skin and hair during winters colder months. One of the best ways to do this is by taking a shower at least once every couple of days, as well as any major staining or body odor issues.

Clean your vents and radiator fans regularly.

If you have pets, its especially important to check those heaters and air filters before you leave for work or go to bed. The dry winter air can cause your heating system to wear out faster than usual, so take advantage of that fact and run your ventilators overnight to make sure theyre working properly.

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Office

Clean your office regularly.

Dons & Joannes Rule: You should clean by yourself each time you move something from one room to another, but we also recommend cleaning up after yourselves! If theres anything dirty or broken around your home that needs to be cleaned, you want to make sure it gets done right? So grab a basket and collect all of the trashincluding scraps of paper, straws, pieces of foodand take it wherever you usually throw out garbage. In addition to keeping your space looking nice, this will help break down all those whiteboards, carpeting and wood floors over time so your space feels more like home.

Remove dust and debris from surfaces.

Dust furniture and other objects with a microfiber cloth at least once a week.

Dusting rooms gets your property sparkling faster than any vacuum cleaner can, while also removing items that easily accumulate outside of your homedust from books or papers, hair products or even candy wrappers. Cleaning comes first prevents dust from gathering elsewhere in your office (and in much higher quantities) as well as keeps you and your coworkers happy!

Sweep or vacuum your floor.

Dusting, vacuuming, and sweeping remove dust that can otherwise become airborne and pollute the air you breathe. Regularly sweep or vacuum your office and other frequently trafficked areas with a soft-bristled broom to eliminate potential dirt traps.

Replace old wallpaper with fresh paint.

Old wallpapers featured in your office can cause indoor air pollution, which can decrease productivity and encourage health issues. If youre still using a background color or image on your walls, now is a great time to update it with a new piece that inspires you and matches your other furniture. Your more spacious offices may even inspire you to get creative and decorate yourself!

Purchase an air purifier.

When youre working inside all day, it can be hard to think of anything other than getting out into the fresh air. But those with allergies or asthma should consider an indoor air purifier, as these machines can remove allergens from the air that causes your symptoms.

Open windows for some fresh air.

Sometimes you need more than just an open dooryou need outdoor air too. When its close at hand, even feeling a little bit stale or smelly, your indoor environment can seem pretty stuffy. But making sure you have plenty of window openings lets in some cleaner air from outside. According to the American Lung Association, office buildings with doorman facilities are the best opportunity for workers to improve their indoor air quality.

How to Measure Indoor Air Quality

Developing an indoor air quality plan can help you understand your needs and find solutions that will work for your home.

Want to know what questions to ask your architect or designer about possible remodels? Ask them how theyll address issues like humidity, noise, and ventilation. You also should talk to your builders or real estate agents about what considerations need to be made when selling your houseor moved out of it.

Determine your specific problems.

Have you noticed changes in the quality of air inside your home? Maybe theres more dust or other particles floating around, obscuring the natural airflow patterns that normally help us breathe easier. These unwanted particulates can be caused by many sourcesdust from construction, pet hair, dryer vents, etc.and impact everyones indoor air quality differently. It may cause allergies or respiratory issues for some, while others wont notice any difference. To determine if your home has poor indoor air quality, look for signs that you experience regularly with your family (breathing trouble, skin rashes, headaches), as well as physical symptoms like coughing and asthma attacks.

Look at where your kids play, your pets sleep, and any activities or practices that cause your family members to cough or have breathing difficulties.

When youre looking around your home for signs of bad air, consider what is in the room with the most indoor air quality issues. This may be a kitchen or bathroom, but it could also be a bedroom or sitting area. If these are rooms your children spend time in, like their bunk bed or favorite playroom, they likely contribute to poor air quality there.

Think about your lifestyle.

Before you start measuring air quality, think about your daily habits and what affects your breathing pattern. This awareness can help you better understand why an indoor environment mattersand how it can be improved.

Identify your environmental concerns.

What kind of air quality issue are you concerned about? The most common indoor pollution sources are household products, including dryer sheets, fabric softeners or detergents, paint fumes, perfumes, chemicals from plants like lavender and lemon grass, etc.

Explore ways to improve ventilation and air quality.

When youre looking to measure indoor air quality, one of the first things you should consider is how to improve ventilation and airflow. Without adequate circulation of outdoor air, your office or home can quickly become too hot and stuffy, leading to headaches and discomfort.

Dont forget about your appliances.

Your refrigerator, stove, air conditionerand all those other gizmos you have in your home or officecontain chemicals that emit certain gases as they break down. These fumes can negatively affect your health and the quality of your food if its not stored properly. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), common household products such as personal computers and television sets contribute to poor indoor air quality. To avoid inhaling harmful compounds from your electronics and furniture, make sure to take everything out of useable condition before moving items into storage.

