December 19, 2022

Indoor Air Quality in St. Louis, MO

Should I Get an Air Quality Test in My Home?

    Why an Air Quality Test May Be Necessary for Your Home

    With the winter months ahead of us, many people head indoors for some warm, cozy time away from the harsh elements that cold temperatures can bring with them. Few of us give a second thought to the recycled air we’ll be breathing as we all gather together to wait out the cold months in close quarters.

    It’s not only people that stay inside more on cold winter days. Dogs are probably sitting near their owners, wondering why their walks are shorter than normal. When your pets aren’t spending as much time outside the house, there’s more opportunity for hair and dander to collect inside. Unless you have an air filtration system, this increased number of contaminants will adversely affect the quality of the air you breathe.

    Did you know that the air inside your house is likely to be even more polluted than outdoor air? Indoor particulates flow freely in our offices, schools, and homes on a daily basis. These pollutants and particles can come from a number of different sources, from pets to cleaning products to air fresheners and even furniture and textiles.

    What Are We Breathing In?

    As we breathe in this recycled air, day in and day out, these contaminants build up on our skin and in our respiratory system. This toxic accumulation of chemicals and free radicals can cause significant health consequences and may be a primary source of skin damage. Here is just a small sample of what may be swimming in your home’s air and environment.

    Combustion Gases

    Combustion gases are present in nearly every home and building on the planet. These gases are emitted from fireplaces, space heaters, furnaces, stoves, and tobacco smoke. Carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide are two of the primary gases that show up on air quality tests, each with its own unique set of potential consequences.

    Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, so its presence is not readily known until you begin to experience symptoms. Some of these symptoms include:

    • Headache
    • Confusion
    • Nausea
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Trouble breathing
    • Death in extreme cases

    Nitrogen dioxide causes almost immediate shortness of breath and is known to irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. When one is exposed to nitrogen dioxide for long periods, the risk of lung infection and diseases like emphysema rises exponentially.


    Radon is yet another colorless, odorless gas that can only be detected with a quality test. It is a leading cause of terminal lung cancer, known to kill thousands of people each year. While radon is found in outdoor air samples, its level of concentration remains relatively low. When allowed to accumulate into lower stories of high-rise buildings and basements, amounts grow to toxic levels.


    Asbestos is a compound that occurs naturally in the soil. This fibrous group of molecules is relatively harmless until it makes its way into your home. Although it was a common building material in the mid-1900s, it has since been banned in construction due to its ability to release particles in the air that cause lung cancer and long-term scarring of lung tissue.

    Consumer Products

    We use products such as glue, printers, paint, and shower curtains in our homes. What many of us don’t realize is that these products contain volatile organic compounds (VOC) that can cause health issues such as nausea, headaches, and even brain damage and cancer over time. VOC levels are significantly higher indoors than they are in outdoor air samples. If you suspect that a product you’re using contains VOCs, do your part to reduce your use or eliminate them in favor of safer products.

    Molds and Mildews

    Mildew and mold growth are two of the most nefarious indoor air pollutants. They grow in walls, under flooring, and in your attic and ductwork during human, warm conditions. Unmanaged water damage can also result in mold and mildew growth. The presence of mold and mildew causes some uncomfortable symptoms, including:

    • Stuffy nose
    • Headache
    • Skin irritation
    • Wheezing
    • Asthma
    • Autoimmune conditions

    Dust Mites and Roaches

    Critters and microorganisms that you can’t see can leave a trail of waste behind. Fine particulates from feces and urine become airborne, causing allergic reactions and breathing problems for some people.

    Household Cleaners

    Toxic particles from household cleaners are a leading cause of respiratory distress. These airborne chemicals are ingested, causing irritation and lung tissue and mucous membranes, making it difficult to breathe easily. Over time, toxic levels of particulates from household cleansers can saturate lung tissue, causing illness and disease.

    Symptoms of Poor Air Quality

    Even without an extensive test, you may be able to tell if you have poor indoor air quality inside your home. Look for these telltale symptoms that your air is contaminated with pollutants.

    • Asthma or respiratory illness
    • Dryness and irritation of mucous membranes
    • Headaches
    • Trouble breathing
    • Congestion
    • Dizziness
    • Allergies
    • Fatigue
    • Illness that cycle repeatedly
    • Skin irritation

    If you notice that these symptoms keep cycling through your family, it’s time to consider an air quality test for your home.

    Improving Air Quality in the Home

    Here are some steps you can take to reduce pollutant levels and take charge of your home’s air quality.

    Reduce Your Chemical Use

    Products containing VOCs and household cleaners can cause adverse health conditions. Find replacements for products that are laden with chemicals, swapping them out for all-natural products that are certified organic and environmentally safe for use around pets and people.

    Increase Ventilation

    Increased ventilation around your home can improve air quality by replacing stale, saturated air with fresh air. Consider using fans, opening a window, or installing an air exchanger to yield a continuous supply of fresh, cleaner air.

    Address Moisture Issues

    High humidity levels in the home can cause mold and mildew to form, causing a host of health problems. Lowering humidity levels will keep mold and mildew at bay, preventing the buildup of these toxic substances. Run a dehumidifier, fix leaky plumbing, and ventilate kitchens and bathrooms to keep excess moisture from circulating inside.

    Invest in an Air Purification System

    Scott-Lee Heating Company has all your needs covered when it comes to professional air quality products. We sell and install ultra-violet light air filtration systems that not only kill bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms but also remove smoke, dust, pollen, and dander from your environment.

    Indoor Air Quality Testing

    IAQ testing involves collecting samples of your indoor air in various locations throughout your home. These samples will be analyzed in a laboratory to determine the level of saturation and the presence of certain pollutants in those samples.

    Professional testing is an option for those who aren’t comfortable collecting and processing samples at home. An air quality specialist has access to more sophisticated equipment and can provide you with more detailed results and suggest strategies and action steps toward creating a cleaner environment for you and your loved ones.

    Proudly serving customers in St. Louis and the surrounding areas, we remain the region’s premier service provider for residential and commercial heating and cooling repair, maintenance and installation services, and air quality products. Don’t trust the health of your loved ones to just anyone. Let our professionals find answers for you that lead to a safer, cleaner home. Call Scott-Lee Heating Company today!