Life is the most delightful treasure that we humans possess, and since we know that, we try to do things that enable us to enjoy this beautiful gift peacefully. We try to keep ourselves safe and healthy for various reasons, but the primary reason we worry about our well-being is that we want to live a long life. Most people won’t get the most out of their lives in terms of longevity because they want to do all things they have dreamed of and achieve their goals.
Apart from living a long life, we also thrive on procuring a peaceful life; we try to keep ourselves healthy for physical and mental peace and keep our atmosphere safe and pleasant. Since we spent a whole year indoors due to the pandemic, we now know the importance of a nice indoor atmosphere more than ever.
As we stayed in lockdown, we not only made sure that we kept ourselves clean and hygienic but gave special attention to the immaculateness and purity of our houses. In the same way, we always make sure that we indoors stay neat at all times, to achieve that we do all kinds of things such as we dust, mop, wipe, scrub and disinfect our houses. Doing such things is vital for good hygiene; however, we don’t give much attention to the air quality of an indoor environment.
Importance of Indoor Air Quality
We all know that air of good quality is extremely crucial to sustain a healthy and quality life. We address problems and environmental protection, but th problems are mostly targeted towards outdoor air quality. Many people don’t understand that indoor air quality is equally important for a superior life.
When you take a deep breath in your house, you expect to feel more relaxed instead of feeling weird. The sudden runny nose, scratchy throat, and difficulty breathing properly inside your own home or workplace can be alarming. Since we hear so much about air pollution, we blame these symptoms on that or maybe allergies, but it could be something completely different.
Problems Caused by Bad Indoor Air Quality
Apart from some minor symptoms, indoor air pollution can also have drastic effects on one’s health. It has been seen that it causes not only things like irritation, fatigue, and headaches but also a variety of health diseases and different types of cancers.
It would help get your indoor air quality checked; the testing can be done in homes, schools, and offices.
The Process of Indoor Air Quality Testing
The procedure of air quality testing is complicated, and it is always recommended that you get your indoor atmosphere checked by a professional team. Professional help should be taken because these experienced testing teams can accurately assess the situation and do the tests according to different substances and pollutants causing issues.
Pre Requisites of Testing
Either you are doing the testing or letting the professional do it, the first thing that is needed to be done is to confirm a few things and do extensive research on the contaminated locations. Before starting with the tests, a survey has to be carried out to ensure something like the type of indoor property, confirm if it’s commercial or residential, check the health history of residents, test the ventilation system, and the number of people in the affected area.
After a successful survey and collecting the required information, the next step is to identify the locations of air quality testing. Pinpointing location is complicated as the indoor air is not equally distributed in the atmosphere because various sites are selected.
The Required Equipment for Testing
Various components cause indoor air contamination, and to all these different types of substances, different types of tools and equipment are used to collect the samples. Some of this equipment includes:
Swab Test: Swabs are used to check different kinds of bacteria and mold.
Nitrogen Oxide, Carbon, and Sulphur di Oxide meters are used to measure the levels of Nitrogen oxide, Carbon dioxide, and Sulphur dioxide levels.
VOC meters: These are used for different kinds of volatile compounds.
Different Kind of Pollutants
There are many testing equipments because you cannot test all the different kinds of indoor pollutants simultaneously. Various factors can affect indoor air quality; however, these factors and pollutants are divided into three categories: Biological Pollutants, Chemical Pollutants, and Combustion Pollutants.
Biological pollutants usually consist of things like dust mites, bacteria, pollen, dander, and mold. However, the most common form of a biological contaminant that is seen in indoor settings is mold.
The occurrence of mold is a normal thing outdoors, and it causes no harm; however, if it grows in your house, it can cause some major problems. Mold usually grows in dark and cold places such as your basement, attic, and bathroom.
Like flowers release pollen, mold releases spore that causes harm when you breathe them in. the spores are always present in the air if you mold growth; not only do the spores that are alive cause damage, but the dead spores are also dangerous. Some symptoms of breathing in mold include irritation of the throat, irritation of the eyes, coughing, and nasal stuffiness. Besides these symptoms, your nose can detect mold as it has a distinct irritating odor.
The professionals use to detect the occurrence of the mold with special mold detecting kits; these kits are used to collect the indoor air samples and then compare them with outdoor air levels as mold is present everywhere. Like mold, other allergens are also tested in the same way by sending the samples to laboratories.
It is not recommended that you do these tests yourself because laboratories are much more reliable; if you find even a little mold growth in your house, you should look for mold and air quality testing near you.
The next type of pollutants is usually seen harming the quality of indoor air are Chemical pollutants. These pollutants typically include formaldehyde, lead, and TVOC; however, Radon’s most common chemical pollutant.
Radon is one of the most major causes of lung cancer; it is a harmful radioactive gas with no taste, color, or odor. Radon is a naturally occurring gas produced by decaying uranium in the ground; it is usually present outdoor but in very small categories. Unlike mold, the levels of Radon we breathe are very little; however, when Radon seeps through the ground and enters the atmosphere of our homes and other indoor locations, it leads to massive repercussions. This is mainly because the concentration of Radon in our indoor atmosphere gets extremely high.
Radon is also known as a carcinogen. Due to having no odor, it is extremely difficult to detect; however, there are different Radon testing kits used to test the presence of Radon. Due to the difficulty of the test, even with the kits, Radon takes 2 to 90 days for effective testing, which is why it is advised that you take professional help. Another thing used to measure the levels is the charcoal packet; these packets take a year to measure levels and are considered affordable and long-term testing methods for consistent results.
The next type of pollutants are combustion pollutants and are caused by smoke. Some examples include VOCs and tobacco smoke; however, the most common combustion pollutant is carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide is another colorless and odorless gas, and compared to Radon; it is way more dangerous as it can kill much faster than Radon. Things that mainly cause carbon monoxide spread in an indoor environment include leaking chimneys, furnaces and kerosene heaters, car exhaust, can generators, and wood stoves.
The major symptoms faced after contact with carbon monoxide include chest pain, nausea, headaches, flu, and fatigue. Carbon monoxide detectors are easily available and work exactly like smoke detectors; they can be installed all over an indoor environment to detect the levels of carbon monoxide.
Since carbon monoxide is harmful and can be fatal at times, you should call the professionals as soon as you can if your detectors go off. While waiting for help, you must also open all doors and windows and get out of the affected area.
Take Measures to Improve Air Quality
After successful testing, the next step is to take the appropriate precautions to eliminate the harmful air from your indoor setting. The first thing is to completely remove the source of pollution and the install things like air filters that help remove the toxic substances from the air. Other things that you can do include tracking the house’s humidity so that things like mold don’t start growing. You can also install devices like Air Quality monitors that can continuously test almost every kind of pollutant and let you know when something’s wrong.
Indoor places such as homes and schools are beautiful places, and we have to keep ourselves safe and care about the health of people around us. The best advice after this guide would be to always trust professionals with matters that are this serious; you can also take measures to help everyone by telling people to stop smoking and changing filters regularly.
However, if you see some of the symptoms that we explained, you should instantly get medical help and plan to deal with these symptoms.