How to Test Indoor Air Quality

An air quality test can reveal information about the levels of mold, pollen, and other potential pollutants that you may not be aware of.

When youre looking for an indoor testing venue, make sure to ask about available options for air samples, as well as guidelines for collection and analysis.

Such tests can also help you identify any sources of irritation or contamination in your home.

If you have allergies, theres a good chance your house is full of things that could trigger respiratory congestion and redness in your eyes or ears. A test will let you know what causes these symptoms and allow you to make recommendations about cleaning agents and materials that cause problems for you.

Conduct an inspection of your home.

Before you can correct any potential air pollution sources in your home, youll need to identify them. This means walking through your house taking note of anything that might be causing problems for your indoor air quality or could potentially be improved.

Take note of areas with a lot of mold.

If you see signs of growing mold in your home, thats one very obvious indicator that your air is probably polluted., Although it can be hard to determine if any visible mold stains your carpet or walls, small amounts of black mold growth can often appear like dirt on your window glass. While not necessarily an indication of damage itself, dirty windows are another sign to look for when checking indoor air quality.

Check for signs of fire damage.

If your home has smells that smell like smoke, you may have a fire burning somewhere in your house. You may also see dark spots on your ceilings or walls that are black from soot or ash, even if theres no sign of heat damage! Contact an environmental specialist to test your air quality and make sure theres no danger of wildfire.

Ask anyone you know has issues with respiratory problems or allergies to think about getting tested as well.

Its important to get your air quality measured, especially if you live with an allergy that makes you break out in hives or suffer other symptoms every time you breathe. If you notice a correlation between how often you sneeze or have headaches and the levels of certain toxins in your home, ask your doctor about having your air samples analyzed by a professional certified lab analyst.

Know your air quality index.

Searching for an indoor air purifier is like searching for a new pair of glasses youll definitely find a few brands that are well-known and reputable, but its also important to ensure that you purchase a device that meets or exceeds federal standards. While there may not be strict requirements under the law regarding which type of air filter your business uses, its essential to invest in a unit that filters out allergens and removes chemicals such as mold, dust, cigarette smoke and more.

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Modern homes are often equipped with a variety of electronic devices that use power, but these devices also create other types of pollution.

When you turn on your computer or tablet, its heating up for several minutesand in some cases, hours. Electricity generates heat when flowing through wires, and many electronics require electricity to function. Electronics generate an average of 48 watts per square foot in your home, which is more than most fans or air conditioners. That means theres plenty of opportunity for energy waste in the places where you spend your time.

Computers, cell phones, and televisions are just some of the devices that can cause air pollution.

If youre concerned about how technology is affecting your health, consider whats often referred to as electronic wastethe parts and components used in our digital world that most people dont need and can even be harmful. When you do have to get rid of something electronic, take care of those chips and screens by storing them properly.

To improve indoor air quality, organize your home so all devices are out of use at night or when not in use.

Your couch can be your best friendor your worst enemywhen it comes to improving indoor air quality. One of the main causes of poor indoor air is old furniture, including couches and chairs. Whether you live with friends or family, they may leave their used coffee cups behind or stacks of magazines and catalogs that they havent looked at for months. This clutter creates an environment where dust feeds and grows, leading to decreased air quality and health issues.

Choose energy-efficient lamps and try self-lighting candles.

Energy-saving light bulbs and candle lighting can be just as effective when used in place of standard lamp options, depending on your project goal. While bulb types may vary from room to room, there are some generalizations that apply to all areasenergy efficiency matters! And if youre looking for affordable decor items, consider these alternatives which could yield stunning results without breaking the bank.

Ventilate your home properly and avoid using it while cooking or baking.

If youre heating up any flammable materials in your kitchen, like oil or butter, make sure to ventilate well and avoid burning yourself or your food. Of course, if you need to cook something quickly in your oven, be sure to reduce the heat as much as possible. And if you are working with anything especially sensitive (like ingredients that may smell bad), make sure to take extra care not to burn the house down.

Wash your hands and dont smoke.

The simplest way to improve indoor air quality is to wash your hands so you dont pass along germs to other people. This also applies to cigarettes, which can cause serious health problems if someone else in your home smokes.

Use incandescent light instead of LEDs.

When it comes to lighting your room, consider what you want from your life in terms of energy efficiency and conservation. An LED bulb is more efficient than an old-fashioned tungsten light, but it isnt perfect for avoiding environmental damage. Using less electricity through lighting is one of the best ways to reduce your impact on climate change, so when choosing a new light source, opt for something that uses fewer watts rather than greater intensity.

How to Test Indoor Air Quality

Testing your indoor air quality can help you identify any problems with your ventilation or heating/cooling systems.

