7 Tips To Monitor and Improve The Air Quality In Your Home (And Basement)

healthy indoor air

Your home’s air quality can pose serious consequences for you and your loved ones.

For this reason, it’s important that you monitor the air quality of your home.

By optimizing the quality, you can increase your quality of life and start enjoying better health.

Additionally, by knowing the state of the air quality in your home, you can get started taking steps to improve it.

With this in mind, let’s first take a look at what is the importance of healthy indoor air at home and what may be causing the poor air quality in your home.

The benefits of healthy indoor air are just endless. Here are just a few of them:

  • It cleanses your lungs and helps gain more energy with a sharper mind
  • It is a mood enhancer; you feel happy and feel positive when you breathe healthy air
  • It improves heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and overall immune system of your body

Outdoor Air vs. Indoor Air Quality

Despite knowing all these benefits of healthy air, we all are forcing our body to breathe in stale air – along with which it tags various health issues.

We think that air pollution is present only outdoors (smoke, haze hanging in the air, ozone, etc.).

However, the truth is our inside offices, homes and time spend indoors could be more polluted than the air outside.

The healthy indoor air (which we usually think) is often more polluted as it carries lots of dirt/dust particles, fire retardants, volatile chemicals, radon, and fragrances used in cleaners.

Some of these pollutants are tracked in the home itself, whereas some arrive through furniture, new mattresses, wall paints, carpet cleaners, etc.

Knowing about its possible causes can help us make improvements at home.

What Causes Poor Air Quality in a Home?

Just because you are staying indoors, you should not think that you are safe from all the polluted air and airborne particles found outside your home.

If you’ve found the air quality in your home to be poor, it could be the result of many different scenarios.

The most common of these problems include:

Mold:

Mold is one of the most common problems affecting your home’s indoor air quality. Mold can result from a variety of factors but usually presents itself with water leaks.

Treat mold quickly, as it can be a serious health risk. Care that you get in contact with an expert to do so as improper treatment can cause mold to spread further.

Smoke:

Those who smoke indoors have particularly bad home air quality.

Even if you smoke with the windows open and the air on, this smoke can creep into fabrics and other parts of your house.

Poor Ventilation:

Without proper ventilation, the air quality of your home will suffer.

Since bad air remains trapped in your home, it can’t be appropriately cycled and filtered. Over time, it will get continually worse.


7 Tips To Improve Air Quality In Your Home


Now when you know about the various causes of poor air quality in your home, if you’re now looking to better the air quality of your indoors, you need to consider the following important tips:

1- Clean Your House

This one may come as a no-brainer. If you’ve got anything dirty lying around, the air quality of your home is going to suffer.

Unfortunately, it’s not always this straightforward. Certain smells and odors may be lingering in fabrics and furniture.

This means that you’re going to have to do a large-scale cleanup in order to get your house in order.

2- Control the Humidity

Make sure that you have appropriate levels of humidity in your home. Having too much or too little can negatively affect air quality. It may even make it harder to breathe.

This can be done in a variety of ways. First, make sure that you’re controlling the moisture in your home.

The best way to control the humidity of your home in dry areas is to invest in an air humidifier. These can be portable and plugged into specific rooms, or they may be whole-house humidifiers.

If your humidity level has seen a dramatic spike (like in the basement), consider the possibility that your home may be experiencing a water leak.

In such cases, if you’re looking to decrease the overall humidity of your home, consider investing in a dehumidifier.

3- Don’t Allow Smoking Indoors

Smoking is injurious to health. In fact, there is no safe level of secondhand smoke.

Even when it’s cold outside, you should avoid smoking and visitors who love to smoke.

Even a one time smoke of the visitors, visiting your home, can contaminate your house with allergens that are hard to remove.

You can, therefore, ask smokers to visit your home to smoke outside (keeping your doors closed) for the sake of the health of your family and yours.

Also Read: Can You Use A Heat Pump to Dehumidify Your House?

4- Keep an Eye on Chemical Fumes

A common cause of bad air quality at places like the basement in your home is the item you store there.

Storing chemicals such as paints, paint thinner, solvents, gasoline, liquors, gas-powered equipment, etc. is common practice for most homeowners.

However, we forget that the fumes from these types of harsh chemicals can easily pollute and worsen the air quality in the basement.

To avoid these chemical fumes, you can either completely avoid storing them or get them properly sealed in a container before keeping them in a basement storage room.

5- Test for Radon in Your Basement

There may be many causes of radon in your basement.

And testing for this serious air-quality hazard is most important when it comes to improving the air quality in your basement.

In general, old homes with basements can have major radon problems.

And testing for it at regular intervals is the only way out to know the quantity and ways on how you can get rid of it.

If radon is found in dangerously high levels, you should get the help of a professional tester and a qualified contractor to get your family protected.

6- Say No To Toxic Household Products

Art and hobby supplies, cleaning agents, nail and hair products carry an increased level of VOC at home.

These elements are harmful to health and can cause eyes or skin irritation.

Try not to encourage these kinds of purchases, especially if you have kids or an allergic person at home.

