What's IAQ and How Do You Measure It?
When it comes to how your home impacts your health, one of the most critical considerations is IAQ - or indoor air quality. According to the American Lung Association, an estimated 40 million individuals in the U.S. have allergies, and asthma affects an estimated 7.1 million children under the age of 18. Learning how to control the quality of the air in an environment can go a long way in managing these conditions.
Follow this guide to learn what you can do about elevating the air quality in your home.
What Affects IAQ?
There are a number of chemicals, gases and living organisms that can bring air quality down, including carbon monoxide, radon, asbestos, dust mites and mold. Cleaning supplies, pesticides and other airborne chemicals can also pollute the air.
Inadequate ventilation, poor temperature control and too high or too low humidity also impact the air quality. Deteriorating insulation and tobacco products can be considered pollutants as well. If you've recently remodeled your home, certain construction or renovation activities may have negative effects.
The American Lung Association recommends finding ways to control pollutants at the source by improving ventilation. Additionally, an air purifier, particularly one with a HEPA filter, may be helpful for removing airborne allergens and other harmful particles from the environment. The Holmes® Allergen Remover Air Purifier Mini Tower is a powerful yet compact device that can filter out up to 99.97 percent of particulates in the air - including mold, dust and pollen.
Why is it Important?
As most of us spend a significant amount of time indoors, it's crucial that the air we breathe is as clean as possible. Poor IAQ has been linked to problems like headaches, fatigue and irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, as well as difficulty concentrating. The Environmental Protection Agency explained that some pollutants can cause or worsen the symptoms of allergies, asthma or respiratory illnesses. Additionally, the agency noted that heart disease and other serious long-term conditions are a concern.
How is it Measured?
Monitoring the IAQ in your home can be done through a number of instruments.
A proper air quality meter will be able to gauge temperature and humidity as well as the presence of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and airbone particles. You can also use a special tool called a VOC sensor, which measures volatile organic compounds. While a carbon dioxide meter can be helpful, it's worth noting that this device is not capable of detecting any dangerous chemicals.
Interpreting the results can be complicated. If someone within the household has an illness or condition that you suspect is connected to indoor pollutants, it's best to seek the assistance of a health agency so you can identify the possible source.