If you have trouble breathing, then your house may contain an allergy-causing chemical or vapor. A professional air quality test can tell you what chemicals are in your home so you can investigate their sources and determine whether theyre even possible allergens. You will also want to check your HVAC system for leaks and make sure your ducts arent causing your problem either by being clogged up with dust or not operating efficiently.

Choose the right test.

There are lots of air quality tests you can choose from, but not all are equal. You want to pick a testing kit thats going to give you accurate results for your homeand what better way to do that than with a professional lab test? At Clean Air Solutions, we use equipment provided by an accredited third-party laboratory, which means their testing protocol has been reviewed and approved by representatives from the American Association of Laboratories for Certification (AALC). With this certification, they ensure their testing procedures meet or exceed uniform standards set out by the AALC in order to provide consistent accuracy throughout the country.

The ideal test for detecting environmental pollutants is a non-conductive ink pen stain test, which will allow you to see any stains on your sheets so you can take appropriate action.

This type of test is perfect to check whether your bedding items are able to detect dust mites, pet dander and other common indoor allergens. If its not clear if your bedroom is affected by seasonal allergy symptoms, ask your doctor about testing your air quality with a simple home kit.

Talk to your heater, vent and air conditioning company.

If you have any questions about whether or not indoor air quality is important to you, be sure to talk to them first. Your HVAC (heating, ventilation and cooling) systemyour furnace and ACis what makes your home comfortable in terms of temperature, so make sure to ask anyone who can help out

Find the right contractor.

If youre thinking about testing your indoor air quality, chances are you have a question regarding who should perform these tests. The best person for the job is a specialista plumber or builder who has years of experience checking water heater vapor buildups and dusting ceilings and floors with minimal risk to human health. However, if you feel confident enough doing it yourself, dont hesitate to try! Its much easier than you might think and can provide valuable information regarding both your home and any future residences you may live in.

Be sure to hire a qualified contractor.

If youre looking at home air quality tests for your room or whole house, think about who has access to your personal information. Is it someone close to you who knows where you live and could potentially find out what types of allergies you have? A professional is right person to run these tests and provide advice if there are readings that need attention.

Follow all safety protocols.

Before you start testing your indoor air quality, make sure youve taken the time to check what resources are available to you online and talk to your local authorities about whether there are rules regarding testing in your area. Its important to follow all relevant regulations, as doing so may allow your facility to identify environmental issues that otherwise would have gone undetected.

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Office

Clean your office space regularly.

Removing dust and debris from your workspace can help air out your office and prevent unwanted particles from getting into your documents and files. You should clean your office at least once a year during spring cleaning, like you do with your home. This includes the computer, keyboards, desks and chairs, and other work areas.

Update your HVAC system.

Your heating and cooling system is more than just the air conditioning or heater; its also what brings indoor air into your home. When you have an old, broken AC unit or furnace, your house can feel stuffy because it doesnt release moisture from its venting systems properly. That means that when you run your A/C unit, there are dry winter winds while the humidifier runs, filling the room with steamand germs! You want all of those bad actors sucked out of the air before your cool kids show up for school.

Choose energy-efficient products.

When you replace old office equipment like computers or printers with newer models, dont print out documents but save them as files instead. You can also edit your emails and other document replacements so there is less of a need for printing.

Install ceiling fans.

Ceiling fans help circulate air in your office and reduce the likelihood of dust getting blown throughout the room. Dust is one of those indoor pollutants that can cause irritation in your lungs and even trigger allergies, so keeping the air clear is definitely worth considering!

Get rid of dust.

Dust is one of the simplest ways to improve indoor air quality, but it can also be one of your offices biggest problems. If you havent already, bring in a vacuum cleaner or twoor have everyone who works at your firm do so! When choosing a model, look for an upright design with a powerful motor and a removable filter cartridge. [substeps] You may even want to invest in a small handheld vacuum too, especially if you work in a large space where clutter can be an issue. Be sure to carry around plenty of replacement filters

Use low-flow materials.

Look for signs of mold or mildew in your office environment? If so, you have an urgent matter on your hands that needs addressing with all handsyour cleaning crews hands! While it can be overwhelming to deal with environmental causes of indoor air pollution, there are plenty of ways you can minimize the source of poor air quality in your workspace.

Provide natural light.

Open up your windows and let the sun shine in! When youre working inside, make sure there is plenty of natural light entering your office. This will improve air quality and help you get more daylighting during the day.

Air Knights Heating and Cooling logo, HVAC and Furnace repair in St. Paul and Minneapolis, MN
Air Knights Heating & Cooling is a local, family-owned HVAC company serving the Minneapolis – St Paul MN area.

Location

Air Knights Heating & Cooling, Inc.
License MB 704771
5885 149th St W, Unit 101E
Apple Valley, MN 55124

612-314-8886
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram