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Effects of Poor Air Quality + Signs Your Home Needs an Air Quality Assessment

Posted in Indoor Air Quality | Mold Inspection | Radon Testing | VOC Testing on December 27th, 2019 by Ian Stevens

indoor air quality testing

Indoor air pollution is a problem everywhere, though the particular pollutants vary somewhat from place to place, or even from room to room. Contaminated air can seep into any house from outside, and it can also be created by indoor sources. Possible dangers include mold, bugs, pets, construction materials and even certain consumer products.

Indoor Air Quality Testing In Maryland

MD Mold Testing in Maryland offers a comprehensive air quality assessment, or more specific asbestos testing, to identify potential pollutants. For more information about our indoor air quality testing services, Call Us At 301-717-1454 today!

There are a number of possible hazards that can negatively affect the quality of the air inside a building. Here are a few common and hazardous examples:

1) Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is one of the most dangerous of all indoor pollutants and creates an actual risk to the life of everyone inside the house. It is an odorless and tasteless gas that can be almost impossible for people to detect.

Common sources of carbon monoxide include stoves, fireplaces, malfunctioning furnaces and space heaters. Initial symptoms might include nausea or headaches but can quickly escalate to unconsciousness and death.

How Radon Enters The Home

2) Radon

Radon is another odorless gas that affects many homes. It comes from decaying uranium located in the soil beneath the house and seeps up through the foundation. Some geographical areas have higher levels of radon than others.

The danger of radon is that it can cause lung cancer, particularly when people are exposed to high levels over a long period of time. Even if a home sits in an area of low-risk, the only way to really be sure that radon levels are low is through air quality testing. Learn more about Radon testing here.

Asbestos Fibers

3) Asbestos

Asbestos was the go-to building insulation material at one time, and it exists naturally in soil. Asbestos was considered useful as insulation because it is heat resistant, but the tiny fibers can break off and circulate in the air. When people breathe in these fibers, they enter the lungs and cause all kinds of problems, from lung cancer to scarring and mesothelioma. Learn more about asbestos testing here.

4)  Mold

Mold is commonly a cause of nasal congestion, difficulty breathing, or irritated eyes and skin. That is if you don’t have an allergy to mold. Those with allergies to mold are prone to more severe reactions.

Mold thrives in particularly damp or moist conditions and is commonly found in places with high humidity. Places like basements and bathrooms are particularly common for mold to live in.

That means that dingy spaces in the corners of your home are prime spots for mold to live. Even if you don’t want to go down into that damp basement because it scares you, mold will start to grow and its spores will spread into the air of your home. Learn more about mold/air testing here.

5) Volatile organic compounds

There are thousands of consumer products that emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  Paint, cleaning supplies, glue, shower curtains and printers contain VOCs. The low boiling points of VOCs allow them to release vapor, even when exposed to room temperatures.

The Office of Research and Development at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) elevated VOC levels remain in the air long after people use products that contain them. In addition to long-term risks like cancer and brain damage, VOCs can cause health problems such as nausea and headaches. The EPA reports that VOC levels are up to 10 times higher indoors than outdoors. Learn more about VOC testing here.

6) Pesticides

Rodents and insects are a common source of indoor air pollution and if they are detected homeowners will do the first thing that comes to mind, which is grabbing the pesticide. These pesticides are toxic and contain organic compounds that add to the airborne Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) levels. Symptoms can vary as it depends on the chemical and dosage; common symptoms include headaches, nausea, long-term brain damage and an increased risk of cancer. Most US homes have used at least one pesticide indoors over the past year, usually insecticides and disinfectants as these chemicals account for up to 80% of the average person’s exposure.

Signs of Poor Indoor Air Quality:

There are countless cleaning products available today to ensure that your counters are sparkling, your floors are spotless and the windows are streak-free. But, while it’s commendable to keep a tidy home, what if dangerous toxins are lurking just out of sight?

