We usually think our home is the place we know the most. However, the confinement and reprogramming of activities at home have caused us to spend more time than usual inside our homes, which has raised questions such as "Why does the living room smell this way?" or "Why do I sneeze so much when working in my room?".

The reason for these questions may be based on an increasingly prevalent situation in households: indoor air quality (IAQ) is inadequate and the necessary measures have not been taken. As Dr. Albert Rizzo, pulmonologist and medical director of the American Lung Association, explains, "We spend most of our time indoors, so air is as important as outside air".

Currently, carbon monoxide and painless, colorless gases are the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Likewise, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which emit building materials and household products, can also aggravate respiratory conditions.

 

How do you know if you need to monitor air quality in your home?

If you just moved in, any IAQ issues will show up during the first visits. Beyond that, it is not advisable to conduct home air quality tests without reason. " In my clinical experience, most triggers are detected by reviewing the patient’s medical history, "says Jonathan Parsons, a pulmonologist at Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University. "The poor air quality is real, but most of the problems are obvious: pets, a wood stove, mold on the wall, things you can see. If you buy or remodel and find a major mold problem, it’s obvious you should fix it, but a mold stain in the bathtub or carpet is easy to handle".

 

Schedule an evaluation only if necessary

If searching your home has left you puzzled, look for an indoor air quality specialist who can diagnose your home from the ceiling to the basement and solve any existing problems.

When you interview a potential IAQ advisor, ask these questions: How long have you been in the industry? Will you examine the full spectrum of IAQ issues or do you have a focus? What certifications do you have? Will it be available for consultation after the report arrives to interpret the results? Will it be available after some work has been done to confirm that the problem is solved?

 

Fortunately, there are safe and affordable ways to ensure good indoor air quality. Often, it’s easy to recognize the problem and take steps to fix it yourself, either by thinning cleaning products, removing dust regularly, or cleaning out mold stains. Also, it is essential to maintain relative humidity in your home between 30 and 50 percent, install air quality sensors and use portable or household-wide air purifiers.

 

For more information see: https://www.washingtonpost.com/home/2021/10/17/indoor-air-quality-how-to-check/