California is a state that known for many things, including outdoor air pollution. Many Southern California residents are surprised to learn that their indoor air quality could be worse than the outdoor air quality. For this reason, indoor air quality testing is essential as most people spend most of their time indoors. The following are some of the steps taken to test indoor air quality.
Factors That Can Affect Indoor Air Quality
When you are sitting in your home and smell a strange odor or start coughing uncontrollably in a certain part of your house, you might wonder if you have an air quality problem. The truth is that many homes in San Diego have less than ideal indoor air quality (IAQ). Factors that affect the air quality in your home or office include carbon monoxide, mold, pet dander, radon, and other pollutants.
Radon, a colorless and odorless gas, is the number two cause of lung cancer, second only to smoking. Carbon monoxide can be fatal if allowed to build up in your home. VOCs, volatile organic compounds, are emitted by household products. These can cause or exacerbate respiratory conditions.
Particulate matter in the air can make breathing difficult, leading to wheezing or chest congestion. Some studies link poor indoor air quality to a higher risk for different infirmities that affect the cardiovascular system. Given the preceding, many people have seen the importance of testing their air quality.
Do You Need to Test Your Home or Office Indoor Air?
Suppose you purchase a home with IAQ issues, like radon. You want to find this out before buying the house. If you find yourself with chronic headaches, shortness of breath, wheezing, or coughing in your current home, you may need to investigate why it is happening. Do you notice these symptoms when you walk into one room and not another? This could help you pinpoint the areas where you need IAQ testing.
The IAQ specialists at We Care Plumbing, Heating, & Air can diagnose your home from roof to basement. We can find issues and then make recommendations on how to fix them. The solutions to mold, VOCs, pollutants, and radon air quality issues are different and will require a unique approach that our team will be happy to discuss with you.
Professional Versus Do-It-Yourself IAQ Testing
Several do-it-yourself kits can be used to test the air quality in your home. And while these kits might give you a clue about an air quality problem you have, they can be unreliable and difficult to read and interpret.
If you want a trustworthy and highly reliable reading, it is best to use a professional service, like the one offered by We Care Plumbing, Heating, & Air. With professional sampling, we can test for multiple pollutants with great accuracy. Since we use professional-grade equipment, you will know the results are reliable. Working with professionals takes the guesswork out of evaluating your home’s air quality and gives you the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your family’s safety, health, and well-being are being addressed by professionals.
Testing for Radon
Radon is a dangerous gas that has been linked to cancer. It is odorless, tasteless, and radioactive. Radon is produced naturally from the decaying uranium in the ground. As radon seeps from the ground, it is dispersed in the air. The problem happens when radon gets trapped in your home. If it finds its way through the cracks in your basement foundation or sump holes, it can concentrate in your home, putting your family’s health at risk.
Some tools used in testing for radon include continuous monitors, charcoal canisters, and electret ion chambers. If higher levels of radon are detected, the next step is radon mitigation to eliminate the source of the contaminants. Ventilators and natural ventilation can be effective methods for reducing radon concentrations.
Testing for Mold
Mold is in the air all around us. For the most part, naturally occurring mold in the outdoor air is harmless. The problem happens when there is mold growth in the home. Mold grows in damp, dark locations, such as a basement.
Mold reproduces by releasing spores into the air. The spores are the biggest problem with mold. They are what cause breathing, allergy, asthma, and other respiratory challenges when they are inhaled.
The first tool used to detect mold is the human nose. This isn’t a scientific method, but typically if you can smell the musty odor of mold, you know there is a growth somewhere. From there, professionals can use specialized kits that sample the air for mold spores and then send the results to a lab for review. If an IAQ test returns positive for mold, the homeowner must take proactive steps to eliminate mold growth and destroy mold spores, preventing them from growing into new colonies.
Testing for Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is hazardous because it is odorless and invisible, and it can kill a human before they are aware of a problem. To make matters worse, multiple sources produce carbon monoxide in the house, including a leaky chimney, uneven gas heaters, back drafting furnaces, and even gas or wood stoves.
Carbon monoxide can produce fatigue, confusion, flulike symptoms, and headaches at low concentrations. A carbon monoxide test requires continued monitoring. CO2 detectors are like smoke detectors, alerting the building’s occupants of a gas buildup. If a CO2 sensor goes off, it is best to evacuate the building, contact 911 immediately, and then have the home professionally inspected to identify the source of the CO2 buildup.
Testing for Volatile Organic Compounds
Indoor air can contain volatile organic compounds. This type of air pollution is made up of several different chemicals. They can produce short-term and long-term damaging health effects. VOCs inside a structure can be concentrated at a rate 10 times higher than those outside.
VOCs are found in paint, cleaning products, and some cosmetic products. Testing the home for VOCs requires specialized equipment designed to detect various VOCs, ranging from formaldehyde to other dangerous chemicals.
If testing discovers VOCs in the home, you will need to determine which products are releasing the chemicals. Improved ventilation and air filtration may minimize VOC concentration in the air. Purifiers may trap and eliminate these airborne pollutants.
VOCs can be minimized by purchasing products that don’t release these chemicals into the air. This includes buying furniture built of solid wood, unscented products, and products not made from PVC.
Helping California Homeowners With Their Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning Needs
For over two decades, We Care Plumbing, Heating, & Air has served Temecula and other Southern California communities as a residential, commercial, and plumbing leader. Our technicians are NATE and NCI certified. We are happy to partner with leaders in the field of HVAC and plumbing. We have a long list of accreditations, awards, and accolades that prove we offer the highest level of customer service.
Our services include HVAC repair, humidity control, air filtration, IAQ testing, plumbing repair and installation, reverse osmosis systems, tankless water heaters, septic tank services, and slab leak detection. Contact We Care Plumbing, Heating, & Air today and see for yourself why we are trusted by tens of thousands of Southern California residents each year.
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Author Bio: Rusty Cochran
Rusty Cochran is the President of We Care Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning. We Care began humbly, operating in his family’s living room. Under Rusty’s strong leadership, We Care has grown from 2 employees to over 200 employees. We Care Plumbing, Heating and Air has gained recognition across the HVAC industry, receiving numerous awards and certifications, including being named the ACCA Contractor of the Year, The Map Presidential Award several times, Angie’s List Super Service Award, NATE certification, and multiple Dave Lennox Awards. LinkedIn Profile