We get calls to test for allergens in a property for various reasons. It may be that a client of ours is allergic to cats and is purposely moving into an apartment building that has never allowed the occupants to have cats.
Before signing a lease or buying the apartment, our client wants to ensure that there are no cat allergens in the new space.
A dust sample would be best for this case. Another more common example is when an individual is highly sensitive to a specific allergen and wants to know if that particular allergen is present in her home. An indoor air quality sample would be best for this case.
Many factors can cause poor air quality. Our air quality testers can test the air in every room in your house and examine circulation patterns.
Dust is made up of various particles that can include dirt, pollen, skin cells, animal dander, and many other substances. These particles can be very small and easily inhaled, causing a range of health problems.
One of the main ways dust can make us sick is by causing respiratory issues. Inhaling dust particles can irritate the lining of the nose and throat, leading to sneezing, coughing, and congestion. For people with allergies or asthma, inhaling dust can trigger an allergic reaction or an asthma attack, making their symptoms worse.
Dust can also contain harmful substances such as chemicals, bacteria, and viruses. Exposure to these substances can cause a range of health problems, from skin irritation to respiratory infections and even cancer in some cases.
In addition to respiratory problems, dust can also cause eye irritation and skin irritation. When the dust settles on surfaces, it can also create a breeding ground for dust mites, which can exacerbate allergies and asthma symptoms.
Overall, while small amounts of dust are not usually harmful, prolonged exposure to high levels of dust can be dangerous and can cause a range of health problems.
Dust mite particles are often found in pillows, mattresses, carpeting and upholstered furniture. They float into the air when anyone vacuums, walks on a carpet or disturbs bedding and they settle once the disturbance is over.
Dust mites. Dust mites – sometimes called bed mites – are the most common cause of allergy from house dust. Dust mites are a common cause of asthma in children.
Dust mites live and multiply easily in warm, humid places. They prefer temperatures at or above 70 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity of 75 to 80 percent. They die when the humidity falls below 50 percent. They are not usually found in dry climates.
Most people who search for indoor air quality testing are experiencing symptoms when spending time in a building, and those symptoms abate when they leave the property. This is often referred to as “sick building syndrome”.
Unfortunately, we cannot test for all indoor pollutants in one go–if we could, you would not need to read this article! Testing for several contaminants can be expensive and overwhelming, but if you approach the problem like a detective, basing your choice of air quality test kits on informed suspicions, you are likely to solve the mystery.
The EPA describes common indoor pollutants that might be present in your home:
Identifying the causes of building-related symptoms is quite challenging. There are so many varying types of air quality issues that a comprehensive approach is required. Some people use the term “Air Quality Testing” to describe mold sampling or VOC tests.
Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors than outdoors since they are emitted from so many products found in modern homes and buildings. Examples of common sources include paints, paint strippers, and other solvents; wood preservatives; aerosol sprays; cleaning supplies, disinfectants, and pesticides; air fresheners; stored fuels and automotive products; hobby supplies; dry-cleaned clothing; building materials and furnishings; glues and adhesives.
If you suspect you have mold in your home contact our professional inspectors for a free phone consultation.
Our professional experienced inspector knows what to look for during household mold inspection and testing.
Comprehensive lab/report results interpretation findings and conclusions included.
Indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air are the primary cause of indoor air quality problems. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the area. High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some contaminants.
Primary pollutant sources include:
For indoor air quality allergen air sampling, the approach we prefer collects an air sample for 5 days. A device is set up so that it continuously runs for that time period. During that time, air passes through the apparatus, and allergens are collected on an electrostatically charged plate. This type of sampling is very simple, but it requires a sampling time that is longer than dust sampling.
The indoor air quality sample is sent to a laboratory that analyzes the dust found inside the device. Once it’s analyzed, the results tell us the number of certain allergens per volume of air. Allergens included in the results are weed pollen, tree pollen, grass pollen, mouse, roach, dust mite, cat, and dog. We prefer to collect a sample in the bedroom, but it can also be helpful to test other areas of the home.
Why cleaning the ductwork is imported?
Cleaning the ductwork is important because, over time, the ductwork in a building can become clogged with dust, dirt, and other debris. This can negatively impact the air quality within the building and can cause a range of health problems for the people who inhabit it.
When the ductwork is dirty, the air that circulates through it can contain allergens such as pollen and dust mites, as well as bacteria, mold spores, and other harmful particles. These particles can then be breathed in by the building's occupants, leading to respiratory issues and other health problems.
In addition to health concerns, dirty ductwork can also decrease the efficiency of a building's heating and cooling system. When the ducts are clogged with debris, air cannot flow as freely through the system, causing it to work harder to maintain the desired temperature. This can result in higher energy bills and a shorter lifespan for the system.
By regularly cleaning the ductwork, these issues can be avoided. Professional duct cleaning services can remove built-up debris and improve the overall air quality within a building, leading to better health outcomes and increased energy efficiency.
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