top of page

A Complete Guide To Indoor Air Quality Testing

Indoor air quality testing is essential to maintaining a healthy living environment. It involves measuring and analyzing the levels of various pollutants and irritants in the air inside a building. These include mold, dust, pollen, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). By conducting regular indoor air quality tests, individuals and businesses can identify and address any issues that may negatively impact the health and well-being of those who spend time indoors. This article will provide an overview of the various types of indoor air quality testing available and tips for interpreting and acting on the results.

Types of Indoor Air Quality Testing

Indoor Air quality testing is a process of measuring the levels of pollutants in the air. You can perform several air quality tests designed to measure specific pollutants or groups.

  • Ambient air quality testing: This testing measures the levels of pollutants in the outdoor air, typically at ground level. It monitors the overall air quality in a particular area and identifies any pollution sources.

  • Indoor air quality testing: This measures the levels of pollutants inside buildings, such as homes, offices, and schools. It can identify indoor pollution sources and assess the risk of exposure to harmful pollutants.

  • Stack emission testing: This testing measures the levels of pollutants emitted from industrial facilities and power plants. It further ensures that these facilities comply with federal and state emissions regulations.

  • Mobile source testing: Mobile source testing measures the levels of pollutants emitted from vehicles and other mobile sources. It is used to assess the impact of transportation on air quality and to identify ways to reduce emissions.

  • Source testing: To measure the levels of pollutants emitted by specific sources, this type of testing is carried out at specified locations, such as industries and power plants. It is employed to find solutions to lower emissions and ensure that laws are followed.

  • Particulate matter testing: This kind of testing examines the concentrations of airborne particulate matter, such as dust, dirt, smoke, and other minute particles. It is employed to determine the sources of particle pollution and evaluate the risk of exposure to hazardous particulate matter.

Common Pollutants And Irritants To Look For

Indoor air quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially concerning the health and comfort of building occupants. Many pollutants and irritants can affect IAQ, and it is essential to test for these to ensure a safe and healthy living or working environment. Some common pollutants and irritants to test for when assessing IAQ include:

  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs): These are chemicals emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids and can include formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene. VOCs can cause various health issues, including headaches, and eye, nose, and throat irritation, and can even lead to cancer.

  • Carbon monoxide (CO): This is a colorless, odorless gas that can result from burning fuels such as gas, oil, wood, and charcoal. CO can cause symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and nausea and can be fatal in high concentrations.

  • Particulate matter (PM): Refers to tiny particles in the air that can include dust, pollen, mold spores, and pet dander. PM can cause respiratory problems and aggravate asthma and allergies.

  • Radon: This is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that can seep into buildings from the ground. Radon can cause lung cancer and other health issues.

Using specific equipment and techniques to test for these pollutants and irritants is vital. For instance, photoionization detectors (PIDs) can help to measure VOCs, CO detectors to measure CO, particle counters to measure PM, and radon detectors to monitor radon.

It is also essential to conduct regular inspections of the building, including checking for