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.