IAQ testing helps identify problems, guide air purifier choices

Your air purifier is quietly humming along, cleaning the air in your home – youhope. If you are asthmatic or sensitive to allergens or chemicals in the air, you know your air cleaner is working if you can breathe freely. But professional air quality specialists have another perspective. “Indoor air quality is something that can’t be seen or heard – but it can be measured,” writes John R. Hall in the July issue of ACHRNews, a trade publication for heating, ventilation and air conditioning professionals. The better the measurement system the better the chances of ensuring healthy indoors air, he says. It’s also true that the better the measurement system, the better your ability to determine the effectiveness of your investment in an air purifier.

Modern air quality specialists measure Indoor Air Quality with a variety of critical metrics: temperature, humidity, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide among them. Perhaps most important of all in measuring air quality as it relates to air purification is determining the presence of particulate matter and volatile organic compounds. In fact many IQAir Authorized Dealers and installers do more than sell and install air purifiers – they are equipped with the latest measurement technologies such as IQAir’s own line of handheld laser particle counters. These state-of-the-art devices can count the number of solid particles in the air all the way down to 0.3 microns, and are used to assess the effectiveness of air purifiers and the quality of indoor and outdoor air.

It gets tougher when the objective of the IAQ testing is to determine the presence of and measure for mold. Visual inspection is the key tool, but often mold grows where it cannot be seen. “There are no mold sensors per se,” writes Hall. But, he points out, a combination of particulate data and humidity data can indicate the likelihood of mold and the need for remediation. And while an air purifier can help eliminate mold spores in the air, the mold won’t go away until the source of moisture feeding the mold is eliminated.

With proper training, an HVAC contractor, air purifier dealer or installer can protect you by using IAQ testing as a diagnostic tool as a routine part of a sales or service call. By asking a series questions, the IAQ specialist can quickly determine if further testing is necessary. The questions might include whether or not household members suffer from allergies and persistent headaches, as well as whether or not the house is unusually stuffy or has odors. The answers to those questions will help guide the selection of an appropriate air purifier or other tool to improve the air in your home.

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