How to Test your Indoor Air Quality

well ventilated living roomDo you ever wonder about the quality of the air inside your home? Surprisingly, the air inside your home likely contains more pollutants than the air outside. Perhaps you’ve never considered it before. Maybe you have but you don’t know how to go about testing the quality of your air. It’s certainly something worth looking into, for your own health and the health of your family and pets. Your central air system is key to indoor air quality, so one of the best places to start is with your Greensboro HVAC service. 

Start with an HVAC Inspection and Tune-Up to Improve Indoor Air Quality 

Before you even bother with testing the air quality in your home, first call your Greensboro HVAC company for an inspection and tune-up. A complete HVAC inspection and tune-up should include: 

  • Furnace or Heating System(s). If you have a furnace that runs on natural gas, propane, or oil, it creates carbon monoxide as a byproduct of burning fuel. A properly operating system will produce minimal amounts of carbon monoxide and vent it outside of your home. An inspection will reveal any problems that could cause carbon monoxide to be present in your home. A tune up will fix any of these problems.  
  • Air Conditioner(s). Air conditioners are typically electric, which means they don’t produce carbon monoxide, but they can be the cause of other air pollutants such as mold and mildew. Mold and mildew can grow inside of air conditioning systems that are not properly controlling humidity, and those major allergens can cause all sorts of health problems. An inspection will reveal any mold or mildew growth and a thorough cleaning will remove it.  
  • Ventilation. The ventilation for your HVAC system plays a big part in the removal of carbon monoxide and the prevention of mold and mildew growth. The ductwork and other parts of the ventilation system need to be inspected and repaired if necessary to prevent indoor air pollution. 

Indoor Air Quality Tests: Which is Right for You? 

There are do-it-yourself kits for various air pollutants as well as professionals who will come and test your air. Typically the do-it-yourself kits are less expensive but may not be as reliable. If cost is a factor for you, it can be helpful to determine what you should test for, since many of the DIY kits only test for one particular air pollutant. Some of the typical household air pollutants are: 

  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). These are chemicals found in household cleaners and other items you may keep in the home. One example is formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.  
  • Lead. Typically found in older homes (before 1978) from paint, or in homes near highways where leaded gasoline pollution is possible.  
  • Radon. A radioactive gas that occurs naturally within the earth can seep into your home from the ground through cracks in your foundation. Most homes have radon testing before being built or sold, but if you’ve been in your home for many years it would be wise to test again.  
  • Allergens. Dust mites, pet dander, mold, and mildew are the most common allergens that may exist in your home air.   
  • Bacteria. Some harmful bacteria can build up in your air and become highly concentrated so as to cause health problems.  
  • Carbon Monoxide. As mentioned above, carbon monoxide typically comes from your furnace or any other gas appliance you may have.  

When purchasing or ordering tests, only choose the ones for the air pollutants you think could be the problem in your home. For example, if you don’t have any gas, propane, or oil appliances, you probably don’t have a carbon monoxide issue. If your home was built in the 1980s or later, you probably don’t have an issue with lead.  

Call Berico, your Greensboro HVAC expert, to make sure your home’s air system isn’t the cause of poor quality air in your home: (336) 273-8663.