Testing for 3 Common Household Pollutants: Here’s How It’s Done

Posted On: November 11, 2013

It is important to test your home periodically for hazardous household pollutants. High levels of air contaminants resulting from biological pollutants and harmful gases increase health risks. Dangerous gases, such as radon and carbon monoxide, in addition to mold spores and mildew, pollute the air and can remain undetected without specific testing procedures.

 Biological Household Pollutants

These include molds, mildews and pollens, in addition to viruses and bacteria. Mold and mildew occur commonly in homes, growing in damp conditions or areas of high humidity or condensation. These are found on furniture, damp carpets, and within your heating and cooling systems, ceilings and air vents. These contaminants pose health hazards on a number of levels, and are particularly hazardous to vulnerable individuals such as young children, the elderly, and people who suffer from allergies and respiratory conditions.

Test Procedure: Visual and odor testing are usually sufficient to determine if mold or mildew exist in your home. Carry out regular spot tests and clean thoroughly with an ammonia-based product. Address and/or repair sources of moisture in your home, and promptly clean up any water spills or leaks, as well as condensation.

Combustion Household Pollutants

These gases, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, are produced from poor ventilation or improper combustion of household burners, such as fireplaces, furnaces, stoves and water heaters. This gas travels to the lungs, disturbing the body’s cardiovascular system. Prolonged inhalation of carbon dioxide can be fatal. CO is odorless and colorless, and is undetectable without an alarm device.

Test Procedure: Commonly available carbon monoxide detectors, which are similar to smoke alarms, are available for safe detection of this dangerous household pollutant.

Radon Gas

This colorless and odorless gas is produced naturally from soil and may rise up into your home through water-drainage systems and cracks or leaks in basement floors, foundations and walls. This dangerous gas has been identified as a cause of lung cancer.

Test Procedure: You can avail of specially produced radon detection kits or have a certified technician test your home’s air quality.

 For further advice about testing for common household pollutants, please contact us at Ernst Heating & Cooling. We are dedicated to providing Southwest Illinois communities, including Hamel, Highland, Bethel and Edwardsville, with safe and comfortable homes since 1951. Our certified technicians test for all household pollutants, providing recommendations for improving the air quality in your home.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Alton, Glen Carbon, Highland, Greenville, and Troy, Illinois and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about household pollutants and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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