May 10, 2024

How Often Is IAQ Testing Necessary?

It’s incredibly important that we pay attention to the quality of our indoor air. Many homeowners in the St. Louis, MO, area spend a great deal of time indoors. Your home should be a healthy refuge from the pollen and pollution that you’re exposed to outside. Indoor air quality testing, or IAQ testing, is something that should be performed periodically to gain knowledge of what contaminants you’re encountering. A professional can perform this service at your request.

The Frequency of IAQ Testing

If you’ve never had indoor air quality testing performed before, you should expect your first appointment to take a little longer. The technician will explain the process to you and complete the testing. They will ask you a bit about your lifestyle, your health, and whether you have pets in the home. After this initial visit, you can expect your IAQ testing to take less time in the future.

Ideally, you should schedule testing once every year, even if you think that your air quality is adequate. You may need to have testing performed more than once in a 12-month period, especially if you are trying to fix a problem that was discovered during your initial testing. Typically, this testing can be performed as part of the annual HVAC maintenance and service that you schedule for your heating and cooling equipment.

How Is IAQ Testing Performed?

A professional will test your indoor air quality using a series of air samples throughout the home. It’s important that you get an idea of the quality of your air in spaces like your bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, attic, and basement. While there are DIY kits that claim to test your indoor air, it’s best that you allow a professional to bring in their equipment for more accurate results.

What Does Testing Include?

The testing that is performed will look for several different contaminants. This includes the following.

Allergenic Particulates

If you’ve been experiencing itchy eyes, a runny nose, and sneezing, there is likely an issue inside your home relating to allergenic particulates. An indoor air quality test can check for things like dust, pet dander, pollen, mold spores, etc. By understanding what is inside your indoor air, you can take the appropriate steps to remove these things, so you feel better.


Radon is a gas that is colorless, tasteless, and odorless. It comes from rocks and soil around your home and leaches through cracks in your foundation. There are DIY tests that check for radon, but a professional is much better suited to interpret radon testing results to determine if you have a problem. Measured in picocuries per liter, more than four picocuries per liter of radon indicates that remediation is necessary.

Volatile Organic Compounds

Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are chemicals that are off gassed from a variety of products that are in the home. While you’re often exposed to VOCs throughout the day, regardless of where you are, some homes experience high levels of VOCs. This ongoing exposure can lead to health issues such as headaches, fatigue, muscle weakness, and mood changes.

A professional will test for VOC concentration in your indoor air. They can also help educate you on where your VOC exposure may be coming from. VOCs are common in building materials. If you have recently painted, had new countertops installed, or have new flooring, your VOC exposure may be quite high. Also, VOCs come from things like chemical-based cleaning products, beauty products, laundry products, and even new furniture.

If VOC concentration is high in your home, you can make healthy changes to improve your indoor air quality. This can include switching to more natural-based products, allowing products to off gas before they are brought inside, and using proper ventilation or air purification to remove VOCs from the air that you’re breathing.

Secondhand Smoke

If someone in your home smokes, this can cause everyone in your household to be exposed to secondhand smoke. Prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke can cause asthma, breathing difficulties, and allergies. The optimal solution is to ban smoking inside the home, but the smell can be brought inside on a person’s body and clothing. You can improve your indoor air quality and remove secondhand smoke by investing in higher-quality filters for your HVAC system that utilize activated carbon. Air purification devices are also a good idea.

Carbon Monoxide

Most homes are equipped with at least a couple carbon monoxide detectors, but an IAQ assessment can check all the rooms in the home to see if levels are high anywhere. Many detectors only alert you if carbon monoxide levels have reached a deadly level. If there appears to be a problem, your technician can help determine where the issue is coming from. It’s likely you have an issue with an appliance or your HVAC system. Repairing the problem will remove the carbon monoxide from the home.

More Frequent Testing

As mentioned above, you may require additional IAQ testing if your initial test spotted a problem. Ensuring that any changes you have made to your home have been adequate will be ideal. However, there are some other scenarios that may warrant additional IAQ testing. This includes recent construction or repairs being done in your home that may have affected your indoor air quality.

If you have noticed that people in your home have recently started experiencing health problems with no known cause, indoor air quality may be to blame. Symptoms like headaches, nausea, extreme fatigue, and shortness of breath should be investigated with your doctor, as well as an experienced and knowledgeable HVAC professional.

Problems With Indoor Air Quality

If you do find out that something is amiss with your indoor air quality, it’s important that you don’t panic. There are plenty of steps that can be taken to remedy the situation and bring your indoor air quality back up to speed. This includes things like the following.

Air Purification

Investing in a whole-house air purification device can remove particulates, VOCs, and even pathogens from the air that you and your family are breathing. There are many different types of purifiers available.

Advanced Filtration

The filter in your HVAC system is designed to trap a variety of particulates. You may be advised to purchase a higher-rated filter that will prevent more contaminants from passing into your indoor air.

Humidity Control

If your indoor air is too high or too low in regard to humidity, you can utilize a whole-house dehumidifier or humidifier to control your levels.

Professional Indoor Air Quality Solutions

If you would like to learn more about having an indoor air quality test performed in your home, reach out to Scott-Lee Heating Company for more information. Our experienced technicians can perform testing in addition to providing you with different ways to improve your indoor air quality. We also take care of routine HVAC maintenance, the installation of new heating and cooling equipment, and emergency repairs. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment in the St. Louis area.