As more and more of us spend more time indoors, the quality of the air we breathe there has become more and more important. But how do you measure the air quality at home?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that we spend about 90% of our time indoors, whether it’s at home, at the office, or in school. But how much thought do we put into the air we breathe inside, and how do we measure the quality of the air at home?
The World Health Organization found that poor indoor air quality is the biggest environmental health risk. It is responsible for more than 6.5 million premature deaths around the world every year (opens in new tab). The coronavirus pandemic has shown how important clean air, better ventilation, and measuring the quality of air inside homes are.
We look at how you can keep an eye on the air quality in your home and whether humidifiers, which add moisture to the air, can improve the air quality. Find out more about these devices in this article on the best humidifiers.
What Is Indoor Air Quality?
IAQ is an abbreviation for “indoor air quality,” which can be changed by a number of things. Mold is one of the worst offenders. Allergens and bacteria can also be very dangerous to your health. Carbon monoxide is another deadly danger that often happens inside. Radon is a type of gas that can be released into a building or home by certain chemicals. Asbestos can also affect the quality of the air inside your home.
Pollutants have caused IAQ to get worse over the past 30 years. To save energy and stop leaks, many homes have sealed off the air. But that means there will be less airflow throughout the house, making it harder for pollutants to get out.
Why is it important for us to have clean air?
You might not realize how important it is to have clean air inside. Some people think that since they can’t see air, it shouldn’t be taken into account. Poor indoor air quality, on the other hand, can have serious effects on people, such as:
- Getting more respiratory illnesses
- less work getting done
- Chance of dying too soon
Because of these things, indoor air pollutants are often seen as one of the biggest health risks in the environment. The EPA says that the air quality in 33% to 50% of commercial buildings is not good. Every year, 10 million work days are lost because of these buildings. Based on these results, you might want to find out how to test the air inside.
How to measure Indoor Air Quality?
The thing that worries an Environment Service Company the most is that no one is talking about how important it is to improve the quality of the air inside, even though this is something that needs to be done right away. And measuring it well is the first step to improving IAQ and reducing pollution inside.
An expert measures and keeps an eye on IAQ by first looking at a few key factors, such as the type of building, the materials used to build it, the ventilation system, the number of people who live or work in the area, their health problems and disease history, the activities or types of equipment in the area, the cleanliness of the area, the presence of mold, bad smells, dust, and other things.
After the inspection is done, the quality of the air inside is tested with professional tools like:
- A VOC meter is used to measure the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and the total amount of VOCs (TVOCs)
- NOx meter – The NOx meter measures Nitrogen oxide levels
- SO2 meter – SO2 meter measures Sulphur dioxide levels
- CO2 meter: When measuring CO2, real-time levels and average levels are both taken into account.
- Dusttrak is used to measure PM1, PM2.5, and PM10 Mass concentration and RSPM.
- Testo 480 IAQ Pro: The Testo 480 IAQ Pro measures airflow, temperature, humidity, and CO2.
- Test kits for indoor air quality – Full analysis, including mold, pet hair, cancer-causing fibers, dust, and bacteria
- Swab tests – Swab tests are used to collect samples of mold and bacteria.
- Thermo-Hygrometer: This tool is used to measure temperatures and the amount of moisture in the air.
After the full analysis is done, the Indoor Air Quality Standards can be used to evaluate the IAQ measurements. But make sure you know that the standards for measuring the quality of indoor air in each country are different, depending on the climate, weather, ecology, geology, and other things.