Every year, it can seem like the allergies just get worse. The moment you step outside, your head starts to hurt, your nose begins running and your lungs fill up with gunk.
But then you quickly head back indoors and wait for the symptoms to subside, only to discover they are getting worse. What is going on?
The trouble starts when toxins circulating in the air outside find their way inside. Often, the irritating particles, such as pollen and mould spores, hitch a ride on our hair, skin, shoes and clothes.
At the same time, we are constantly introducing equally potent toxins into our indoor air without even realizing it. Here, cleaning products, candles, personal care products, tobacco and wood smoke are all common contaminants that build up in our indoor air.
Before we know it, we can’t seem to find any relief from the ongoing respiratory symptoms that are running our lives and ruining our summer.
What can you do to break this cycle? Well, it all begins with indoor air quality testing. Read on to learn what steps to take to feel better fast!
What Is Indoor Air Quality Testing?
There was a time not so many years ago when indoor and outdoor air weren’t very different. Homes were not built to be airtight, which meant inside air was constantly seeping out and outside air was constantly drifting in.
But all that changed with increasing concerns about energy efficiency and fuel conservation. Suddenly, builders were tasked with delivering “airtight” homes that kept the temperature-controlled air in and all the rest out. Air circulation and ventilation between inside and outside ceased, and toxic indoor conditions began to surface.
Air quality testing aims to discover the type and concentration of the toxins circulating in your indoor air supply.
The test runs for 72 continuous hours, taking a fresh indoor air sample every 60 seconds. Throughout the testing period, the equipment is continuously analyzing for the presence and concentration of pollutants. At the end of the test period, results are delivered in a multi-page, full-color printout, complete with charts to help you visualize the quality of your indoor air.
From there, we can work together to identify pressing risks and design solutions to eradicate those risks going forward.
Where Do Indoor Air Toxins Hide?
The concentration and type of indoor air toxins may be different depending on where you are in your house.
Here is an outline of just a few of the most common contaminants regularly found in different areas of the average household:
Formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, cooking smoke.
Carbon monoxide, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, volatile organic compounds, carbon particles.
Asbestos, dust and dust mites, formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide.
Radon, mould and mildew spores, bacteria, fungi, dust and dust mites.
Pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, pollen, mould and mildew spores.
Mould and mildew spores, bacteria, fungi, viruses, volatile organic compounds.
Carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, tobacco smoke, volatile organic compounds, pet dander, dust and dust mites.
Carbon dioxide, tobacco smoke, volatile organic compounds, pet dander, dust and dust mites.
What Kinds of Symptoms Do These Toxins Cause?
We find that clients typically contact us asking for indoor air quality testing for one of two reasons: 1) they have read about increasing indoor air toxicity and want to be sure their family is safe, or 2) they are having recurring health symptoms at home and have started to wonder if air quality is causing these symptoms.
Let’s take a look at some of the indoor air toxins mentioned here and their common health symptoms as cited by physicians:
Carbon monoxide (CO) is known as “the silent killer.” This gas is odorless and colorless and as it moves into the body, it blocks further oxygen intake. It is most commonly released as a by-product of running stoves, heaters, appliances and vehicles.
CO can cause headaches, confusion, exhaustion, dizziness, nausea, fatigue and, in very little time, can be fatal.
Nitrogen dioxide is released when using gas or kerosene appliances, heaters, water heaters, stoves and vehicles.
Health symptoms can include respiratory irritation, shortness of breath, an increase in asthma attacks, or respiratory infections and bronchitis.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is more concentrated in certain areas. It can seep up into your home through the surrounding soil, causing lung damage.
Radon is the second most common cause of lung cancer in Canada.
If you use any appliance powered by kerosene, you likely have sulfur dioxide in your indoor air. This gas is irritating to the respiratory system and eyes.
Common household and personal care products
These are too numerous to name individually, but can cause a wide range of health symptoms including headaches, dizziness, nausea, skin rashes, respiratory and eye irritation, fogginess, exhaustion and similar symptoms.
Schedule Your Indoor Air Quality Test (IAQ)
With the results of your indoor air quality test in hand, it is time to clean up your indoor air!
Options include scheduling an indoor air duct cleaning, installing a HEPA air filtration unit, installing an ultraviolet air purification unit, installing a heat recovery ventilator, or some combination of these options.
It is important to know that you don’t have to invest a great deal to enjoy a measurable improvement in indoor air quality!
Air filtration and purification appliances can be retrofitted to work with any existing ducted cooling and heating system. For non-ducted systems, portable versions of the same are available.
Get in Touch
Don’t spend another summer buried in a handful of tissues! Contact us online or give us a call at 905-544-2470 and get started on the road to optimal indoor air quality right away!