If required make sure that you buy them in very limited quantities and store them properly in a storage box to avoid dangers.

7- Do Not Let The Ideal Car Sit In The Garage

Your car in a garage carries a certain level of carbon monoxide which leads to various problems like nausea, weakness, and unconsciousness.

Even if the car is sitting ideally in your attached garage it releases various chemical fumes which are again bad for your indoors and overall health.

As it pollutes the indoor air too it can easily make you and your family members sick.

As a remedy, you can use the tools like an exhaust fan for a garage that can help you to improve the overall garage air circulation.

These are important for efficient garage ventilation and to improve the air quality there.


How Can You Test the Air Quality in Your Home?


In order to address the air quality of your home, you must first know where you want to test the air quality, whether indoors or outdoors.

Testing indoor air quality

The easiest way to do this is to hire professional services. These individuals can help check and treat your home’s air quality professionally.

If you choose to do it yourself, consider purchasing an air quality monitor, carbon monoxide detector, and other Do-it-yourself test kits.

These will help you test the air quality inside your home and can help protect your home’s air quality in a better way.

DIY indoor air quality testing kits are a cost-effective means in comparison to hiring a professional as it may get costly to do all the testing.

You just have to follow your instincts, check out the symptoms and try to narrow down the possibilities.

Testing outdoor air quality

Testing the air quality outdoors (like in your garden, backyard, deck areas, etc) should be different than testing the indoor air quality.

For testing the air quality outdoors, you will need to have high-quality monitoring stations that can work outdoors for measuring the outdoor pollutants.

There are various other methods like testing the outdoor air quality using Lichens. You can explore more about them if you really want to test and clean the pollutants outdoors.


Types of Air Quality Testing Kits for Your Home Use


As such you have 6 types of air quality testing kits available that you can use to monitor air quality at home. These are:

1- Mold test kits:

It is an important one as mold is usually ignored in the houses.

If you think that mold is your problem, then it is important to get this kit rather than going for a simple allergen kit that has mold as an option.

This will help you identify all types of airborne mold in your home in a better way.

2- Lead test kits:

A lot of older homes have lead-based paints and before you go for its renovation, it is important to do the testing and resolve the issue securely.

3- Radon test kits:

They are perfect for detecting all types of radon problems in the house. You should use this kit to get an idea about radon.

If you get positive results, then you should hire a professional to perform long-term tests.

4- Allergen testing kits:

If you think that you may be allergic to anything in your house, then you can use these kits to recognize and know the indoor allergens.

It may comprise of mold spores, shredded skin cells, fibers from fiberglass, dust mites or insects.

5- Formaldehyde test kits:

It is regarded as a carcinogen and it is important to do a normal formaldehyde test in the house.

It will help you find out if there are any indoor applications to it.

6- Organic vapor test kits:

This kit majorly concentrates on VOCs and other organic compounds found in the indoor environment.

You can look for different types of such kits, but make sure the deeper you research, the better you will be able to handle it.

So, if you think that there are VOCs or organic compounds in the house, then go for this kit.

Surely, there are several tests and many of them are combinations. Some focus on a particular kind of pollutant while others cover them as a whole.

It is recommended to narrow down your testing as much as you can.

It is also important to try following your nose and instinct to find out what the exact issue can be. A test kit will then help you analyze the situation further.


Pros and Cons of Using Air Quality Test Kit for Home


Selecting a good quality kit requires some research online. And for this reason, you need to know about its advantages as well as disadvantages in detail.

The benefits of using a kit are many, especially when you want to monitor indoor air quality.

Most importantly, it will provide you with assistance to what steps should be taken to ensure that the air in your house is pure and clean.

Some of the other advantages of using an air quality test kit are:

  • Find out what is causing potential health issues
  • Keeps your family safe from potential air pollutants of the house
  • Cost-effective option in comparison to professional air quality testing
  • The quick result- you can get it in just 2 days, depending on the kit and the compound you are testing

Of course, just like the other things, it has some drawbacks too:

  • You have to know what test you are going to do in order to get accurate results
  • The results aren’t 100% accurate- usually because instructions aren’t followed carefully
  • There may be problems in pinpointing the prime source of what is polluting the air of the house, especially when a general kit is used to test several pollutants

How Often should be Air Quality Monitored in Your Home?


Monitoring air quality in-home is important at regular intervals.

Its recommended to get a good air monitoring device and check the quality of the air you have in your home once every 3-6 months.

Once a year, you can get the air quality in your home monitored by seeking a professional checkup.

However, if you live in an area where the air quality is really disastrous, it’s important to get it checked sooner for the welfare of your family.

Overall, to make a healthy home it is foremost important to take care of your indoor air.

The most effective way to keep your indoor air free from pollutants is keeping the things out of the home that pollutes the air such as cigarette smoke, chemicals, excess moisture, etc.

Anything junk is not tolerable especially when you have kids at home. So get rid of them with proper ventilation and live healthily.

Below is a helpful video that can help you know more about how to monitor and test air quality in your home correctly…