At Sky Heating & Air Conditioning, we provide air quality testing for home and business owners throughout the Portland area. You can schedule testing at any time. It can be an important step in making improvements, as (according to the EPA) Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors, where pollutants can be up to five times more concentrated than outside. But how often should you schedule indoor air quality testing? Even leading experts disagree on an answer.
Outdoors, air quality may be tested regularly, even every day. Some satellites measure particle pollution every few minutes. That doesn’t help determine if pollutants are present in your home. From pollen and dust mites to carbon monoxide (CO), lead, radon, mold, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), uncomfortable and potentially dangerous contaminants may be in the air you breathe.
When Is Regular Air Quality Testing Needed?
There are many types of indoor air quality tests. You may need some only if there’s suspicion of a problem. However, some should be considered regularly, including for:
- CO: Every home should have a CO detector/alarm that continuously monitors for colorless and odorless, yet deadly, carbon monoxide. The alarm will sound if elevated CO levels are detected, so you can get to safety.
- VOCs: Chemicals known as volatile organic compounds can come from cleaning products, cooking, dry-cleaned clothes, furniture, and other items every day. Consider checking for them every couple of years or more often if past tests have indicated a problem.
- Radon: Radon is a radioactive, cancer-causing gas that occurs naturally in the ground. Consider testing for it every few years, as levels can fluctuate. Radon testers are often installed for several months to measure levels over time.
Most indoor air quality tests can be completed in a few hours to up to three days. The significance and benefits of regular testing have been debated. However, your home should be tested if it’s known to have a specific air quality problem. Several circumstances may also call for air quality testing at a certain time.
When to Schedule Indoor Air Quality Testing
Testing for all possible indoor air pollutants regularly is challenging and generally unnecessary. Pollen, dust mites, and VOCs fluctuate depending on various factors. But here are some reasons to consider air quality testing to make sure no health hazards are present:
- Construction/Renovation: If you’ve recently added a home extension, renovated a basement, or remodeled a bathroom, it’s a good idea to test the air. Dust is often released during the construction process. Working on older homes increases the risk of exposure to asbestos, lead, and other hazardous materials. Cutting plywood, replacing drywall, and painting can also add chemicals to the air.
- Moving Into a New House: A thorough property inspection should be completed before you purchase a new home. An air quality test should be included in the process. Therefore, you can determine if mold, VOCs, indoor allergens, or other concerns are present and take steps to mitigate them before you move in.
- Odors: Mold often emits a musty odor, which can travel through contaminated HVAC ducts. Odors can also come from sewage backups, gas leaks, faulty furnaces, and other sources that present serious dangers. An air quality test can help determine the source of the odor and what actions or repairs are needed to restore your safety and comfort.
- Mold: An odor is just one sign of mold. Air quality should also be tested if you see growing patches of dark material, and it occurs in damp areas or near air vents. Mold grows in dark, damp areas, so check near leaking faucets or condensation. Tests can determine the type of mold present, so a professional knows how to treat it, and if high humidity or moisture is contributing to the problem.
- Allergies/Symptoms: If you or a family member experience coughing, sneezing, eye irritation, shortness of breath, headaches, dizziness, or other symptoms while at home or in a certain room, schedule indoor air quality testing to determine if there are any issues to be addressed. Solutions include eliminating the source of pollution, improving ventilation, or installing an air purifier.
- HVAC Issues: An older HVAC system is more likely to have issues that impact air quality. Testing can help determine if the system is still performing at its best. Signs it may be causing air quality issues include extreme temperature variations from room to room, as air circulation may be poor. Humidity problems are also a concern. Signs of high humidity include persistent dampness and feeling clammy, while low humidity can cause wallpaper to peel, house plants to wither, and static electricity.
The short answer is, you don’t need most air quality tests regularly. Aside from having CO and smoke detectors, you can schedule air quality testing once every few years or if you notice signs of an issue.
Schedule Air Quality Testing with Sky Heating & Air Conditioning
Throughout the Portland area, we provide indoor air quality testing and solutions ranging from humidifiers to UV air treatment equipment to whole-house air purification systems. Schedule an air quality test if it’s been several years since your home has been checked or there are signs of a problem. To request an on-site consultation, schedule service online or call (888) 927-3943.