If you’re searching for an air quality test kit, there are a number of options… which we will discuss below. From professional testing to the latest air quality monitors. However, if you’re looking for a foolproof rock solid test, and don’t have time to get into too much detail, you should look into Home Air Check‘s line of testing equipment.
Air is not as light as it seems. At sea level, there are roughly 15-pounds pushing down on any upward facing surface (measuring one square inch). That’s literally the weight of the Earth’s atmosphere compressed onto a flat surface. However, it’s not atmospheric pressure we want to measure when we analyze what air contains. Pollutants, moisture, or other particles don’t influence how much air “weighs.” So how can you measure the amount of stuff in the air we breathe? Can we measure the air in our home? The answer is yes. There are a variety of home air quality test kit options available online and at you local building supply store.
Wondering if your home’s air might be bogged down with various toxins is pretty frightening. Apart from the potential health risks posed by exposure to toxins and pollutants, poor indoor air quality may damage surfaces and furniture in your home.
Here is the good news; home air quality test kits are available to help you detect a variety wide variety of indoor air pollutants. They help you detect things like radon, mold, and VOCs. However, the real benefit they provide is that a test can be the first step in eliminating the problem at its source. The implication is safe air so that you and your loved ones can breathe easy.
Home Air Quality Test Methods
Before Home Air Quality Test Kits hit the market, home air quality testing required the help of a professional. However, whether you should test your home by yourself instead of hiring a professional is something that needs to be addressed. Self-testing is an effective tool most of the time, and it’s usually a lot more affordable.
However, it may not be as effective in certain scenarios. Perhaps you place it in the wrong location or mess up a critical step from the instructions of the test. Either way, your results will be only as good as your ability to follow the kit’s instructions. A pro probably knows how to avoid those situations and avoid a false positive… or worse a false-negative result.
We recommend a home test kit as a way to check for red flags when symptoms aren’t significant or easy to see. If you’re going see a doctor or have chronic health problems a professional is probably your best bet.
How Home Air Quality Test Kits Work
Home air quality test kits use various methods to help you identify indoor air pollutants. Depending on the type and brand, you will find that kits include simple sample testing, others use a petri dish, and the rest employ some type of automated device.
Common Pollutants Air Quality Test Kits Test for…
1. VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds)
These compounds are often present in consumer products such as paint, glue, printers and shower curtains. Some of them have short term health effects, but others pose long-term risks as severe as brain damage and cancer.
Radon is an often harmless gas that usually dissipates into the outdoor air but sometimes flows into building foundations and reaches unsafe levels in basements and lower floors. Some states offer free or discounted radon detection kits. Otherwise, they can be found in online or home improvement stores. We wrote a detailed Radon guide if you want more information on the subject.
Asbestos usually poses minimal risk except when indoors, when disturbed. Asbestos was, in times past, used as a building material and insulator until it was suspected of being among the leading causes of lung cancer and related health issues. DIY asbestos testing is often discouraged, given the risks involved. However, home testing kits do not require direct handling of asbestos.
4. Combustion Gases
CO and NO2 are the most common culprits in this category. They are the leading cause of indoor air pollution and potentially raise the risk of lung infections. While CO is detected by installing CO alarms, lower levels of the gas might stay unnoticed without any testing procedures.
Molds can cause a variety of problems. But sensitivity to molds vary, and no standards exist since not or molds cause health effects. The best practice for elimination is to determine the type of mold by air-quality testing and work towards removing the mold and preventing future growth.
|Professional vs DIY||Comments||Pro / Con|
|Professional Testing||You get a detailed evaluation of your home air quality||Pro|
|DIY - Home Air Quality Test Kit||You may miss something that a pro would catch||Con|
|Professional Testing||Some professionals provide additional follow-up services like physically testing and improving your HVAC system or your home's building envelope||Pro|
|DIY - Home Air Quality Test Kit||Lower Price||Pro|
|Professional Testing||Higher Price and Need an Appointment||Con|
|DIY - Home Air Quality Test Kit||Some kits do not require laboratory analysis, which usually means that you’ll get your results in a matter of minutes.||Pro|
|DIY - Home Air Quality Test Kit||Some kits come with two tests per kit, so you can test for different parts of the house or indoor and outdoor air.||Pro|
|Professional Testing||Can be use to resolve legal disputes||Pro|
Our Favorite Home Air Quality Test Kit Options:
Awair Air Quality Monitor
Awair’s Air quality monitor is a favorite for its ability to assess air quality as well as provide recommendations. It’s like a high tech security system for the air you breathe. It tracks toxins, chemical, dust, CO2, humidity and even temperature, and provides actionable insights and personalized tips. We like it because it combines an awesome design with a clean interface and functions that would guarantee standard evaluation of your air quality.
What we like…
- One size fits all solution to monitor indoor air quality
- The kit provides recommendations and actionable insights along with results
- Ongoing ability to monitor rather than a snapshot in time like others
What we don’t…
- There are a few complaints of a short life expectancy of the product, but it’s new so time will tell.
Healthful Home 5-Minute Mold Test
The Healthful Home 5-minute mold test identifies molds known or suspected to cause health issues, and not just background molds. It provides results in 5 minutes or less, saving you the hassle and cost of waiting for lab results and is quite straightforward to use.
What we like…
- Contains all the necessary test supplies needed
- The kit identifies only potentially threatening molds, with little chance for a false alarm.
What we don’t…
- Only one applicator is included, so it can only be used on one property
- Results may appear a little vague without the help of a professional to interpret.
Schneider Labs Asbestos 1 PK Test Kit
The Schneider Labs kit is a sample test kit that requires sending your sample back to the lab for asbestos testing. The test kit is for the PLM analysis of suspicious material and is SLGI certified for the determination of environmentally hazardous asbestos.
What we like…
- You mail it out a receive the results within 5 days
- Its cost includes test fee that some other kits don’t.
What we don’t…
- You may want to leave this type of testing to the professionals
- There’s a slim chance that you could disturb asbestos fibers
- You have to mail the test in and wait for their results to return
Do you live above a garage?
Many homes or apartments are situated directly above a garage. One of the things that leads to sick building syndrome and increased VOC exposure is proximity to a garage. Garages big and small are a source of a wide variety of toxic gasses, chemicals, fumes, petroleum vapor, and particulate matter. And, an open window or permeable divider (floor/door/etc.) give those pollutants a direct line into your living space.
If you can, install a vent or fan that allows lighter than air compounds to escape. You may also want to make sure chemicals, paint, and fuel cans are properly stored. And, never… ever idle a combustion engine inside a closed garage. That’s just asking for trouble. But, even with precautions those dwelling above a garage should make sure the air in their living space is not compromised
Many home air test kits will help you determine whether or not harmful compounds are present. And if they are test results will give you a lot of leverage in the event that you do find something hazardous. Those in the property management business are faced with tenants trying to get out of leases from time to time. Test results could be the fastest way to break through that hardened response mechanism, and get them to help resolve the problem.