There’s a common saying: “See it to believe it.” It’s human nature to want to see proof of the information we receive. But the truth is that this doesn’t apply to the air. We can’t see it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Not only does air exist, but it’s a necessary component of human life. When was the last time you thought about the quality of the air you breathe? Even at home, you might not be able to see if there are harmful pollutants negatively affecting your quality of life.
Measuring Indoor and Outdoor Air Quality
Bad air quality can lead to:
- Family getting cold-like symptoms.
- Family suffering from allergies.
- Household members having a weaker immune system.
To understand how air quality is measured, let’s consider:
- What measures air quality?
- What can contaminate our air at home?
- What range of air quality is measured?
- What is an appropriate measure for good air quality?
Air Quality Instrument
Air quality is measured with an air quality meter that measures the particulate matter found within the air of a specific location. There is a wide range of different meters, each with its distinctive features.
Some instruments measure the outdoor air quality, which can also affect the level of pollutants within a home.
Possible Air Pollutants
Different meters can detect, measure, and monitor levels of various possible air pollutants such as:
- Carbon dioxide
- Carbon monoxide
- Nitrogen dioxide
- Refrigerants like freon
- Hydrogen sulfide
- Different volatile organic compounds
- Other flammable, hazardous, or toxic gases
The levels of any of these pollutants can increase over time and can be causing harm if not detected on time. Regularly testing your indoor air quality will allow you to sleep more comfortably knowing your family is safe.
Air Quality Range
In the United States, outdoor air quality is measured and reported on the Air Quality Index (AQI). This index ranges from 0 to 500, where higher ranges indicate the higher level of pollution in the air.
When it comes to indoor air quality, it’s not necessarily measured on a scale. Indoor air quality is tested for the various pollutants (listed above) that are found in the air. Apart from those pollutants, indoor air quality tests are particularly interested in detecting particulate matter (PM).
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PM refers to a “complex mixture of solid and/or liquid particles suspended in the air.” Particulate matter that has a diameter of 10 micrometers or smaller is a concern with indoor air quality because these particles are inhalable.
What is Good Quality Air?
The ideal levels for outdoor air quality are between an AQI of 0 to 50. For example, Virginia Beach, VA currently counts on good air quality with an AQI of 49.
The air inside our home should be free of most of the harmful pollutants mentioned. Although you can’t expect to remove them all, the levels of certain pollutants must be low.
Can I Measure My Indoor Air Quality?
You might have come across do-it-yourself indoor air quality tests but, they can be inaccurate. If you want to make your home a haven, call the professionals at Air Quality Consultants, Inc.
We have been licensed and insured since 1991 to test air quality in the Richmond and Virginia Beach areas. Contact us today and schedule your indoor air quality test!