How much do you spend each year in home improvement projects? Thousands? It’s no surprise why we spend so much to make our home beautiful and comfortable. That’s where we live. But how much have you spent in improving the air quality in your home? None? It’s okay. The important thing is that you are taking the steps to learn more about Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). You can even give yourself a pat on the back for reading this.
Bad Air Day: What is IAQ?
Unlike a bad hair day, bad indoor air quality can linger more than a day and can have detrimental effects to your health (not just your self-esteem). According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), IAQ “describes how inside air can affect a person’s health, comfort, and ability to work. It can include temperature, humidity, lack of outside air (poor ventilation), mold from water damage, or exposure to other chemicals.”
The quality of air inside your home, directly affects your family’s health. If air quality is poor, it means that there is a high and unhealthy level of indoor air pollution such as dust mites, dander, and even harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde. Pressed wood products such as particleboard and fiberboard are common sources of formaldehyde. Unfortunately, these materials are often used in furniture, ceilings, and walls. According to the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA), formaldehyde is “a colorless, pungent-smelling gas, can cause watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes and throat, nausea, and difficulty in breathing in some humans exposed at elevated levels (above 0.1 parts per million).” Exposure to high concentrations may also trigger asthma attacks. Besides pressed woods, some hair products and nail polish also contain formaldehyde to act as preservative and hardener.
Good Air Days
Having good indoor air quality, on the other hand, means that there is a lower level of air pollutants in your homes. Technically, according to the OSHA, “the qualities of good IAQ should include comfortable temperature and humidity, adequate supply of fresh outdoor air, and control of pollutants from inside and outside of the building.”
Having good air means you can breathe comfortably and safely. This is even more important to babies or people who have allergies, asthma or rhinitis.
So, how do you know whether the indoor air quality in your home is good or bad?
Luckily, there are various methods and devices that can help you test the air quality indoors.
1. Hire a Professional
You can hire a certified professional to test your home’s IAQ. This is a very comprehensive option and will give you the best results, but it comes at a hefty price. In addition, it’s not something you can do all the time, unless you have a long term plan or package for the professionals to check your air quality over a span of time.
It’s a good option, but its not exactly cost-efficient.
2. Use Air Quality Testing Kits
You can do-it-yourself (DIY) by using air quality testing kits that can be purchase from hardware stores. This method is cost effective but these kits aren’t always reusable, and the results may not be of good quality, and you may be lacking in many modern features. Once you get the results, you have an idea of how the air is, but you don’t exactly have the opportunity to measure it over time.
3. Use an Indoor Air Quality Monitor
This is where home IAQ sensors or air quality monitors, such as uHoo, come in. uHoo provides you real time information about your home’s IAQ so you’ll be able to take the necessary action immediately and minimize or prevent any harmful effects on your health.
Modern air quality monitors are more affordable than ever and can be used 24/7, with advanced features that sync with your phone and your Smart Home system, if you have it set up. It’s the option we recommend if you are serious about your home’s air quality.
Whichever method you choose to test the air quality in your home, the important thing is to turn the information into actionable steps. Having healthy air at home is just as important, if not more, than having stylish furniture.