Properly Monitor your Indoor Air Quality
Posted in Air Quality, on June 07, 2021
When we speak about indoor air quality testing, most people think we’re talking about scent or how environmental pollution affects our homes. But air quality testing is about so much more than a strange smell and can affect you and your family in many different ways. This article will help you learn what good air quality is and what common allergens and household pollutants might be found in your home. In the end, we’ll share some of SafeAir’s top tips to improve indoor air quality, learned over a decade of working with homeowners across Toronto and the GTA.
Learn What “Good” Air Quality Means
Good air quality isn’t subjective — it’s something that can be measured and tested. Good air quality also isn’t stagnant; it can change and shift quite quickly! So what exactly is it?
Good air quality means:
- Adequate ventilation (in a word — fresh air!)
- Balanced temperature and humidity
- Controlled contaminants
These three points can be challenging to balance. Older homes often have air leaks or ventilation in the wrong places, throwing temperature and humidity off or being contaminated with lead paint or asbestos. On the other hand, new homes can be too air-tight, restricting flow and making mold worse. We also find different pollutants, such as Volatile Organic Compounds or particulate matter.
What to Test Your Indoor Air For
At SafeAir, we perform several different air quality tests. As part of our air quality testing services, we generally like to start with a complete visual and physical inspection — this helps us identify areas of concern or visible mold growth, asbestos, etc.
After we do a visual inspection, we usually take air samples from various spaces inside your home. These air samples give us a snapshot of the invisible pollutants and allergens present in your indoor air environment. Some tests, like radon testing, require a testing device to be placed for weeks or months in your home, while others take no longer than a few hours.
Some indoor pollutants that SafeAir tests for includes:
- Mold spores
- Carbon monoxide and dioxide
- Radon gas
- Nitrogen dioxide
Once any pollutants are identified, we’ll help you devise a plan for solving the underlying cause and help you clean up your indoor air environment.
Tips to Improve Air Quality
The good news is that air quality can be very easy (and inexpensive) to improve. Here are SafeAir’s top four tips for improving indoor air quality:
1. Lower your indoor humidity
High humidity is the number one cause of mold growth and can also encourage building materials to release harmful chemicals. For damp basements, a dehumidifier can be a big help!
2. Improve your ventilation
Fresh air can help dry out humidity and whisk away airborne contaminants. For example, we like to recommend installing exhaust fans in rooms like the kitchen and bathroom to get rid of shower steam or cooking moisture.
3. Choose scent-free products
Scents are a great example of a VOC, Volatile Organic Compound. They’re released from many sources (the tart scent of a freshly cut lemon is a great example!), but they aren’t always harmless. Many everyday cleaning products, paints, or glues release VOCs into your indoor environment. Choose low-VOC or scentless products to reduce your risk.
4. Change your furnace filter
Modern furnaces have slots for inexpensive filters that can be bought at any hardware store. They come in different densities and can be enormously helpful in reducing allergens, dander, and pollen in a house. We recommend changing them every 3-5 months for optimal efficacy.
SafeAir Can Help Your Monitor Your Indoor Air Quality
The only way to know what affects your home’s indoor air quality is to have professional indoor air quality testing in Toronto and the GTA. We’ll help you pinpoint the exact issues your home faces and develop a plan to reduce and eliminate indoor contaminants. Some figures suggest Canadians spend up to 90% of their time indoors, making a safe and healthy indoor environment no small thing.
Poor indoor air quality has a trickle-down effect on many areas of your life. Other than noticeable and acute respiratory effects like coughing, sneezing, and congestion, poor air quality can have adverse effects on your skin, hair, and eyes too. Scientists are also paying close attention to how poor air quality affects your sleep and work life, as well as your immune system as a whole.
To learn more about good air quality and what type of improvements might help your home, contact the team at SafeAir to book air quality testing for your home or business.