So you want a healthier home, but realize that takes more than just eating your fruits and veggies and putting some exercise equipment in the basement. For a truly healthy home, it’s also about what you breathe – or don’t breathe. Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is vital to maintaining a healthy home, and, in turn, a healthy you.
To help you create that healthier you, we went ahead and created a simple guide on what people need to know about air quality testing in their home. Read on for our expert’s advice.
Working CO Detectors Are A Necessity
Carbon monoxide (CO) is often referred to as the silent killer. That’s because it’s not detected by our senses since it’s an odorless, colorless, tasteless, and a non-irritating gas. However, in concentrated levels, it can lead to poisoning and death. In fact, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) says that “approximately 500 people die from unintentional CO exposure in the United States every year.”
That’s why our resident expert, Keith Hill, manager of technical support at Minnesota Air, says a CO detector is non-negotiable to ensure quality air.
“Everyone should have carbon monoxide detectors,” he says. “Not just one, but several. It’s not just the furnace and water heater that can make CO. The gas dryer, the gas range, cars in attached garages. One in a home is good, but one in every bedroom is best.”
Test For Radon
Another dangerous gas you’ll want to test for in your home is Radon. Radon is a colorless and odorless radioactive gas that can seep up from the ground below your home and enter through cracks and crevices. It’s dangerous in high levels, and can even lead to cancer and other health issues if not properly removed from a home.
“Everyone should get have their home tested for Radon. It’s the second leading cause of lung cancer, and Minnesota has the geology conducive to higher levels of Radon,” says Keith.
Testing is done in two simple ways. The first test takes 3-7 days and is accurate enough to let you know if you need to take further steps. The second test takes 3 months to a year, and is a very accurate predictor if your home has a radon problem. If you are a Minnesota resident, you can order your radon test kits from the MDH at a discounted rate. Click here to learn more and purchase a kit.
Ventilation Is Key For Air Quality
Finally, remember that ventilation in your home is the key to a healthy indoor space. Good ventilation means pollutants, allergens, dust, harmful chemicals, cleaning and cooking odors will be all released to the outside air. And that’s very important since so many products we use can contain harmful VOCs – volatile organic compounds.
“VOCs and other pollutants are hard to test for,” says Keith. “My advice is to gauge your ventilation rate on the moisture in the home in the winter months. If your windows sweat in the cold weather, moisture is being trapped, so one can assume that other vapors are also being trapped. Ventilate to remove those pollutants.”
He also suggests talking to an HVAC professional if you want to remedy the problem or if you have specific health issues (respiratory problems, allergies) where the best ventilation and filtration will be important.
“Many HVAC contractors have various methods to test the air,” says Keith. “Some use an Air Advice monitoring system that stays in your home for several days and tests for a variety of pollutants. Once they determine the potential issues they can make recommendations to deal with them. It’s a very simple process and very accurate.”
Take the first steps now to make sure your home has quality air. You’ll breathe easier knowing you did!