Are you concerned about the air quality inside your home?
Do you want to know which pollutants may be getting into your lungs?
Or how many of those contaminants are actually present indoors?
If so, you’ll find all of the information you need about testing air quality in your home in this post.
Below are five simple ways to check air quality in home yourself.
Testing Air Quality in Your Home Disclaimer
Doing personal home air quality tests are an easy way to discover the pollutants that may be lurking in your home.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all home testing is 100% accurate because user error can come into play.
Therefore, if you’re looking to test the air quality in your home before selling it, just know that these home air quality tests won’t be acceptable for a real estate sale.
If you’re selling your home and need a radon test performed, for example, you’ll need to hire a professional to get the most accurate testing data to supply to your buyer. Even if you’re home radon test shows no sign of radon indoors, a professional testing kit will still be required on the property.
5 Ways to Check Air Quality in a Home
Now that we have that disclaimer out of the way, here are five methods for checking home air quality that you can do for your own peace of mind and comfort.
1. Air Quality Monitor
Air quality monitors are the most simple method for testing air quality in your home.
With these devices, all you do is set them up, plug them in, and wait to see what the monitor detects in the air.
While each model is different, the most common airborne contaminants that air quality monitors detect are:
- PM2.5 levels (ultrafine particulate matter from outdoor air pollution sources)
- VOC levels (volatile organic compounds that are emitted by indoor pollution sources)
- CO2 (carbon dioxide levels)
- Humidity levels (high humidity promotes mold growth)
- Temperature (for comfort)
Air quality monitors are a nice thing to have at home because you can instantly know if any major contaminants are in your indoor air as well as the level of concentration.
If a problem is discovered, then you can take the necessary steps to eliminate them. For example, adding an air purifier to your home to strip out PM2.5 particles and VOCs or a dehumidifier to lower the humidity.
The most popular air quality monitors include:
- Air Mentor 6 in 1
- IQAir AirVisual Pro
The most popular air purifiers include:
- IQAir HealthPro Plus
- Levoit LV-PUR131
- Rabbit Air MinusA2
- Winix 5500-2
To learn more about these air purifiers, check out our full list of the top rated air purifiers.
Or to save the most amount of money on an air purifier, view our list of the best inexpensive air purifiers.
2. Air Quality Testing Kit
If you’re not interested in having an air quality monitor in your home, the next best thing you can do to check air quality in home is purchase an air quality testing kit.
With an air quality testing kit, you take actual samples of the air with a sampling pump, and mail it to a lab for analysis.
After a few days, the lab sends you a detailed report of the level of contaminants found in your home.
Air quality testing kits come in a variety of types, and you can choose one or more of the following substances to sample:
- Volatile Organic Compounds
Air quality testing kits are much cheaper than air quality monitors since they’re one-time use products.
The most popular and reliable brand for this service is Home Air Check.
3. Mold Testing Kit
Mold testing kits are similar to air quality testing kits, however, they only test for active mold growth.
These kits come in two types:
- Using an air sample pump (requires lab analysis)
- Using a swab on interior surfaces (requires lab analysis)
DIY self-testing mold kits are also available that can give you instant results for the presence of mold, but these tests don’t indicate the level of spore count. Only a professional lab service can tell you that information.
4. Carbon Monoxide Detector
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless gas that can be deadly in high concentrations.
CO is produced by a number of household appliances, such as gas fires, boilers, central heating systems, water heaters, cookers, and open fires which use gas, oil, coal, and wood.
Testing for unsafe levels of CO in your home is easy with a Carbon Monoxide tester. You place them on a wall about two to fire feet from the ground and these devices monitor the level of CO in your home.
If high levels of CO are detected, an alert goes off to warn you.
Carbon Monoxide testers come in three types:
- Battery operated
- Electrically powered
- Electrically powered with battery backup
5. Radon Testing Kit and Detector
Similar to the other home testing kits and monitors listed above, you can also test for the presence of radon.
Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas that’s colorless and odorless.
Long-term exposure to radon can damage the cells in your lungs, which can lead to cancer.
Home radon testing comes in two types:
- Digital continuous monitoring (a plug-in device that measures the level of radon detected)
- Air sampling kit (requires lab analysis)
How to Improve Your Air Quality at Home
Use an Air Purifier
We touched on this briefly at the beginning of this article, but one of the best things you can do to keep the air around you clean is using an air purifier.
An air purifier draws room air into the device, filters out the contaminants, and pushes clean air back into the space.
Air purifiers are excellent machines for reducing PM2.5, dust, allergens, bacteria, and odors as long as they include the right types of filters.
When shopping for an air purifier, be sure that it has both a True HEPA filter and Activated Carbon filter to get rid of the widest variety of pollutants.
True HEPA filters capture 99.97% of particulates down to 0.3 microns. Activated Carbon filters absorb airborne chemicals and odors.
Our list of the top rated air purifiers shows you what the best air purifier models are today while our list of the best inexpensive air purifiers will help you save the most money on buying a new device.
Change Your HVAC Air Filters
If you have a central heating and air conditioning (HVAC) system in your home, then it’s important to change the air filters on a regular basis.
As indoor air is drawn into the system, the air filters trap dust, allergens, and other airborne particles. Over time, these filters get clogged and become less efficient.
Replacing the air filters every three months not only keeps your HVAC system running more smoothly but it also keeps the indoor air much cleaner.
Fix the Source of the Problem
Every airborne contaminant comes from somewhere.
And if you find the source, you can often fix the issue, which will stop the pollutants from invading your indoor air.
For example, outdoor pollution from automobile exhaust and tree pollen enters into a home through cracks and crevices. If you can seal those up, a large number of those contaminants won’t make their way inside.
If you detect mold in your home, there are three things that must be present for it to grow:
- A food source (e.g. drywall, wood, paper products, etc.)
- High humidity (above 50%)
- High temperature (above 70 degrees)
If you can eliminate one of those variables in your home, then the mold will stop growing.
Reducing humidity is usually the easiest with a dehumidifier. As well as fixing any leaking pipes or water sources around the home.
Perhaps your furnace has a small gas leak and carbon monoxide is leaking out every time it runs. This can be a deadly problem, so have your system inspected by a professional.
The bottom line is to look for any sources that may be causing your indoor air quality issues and try to fix them.
Testing Air Quality is Relatively Simple
As you learned in this post, testing air quality in your home is not that hard to do.
There are many products available today that can check air quality in home for you. Many are not that expensive either.
Just remember, if you’re ever in any doubt about results of an air quality test or monitor reading, call in a professional to verify the results. When it comes to your health, you shouldn’t take any chances.