No matter how often you vacuum the carpets and wash the surfaces in your home, you can never be sure just how sanitary it is unless you take advantage of Maryland indoor air quality services. It’s crucial to test the air quality in your home to determine if your family is breathing in toxins on a daily basis.

At MD Mold Testing, we perform Maryland mold inspections with more than 25 years of experience behind us. We will also travel to Virginia, Delaware and Washington D.C.

Know the Symptoms

allergiesThe effects of contaminants in your indoor environment can result in health-related symptoms. The symptoms usually manifest in the lungs, nose, eyes, or stomach. But they can also cause a general sense of lethargy and fatigue.

Symptoms related to the lungs to look out for are coughing and shortness of breath. Other symptoms to make note of are headaches, nausea, sneezing, dizziness, and sinus infections.

Air contaminants may also cause dry eyes, nose, throat, and/or skin irritation. Air pollutants may also trigger or worsen allergy and asthma symptoms.

Pay special attention as well to the time, place, and location where the symptoms occur or worsen. If symptoms go away or are reduced after leaving a certain environment, then further effort should be made to identify possible causes.

Rule Out Other Illnesses

Air contaminants produce symptoms similar to the cold and flu. So, before you conclude that air contaminants are to blame, visit your doctor.

At your visit, feel free to inform your doctor about your air quality concerns. If the symptoms continue or are reoccurring, then you and your doctor can discover if air contaminants could be the cause. You should also inform your doctor if your symptoms change or you still feel ill.

Maryland Mold Testing

Check Your Surroundings

Visually inspect your surroundings thoroughly for signs of mold and chemicals such as cleaning supplies and disinfectants. If you believe cleaning supplies may be causing your symptoms, then you may want to switch to natural cleaning products.

To inspect for mold, start looking in areas of your home associated with moisture such as your bathroom, attic, and basement. Check your ceilings as well for signs of water leaks and damage.

Mold typically grows in wet, dark and poorly circulated environments. It can appear in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Mold can also produce a musty odor that can linger strongly in some parts of your home and not in others.

If you’ve thoroughly cleaned your home’s carpets, sheets, and furniture and the smell still lingers, then it could be mold causing the odor. If you suspect mold is in your home, then contact a mold removal specialist who can also conduct environmental testing.

Other environmental factors to make note of are ongoing home repairs, outdoor pesticide use, and hobby supplies. You should also take into account the symptoms of the people around you. If multiple people are experiencing symptoms which worsen in the same location, then the air quality may need improvements.

Black Mold On Wall

1. Signs of Mold in Your Home

Though mold does not always present health problems, some people are especially sensitive to its effects. The presence of mold in your home can cause symptoms like congestion, wheezing, and skin or eye irritation.

More severe reactions include shortness or breath and fever. People with allergies or those who are immune-compromised are especially susceptible to the effects of mold, and it can be dangerous for them to live in an environment that contains this toxic substance.

2. Signs of Asbestos in Your Home

The mere presence of asbestos in your home is not a problem; the danger lies in the materials disintegrating over time, as they often do. In more severe cases, asbestos can cause mesothelioma or lung cancer, and the risk increases with the number of fibers that you inhale.

3. Signs of Radon in Your Home

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking in the United States, and it’s the number-one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. When we perform Maryland mold inspections, we can also test the air quality in homes, and we will alert our clients if we find any radon present.

4. Signs of Lead in Your Home 

Lead can cause a number of health problems, including damage to the brain, kidneys, and other vital organs. Some symptoms of lead poisoning include stomach ache, headache, and nausea.

Why Indoor Air Quality is More Important Than You Realize

When you neglect your air quality, you risk putting yourself and your family in danger of developing asthma, getting lung cancer or contracting another respiratory illness.

It’s clear that the air we breathe in our own homes is essential to our bodily health, but how often do you think about your air quality? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably only when something triggers you to do so. We don’t think about those things until we’re forced to.

The problem is that by the time we notice poor air quality it is typically after we’re already suffering the consequences.

