Indoor Air Quality Testing

Congratulations for making the decision to do Indoor Air Quality Testing on your home or business.  You, your family, your employees, and everyone else’s lungs that might be affected by whatever is in air they breathe will be thankful you did.  The tricky part is figuring out what and how you should go about testing the air quality. Common questions like “How do I know if there are issues with my air quality?”, “Where can I find someone to test it?”, “How do I select who I want to test it?”, “How much will it cost?”, “How do I know it is accurate?”, “Can I test it myself?” and finally “What do I do with the information from the test?”.  These are all great questions and what many people consider before moving forward.  We will provide some guidance in this article to help you with making the decision.

How do I know if there are air quality issues?

There are three main things that could indicate or confirm you have air quality issues. These would be the things that would be the things to indicate that you need indoor air quality testing for your home or business.

  1. The first is the smell itself. Smelling something in the air indicates that you have a problem, especially if you don’t what the smell is or source of it.  While this is a good indicator of an issue, many chemicals and particulates do not have any smell.
  2. Physical response of yourself, family or employees. This can be as simple as recurring runny nose, coughing, nausea, burning eyes, or generally not feeling good. If you go outside or to some other location for a while and the symptoms go away, this would be a good indicator that the problem is in your home or business.
  3. The third is usage of some products or process in your home or business that includes items that have a safety data sheet (SDS). If there are chemicals identified in the SDS that are hazardous, you should be get your air tested.  Here is a basic outline of what a Safe Data Sheet contains as provided by OSHA. If you don’t have SDS sheets or can’t find them online, you can look on the ingredient list. If there are a lot of long name chemicals on there, it would be a good idea to have indoor air quality testing done. Just for peace of mind.

Where can I find and select qualified testers? What's the cost and are the tests accurate?

These are all good questions.  In order to test the air, you first need to find a qualified indoor air tester.  We always recommend starting with Home Advisor or Angies List to find local contractors. These can be harder to find in rural areas. Somethings you just have to use general search engines like google and search on things like “indoor air quality testing” or something close to that.  For Angies list and Home Advisor here are a few things that will help you and can be applied to a general search as well.

  1. Enter “Air Quality Test” in their search box
  2. When you come up with the list of potentials, select ones that do not sell products if possible and only do testing services. If there is no choice, just know that they will likely push the products or remediation services they sell or will recommend products that they have some financial gain from recommending
  3. Find ones that conduct full range testing. Not ones that do mold remediation only. That is ok if you know exactly what the issue is, then you can select a specialist like that.
  4. You’ll have to use your judgement on which is the best for you and your need, but we recommend talking to at least 3 different specialists if you can.

The testing will basically consist of some form of wipe / collection test for mold, bacteria, viruses and other airborne particulate.  For chemicals, it is collected by air samples and sent to certified labs for analysis. Make sure to tell them you want a detailed breakdown of the Chemical types and amounts in the air.  Not a high level report indicating a total VOC/chemical levels.  For cost, this can vary by regions, size of area, business type, etc. But as a guide, you can expect to pay a total of $300-$600 for a comprehensive test for a typical sized home. As for the accuracy, these are the most accurate tests but there still can be some false positives.  It is also dependent on how knowledgeable the person you hire to collect the data.  Things such as humidity levels, placement of testing equipment, area collected, air flows effecting the collection, etc. can all have an effect on the results.

Can I test it myself?

More and more people are testing themselves with the recent availability of reasonable priced test equipment like Foobot.  While these are great for giving you an indication of issues, there accuracy is very dependent on your testing methods and sometimes these devices will have trouble differentiating between odors and dangerous VOC and categorizing it all as VOC.  So, if you are just generally concerned with your air quality and don’t have any of the serious physical issues occurring or have a business using dangerous chemicals, then these are great to give you an idea if you might have an issue.

What do I do with the information from the test?

After you received the test and depending on the result of the indoor air quality testing, we always recommend the best approach is to try to have the issue remediated that is causing the issue.  If you can’t remediate or remove the source of the situation for your business or home, then an air purifier is a definitely a sound investment for you own, your family’s, and / or your employee’s health.

Visit us at and we would be glad to provide help and guidance.

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