What Do Air Quality Tests Measure?

What Do Air Quality Tests Measure?

Air quality tests provide the information you need to keep indoor air pollution under control by measuring a long list of different airborne and surface contaminants often found in homes. The best air quality tests are highly accurate and detect more pollutants compared to most air quality tests.

After an air quality test measures pollutant levels in your home, you can make informed decisions about how much cleaning and maintenance your home needs to lower pollutant levels. This cleaning and maintenance may involve deep cleaning your HVAC systems or placing air purifiers in certain locations around the house. Keep reading to learn more about what pollutants air quality tests measure.

What Do Air Quality Tests Measure?

There are several pollutants that air quality tests measure to give you an accurate assessment of the air quality in your home:

  • Particulate Matter (i.e. PM2.5,PM10,)
  • VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
  • Mold and fungi
  • Bacteria
  • Odors and Allergens
  • Formaldehyde

Good air quality tests measure these pollutants and more while less complex air quality tests only measure particulate matter and some chemicals. Depending on the concentration of these pollutants in your home, an air quality test will tell you whether these pollutants are at safe or dangerous levels.

If there are dangerously high concentrations of pollutants in your home, then ventilate and deep clean areas of your home contributing to the poor air quality. This could mean cleaning air ducts and vents, removing mold outgrowths, and removing dust and contaminants covering the surfaces in your home.In homes with air quality problems, placing one or two air purifiers in your home is usually sufficient to remove pollutants and give you clean air to breathe indoors.

What is Particulate Matter?

Particulate matter (PM) is a mixture of liquid and solid particles typically invisible to the naked eye ranging from 2.5 to 10 micrometers in diameter. These particles are composed of dirt or dust and chemicals such as acids and metals. The particles that are released into the air when you burn wood in the fireplace is one example of particulate matter you can find in some households.

There are two types of particulate matter:

PM10: larger inhalable particles with a diameter of 10 micrometers or less.

PM2.5: smaller particles that are inhalable with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less.

The smaller inhalable particles, PM2.5, are only visible under a microscope while inhalable particles PM10 are visible when clustered together in a small area.

What are Volatile Organics Compounds?

Unlike most air pollutants, VOCs are released in high concentrations indoors from the gases that are released by household products such as cleaning agents, varnishes, and paint.

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