Why Indoor Air Quality is So Important

When you sit down and think about it, it makes sense that the air we have in our homes is more polluted than the air outdoors. We use a number of toxic chemicals on a regular basis in our homes.

We also usually have ventilation systems that suck and blow those chemicals to and from throughout our house. Those vents are often congested with dust and other pollutants. We spend most of our time indoors, and the air we’re putting into our body is recycled throughout vents, rooms, and moves through chemicals regularly.

Think of the chemicals that you use to clean your kitchen and wash your floors. The building materials used in constructing your home, the dust contained in the fabric of your furniture, and, sometimes, mold lingering unseen in your home.

Indoor Air Quality: What to Know About Improving the Air Quality in Your Home

Did you know that indoor air quality has nothing to do with how clean you keep your home? Did you also know that the majority of pollutants have no smell, making them undetectable? Anyone with a home can benefit from improving the air quality their family breathes. If you aren’t sure how to improve the air quality in your home, read on. Easy breathing and comfort are right around the corner!

Prevent Issues Before They Start

Mold and dust are the two most common pollutants that impact your indoor air quality. Prevention is key in keeping the air in your home free of allergens. 

Remember to scrub bathrooms- a major source of mold for many families- at least twice a month. This will prevent mold spores from accumulating to unsafe levels.

Dust regularly. If you don’t want to breathe the dust that’s disturbed as you’re cleaning, look for products that trap dust as you clean. 

Try to avoid sweeping- you may not want to inhale what gets swept into the air. Instead, try a wet sweeper that helps keep irritants contained.

Vacuuming is an  even better option to eliminate indoor pollutants without sending them into the air. 

You may also want to clean around your air vents as trapped dust tends to accumulate in these areas. Just remember to look for cleaning equipment that is made to reduce allergens. 

Leave the Outdoors out There

If you’re particularly sensitive to indoor air pollutants, limit the number of plants you keep indoors. While plants are known to clean the air in your home, for those of us that are more prone to allergy or asthma attacks they can trap unwanted moisture, mildew, and sometimes even mold if they’re being over watered consistently. Plants with larger leaves can collect dust too, which would need to be addressed as part of your regularly cleaning schedule. If you’re set on having plants to liven up your home, keep them on a screened porch or backyard.

If you work outdoors or do regular lawn maintenance, you may want to change or leave shoes outside of your home to avoid tracking in unwanted allergens. If you are diligent about keeping your home clean but are still experiencing respiratory issues, it’s possible that the environment around your home is causing your symptoms. Environmental testing services can confirm that the water and soil around your home are safe.

Check Your Filters

check air filtersThe first step to improving the quality of air in your home is getting an inspection of your ventilation system. HVAC systems are often littered with pollutants, so it would be wise to have it inspected. It’s essential that air is consistently cycling, being conditioned by your ventilation system.

You don’t want airborne irritants being blown around your room. Those with forced air will want to check filters regularly. If you’re renting, your landlord should do this for you as needed. Air ducts can also get dirty. The EPA has guidelines for what to expect when seeking a duct cleaning service provider.  

You should also have your house inspected for mold if you have any reason to think it might be living in your home.

Embrace Fresh Air

An air purifier may seem like a costly investment, but people with pets or respiratory issues benefit immensely from them. You can also greatly reduce allergy symptoms with a purifier. The irritants that you miss when cleaning are passed through a filter, using the latest technology to clean your air. 

Air purifiers do the best work in common areas, such as living rooms or places pets and children like to spend time in. 

The Bottom Line of Improving Air Quality

Indoor air quality affects you all the time, not just when indoors. Even if you don’t have symptoms now, pollutants and irritants could be lurking in the woodwork of your home. These pollutants can cause major health issues down the road.

Eliminating sources of airborne pollutants will make you healthier and happier! If you’d like to know more about improving the air quality in your home, we have the best advice a professional can give. Contact us for pricing options on a quality home inspection!