How to Monitor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) at Home
How can you know what your home’s Indoor Air Quality actually is? What makes for optimal indoor air quality? And how can monitoring indoor air quality help you and your home?
Whether you live in an apartment or single home, an old building or are building a new one, there are many ways to protect and improve indoor air quality (IAQ) and, as a consequence, your health.
Indoor air pollution sources that release gases or particles (VOCs) into the air are the main cause of indoor air quality problems in homes. Bad ventilation can also increase indoor pollutant levels, and high temperature and humidity levels can increase the concentrations of some dangerous pollutants and allergens.
In this article we will help you take immediate steps to protect IAQ in your home and prevent indoor air quality problems during renovations or when building a new home.
Indoor air quality is a popular topic these days. Studies show that improving air quality improves productivity in offices. This effect can even help once out of the office, with people reporting improved sleep after they went home for the day.
The benefits from improving the air quality in your house will be comparable, not to mention that your house likely doubles as your office in the current work-from-home climate. With so many of us now working remotely, indoor air quality within our homes is incredibly important. However, a few questions remain.
The problem with Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Naturally, pollution is the first factor that comes to mind when we think about indoor air quality, and there are a lot of sources of indoor air pollution. In fact, there are so many that it’s not difficult for indoor air to be over five times more polluted than outdoors!
One of the main causes of indoor air pollution are volatile organic compounds. These particles are produced when various materials inside a building release fumes into the air or shed particles of their material. While it’s possible to measure individual gases, most homeowners will find it easier to just monitor the total concentration of VOCs in the air.
The role of Temperature in indoor air quality
There is a lot of debate over what the ideal room temperature actually is. However, virtually everyone can agree that temperature has an impact on their quality of life. Whatever you choose as your optimal temperature at home, it’s helpful to keep it under control to spot potential fluctuation that would make you or your family feeling bothered. According to USA Today, an EPA report said that “thermostats should be set at around 78° F (or 25.5° C)." As this would be the “optimal temperature for comfort and savings."
How Humidity influences indoor air quality
Humidity has a huge impact on comfort levels. The sentence you probably heard thousands of times “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity” actually has solid basis in science. During summer, high humidity makes you feel like it’s warmer than it really is. In contrast, when you turn on the heating in your home during the winter, this dries the air out. Dry air makes you feel cooler, so you’re tempted to turn the thermostat even higher, drying the air out even more. If this is the case, you should consider adding a humidifier to your home.
Besides comfort, relative humidity has a huge impact on your family’s health. Too low or too high humidity levels can lead to the creation of the perfect environmental conditions to aggravate allergies, asthma and even other serious respiratory conditions. Low humidity in the winter can also makes people more susceptible to viruses including COVID-19, the flu and the common cold.
The recommended level for indoor humidity is between 30% and 50%. Relative humidity can be controlled or changed through the inclusion of houseplants and machines like humidifiers.
How to improve and monitor indoor air quality
Indoor air quality monitoring can be quite complicated. You might need to hire a company to come to your home and give you detailed results about exactly which type of pollutants you’re dealing with if you are having serious issues. On the other hand, with a bit of DIY and patience, it can be as simple as ordering a device that tracks your home's air quality.
KORU’s smart technology constantly monitors the conditions of the plants to keep them healthy. It also keeps track of these three important elements of your indoor air quality (VOCs levels, temperature and humidity, and airflow).
A conclusive note
Monitoring and controlling the level of polluants in and your indoor air quality have never been so crucial to your health as in recent years.
With the Covid-19 pandemic and many other causes of increasing levels of air pollutants, we should focus on making the spaces where we spend the majority of our time as safe and healthy as possible.
Air purifiers are becoming more and more essential devices to maintain a healthy level of indoor air pollution in your home or office.