We offer air quality testing services in Kitchener and throughout most regions of Ontario. This is highly recommended if you want to check for indoor air pollution.
What is indoor air pollution?
Air pollution isn’t a problem that you encounter solely when you go outdoors—in fact, there may be cases where your health may improve when you leave your home or a particular building. This may be caused by indoor air pollution, which is a common yet largely overlooked problem.
Considering the fact that on average, a person spends his day mostly indoors and breathes in around 8,500 litres of air every day, indoor air quality is an important factor in a person’s overall health. Indoor air pollution may be responsible for several respiratory problems, which may be mistaken as symptoms for other diseases, such as colds, influenza, allergies, or stress-related illnesses.
The most common symptoms of indoor air pollution are watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, throat irritation, upper respiratory congestion, headaches, nausea, and fatigue. More serious symptoms include nasal congestion, nose bleeds, sore throat, difficulty breathing, and lung disease. Extreme cases of indoor air pollution may also cause rashes, fevers, vomiting, muscle pain, hearing loss, and, in cases of exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide, death. Because of its adverse effects on people’s health, indoor air pollution is considered as one of the most serious environmental problems in the United States.
Fortunately, indoor air pollution can be prevented and minimized, once it has been properly detected through indoor air quality testing.
What are the causes of indoor air pollution?
The best way to deal with indoor air pollution is to know what causes it. There are several causes of indoor air pollution, which may vary depending on the weather, the type of environment, and how old the building or its materials are. For instance, indoor air pollution may be caused by poor ventilation, mismanagement of humidity and temperature levels, and stale air. Old or defective air handling systems will also collect microbes and particulates, which contribute to indoor air pollution.
Mold growth due to accumulated moisture is also a leading cause. Poor building design and maintenance are likewise factors to consider. Storing construction materials or allowing dust to build up may also contribute to indoor air pollution. Offices which use printers and photocopiers will find that toner dust will often permeate the air, adversely affecting the respiratory health of its employees. The presence of insects and pets also contributes to indoor air pollution. Lastly, issues with combustible gases and sewer gases as well as with chemical off gassing can lead to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide and other gases in the air.
Basic IAQ self-testing
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) testing involves testing for many pollutants and metrics. Here are a few basic metrics that you can use yourself to check the air quality in a particular room or building.
- Relative humidity. Relative humidity levels should be within the 20 – 60% range, depending on the season. Relative humidity indoors should be maintained within that range because it can affect the growth of microbes as well as the spread and concentration of many indoor air contaminants. For instance, high humidity indoors may increase the chances of mold growth.
- Temperature. Temperature levels are closely linked to relative humidity levels, and will determine the amount of moisture available in the air.
- Carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide levels indoors should be no more than 25 ppm. High levels of carbon monoxide can cause nausea, unconsciousness, and even death. The most dangerous aspect about carbon monoxide is the fact that it is odourless and colorless, which means you may be unconsciously exposed dangerous amounts of the gas without even knowing it. The main sources of carbon monoxide indoors are tobacco smoke, car exhaust, defective central heating furnaces, and old space heaters.
- Carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide levels indoors should ideally be no more than 1,000 ppm. Higher carbon dioxide levels may be a sign of poor ventilation in a particular room or building.
Please note that these are just basic tests. We offer more thorough tests which are explained below.
Our IAQ and VOC testing services
Our air quality testing however is much more comprehensive as there are many other pollutants to test for. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) are of special concern as they have long-term adverse health effects. These are gases emitted from an array of products you’ll find in your household (cleaning supplies, paints, copiers, printers, permanent markets etc.). Concentrations of VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to 10 times higher) than outdoors.
Who needs Air Quality Testing?
These are common reasons for someone to test the air quality:
- If you need to comply with regulations or City ordinance.
- If you are suffering from health issues at home or in your workplace
- If you purchased a former grow op home.
- If you suspect of hidden mold.
- If your new home inspection found mold and you want check other areas.
Most of us spend so much time indoors, which is why it’s a worthwhile investment to have the indoor air quality tested for your own wellbeing. The indoor air quality test will come with a comprehensive report on the indoor pollutants and will not only explain the findings of the test, but also make recommendations as to how you can eliminate or reduce air pollution.
Here are some other popular areas we serve:
Bancroft, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington
Markham, Midland, Milton, Mississauga
Newmarket, Niagara-on-the-Lake, North York
Rexdale, Richmond Hill
Scarborough, St Catharines