Retail Air Quality Tests Might Not be Doing the Trick
Posted in Air Quality, on February 03, 2022
Many of your colleagues and neighbours are booking indoor air quality testing to assess their living and working environments. While many DIY air quality testing kits are available at the hardware store, it can be more complicated to use them than you think. One of the most significant barriers to indoor air quality improvement is understanding. At SafeAir, the focus of our IAQ testing is to help you identify areas of concern and uncover hidden issues — and understand the where and why of these problems.
The Problem with Retail Air Quality Tests
What’s wrong with DIY air quality testing? Despite what the package might tell you, hardware store testing kits can be rife with problems and issues that can result in a lot of confusion. The problems SafeAir has found with these kits are:
Quality: DIY tools are generally one-time-use and may not be as sterile, well-made, or effective as our professional-grade tools and services. Quality matters!
Sensitivity: There are dozens of common indoor air quality problems, and many DIY tests are too broad to detect which ones are affecting your home. Take mold, for example. If you have mold growing in your laundry room, you might accidentally track spores into the bedroom, creating a secondary infestation. A DIY test may not be strong enough to locate this new colony because it’s not sensitive enough to detect it.
False Positives: A false positive can also happen in our mold example. Mold spores can travel relatively far distances in your home through air currents or on the bottom of feet or pets, leading to false positives on simplistic DIY kits. Professional air quality testing eliminates this problem — if anything, inconclusive results often indicate we need to take a deeper look.
User Error: Even if your kit comes with great instructions, it can be astonishingly easy to make mistakes that lead to ruined tests. Then there’s interpreting the results — it’s easy to make mistakes or misunderstand complex results (see false positives!).
Not Enough Information: Another common issue with DIY kits is that they don’t provide great instructions or help you understand what the results mean — industry jargon can be confusing and difficult to read! At SafeAir, one of our priorities is to make sure that you understand the results of your air quality test results by providing guidance and explaining terms or values.
The Value of Money
Saving money by doing DIY air quality testing is a false economy. While these kits may be less money up-front, all of the problems listed above can be avoided with a professional air quality test.
For example: if you misunderstand the results of a mold test because there isn’t enough information provided with the kit or it’s not sensitive enough, you may inadvertently allow a mold infestation to grow unchecked. Professional knowledge also guides out testing strategies. For example: radon testing units must be placed very carefully to avoid false positives, but are also more accurate when performed over a long-term, as opposed to the short-term tests available at the hardware store.
A professional air quality test delivers accurate, trustworthy results the first time. At SafeAir, we use professional-quality tools and equipment that ensure sterile results and eliminate cross-contamination. We’ll also help you interpret our findings so that you have a clear idea of what to do next.
The Benefits of Air Quality Tests
There are many great reasons to do indoor air quality testing at home or at work. Here are a few of our top benefits:
- Better sleep.
- Clear skin.
- Fewer asthma attacks and problems related to chronic lung conditions
- Improved indoor safety.
- Improved indoor comfort.
- Reductions in indoor dust.
- Prevents mold growth.
- Identifies lead dust or asbestos.
- Improved long-term health.
Covid-19 has put indoor air quality under the microscope and has increased interest and awareness in how our indoor environment can affect our health and wellness. Indoor air quality testing can help you identify what problems affect your home and offer concrete solutions to make lasting improvements. To learn more about what SafeAir can offer, use our contact page to speak to our team.