Understanding Indoor Air Quality

Did you know the air inside your home could be more polluted than the air outside? In fact, experts estimate that household air pollution contributes to approximately 3.2 million deaths annually worldwide (1). The impact of poor indoor air quality (IAQ) goes beyond these startling numbers, affecting our daily lives in more ways than we might realize.

Pollutants in our homes can trigger or worsen symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, and pose long-term health risks such as asthma, heart disease, and cancer. Indoor air quality monitoring is crucial for identifying pollutants, despite the challenge that air quality can vary quite widely across different parts of your home.

Let’s explore effective strategies to monitor and improve our indoor air so we can better to protect our health and transform our homes into sanctuaries of wellbeing.

Indoor Air Quality Monitoring 101: Navigating Your Home's Unique Ecosystem

IAQ is not a static measure, as multiple factors inside and outside can cause it to fluctuate.   

The Impact of Outdoor Air on Indoor Air Quality

The interaction between outdoor and indoor air quality complicates the IAQ landscape. Pollutants from outdoor sources, such as traffic emissions and industrial activities, can infiltrate homes.

Homes with poor ventilation systems or inadequate sealing can experience higher levels of outdoor pollutants coming indoors. Conversely, effective air purification and ventilation strategies can reduce indoor pollution, mitigating the intrusion of outdoor pollution.

IQAir’s AirVisual Pro sensors provide real-time indoor air quality monitoring—so you can identify pollution hotspots and fluctuations and take immediate action, whether it's improving ventilation, using air purifiers, or modifying activities that compromise air quality.

Pinpointing Sources of Indoor Air Pollution: A Room-by-Room Guide

Each area of your home has unique air quality challenges. Identifying and addressing these sources is key to reduce indoor pollution and maintain healthy indoor air:

The Kitchen

The kitchen is often the most polluted room in a home. The main culprit? Pollutants emitted from the gas range. These can include nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide. Cooking also produces harmful ultrafine particles, known as UFPs, which are particles so small they can penetrate deep into your bloodstream and wreak havoc on your health. 

  • Use range hoods that cover the entire cooking surface to capture pollutants effectively. A range hood that extends 3-6 inches beyond the cooktop can provide better protection.
  • Opt for a range hood with a fan capacity appropriate for your kitchen size, ideally moving at least 200 cubic feet of air per minute.
  • Ensure that the range hood exhausts outside to remove pollutants effectively, rather than recirculating the air indoors.
  • Engage the range hood fan before starting to cook and leave it on for a few minutes after finishing to clear residual pollutants.
  • When possible, cook on back burners as range hoods typically offer better coverage at the back.

Living Areas

Living areas serve as the heart of the home, often hosting a mix of activities that can impact air quality. From family gatherings to solo relaxation, it's essential to maintain a clean and healthy environment.

  • Regularly use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to minimize dust and allergen accumulation.
  • Maintain optimal humidity levels (30-50%) to discourage mold growth and dust mites.
  • Select furniture, cleaning products, and paint that emit low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to keep the air fresh and clean.


The combination of water and limited ventilation makes bathrooms prime areas for mold and mildew growth, impacting air quality.

  • Use exhaust fans during and after showers or baths for at least 20-30 minutes to reduce humidity levels and prevent mold growth.
  • Clean bathroom surfaces regularly with mold-resistant cleaners.
  • Check for and repair any leaks promptly to avoid moisture accumulation, which encourages mold growth.


We spend a significant portion of our lives sleeping, making bedroom air quality crucial for overall health.

  • Wash bedding regularly.
  • Keep pets out of bedrooms to reduce pet dander.
  • Use air purifiers to capture airborne dust mite droppings and other particulates from the air.

Garages and Basements

Garages and basements can harbor various pollutants, from car exhaust to stored chemicals, impacting the home's overall air quality. 

  • Ensure that garages and basements are well-ventilated to prevent the accumulation of vehicle exhaust and chemical fumes.
  • Store chemicals and solvents in tightly sealed containers and keep them away from living spaces.
  • If your garage is attached, make sure there is an effective air seal between the garage and the rest of the home to prevent pollutant transfer.

Beyond a Single Sensor: Comprehensive Indoor Air Quality Monitoring

A single monitor might not suffice due to the complex nature of indoor environments. Strategically placing monitors can help you identify variations in your IAQ, enabling targeted actions to improve things.

Here are some suggestions on where to place monitors for comprehensive coverage:

  • High Traffic Areas: Place a monitor in living rooms or common areas so you can assess IAQ where family members spend most of their time.
  • Bedrooms: Studies have shown that maintaining good air quality may be the secret to a good night’s sleep. Placing monitors in bedrooms can help ensure the air quality supports restful sleep.
  • Near Potential Pollution Sources: Kitchens and garages often have higher levels of pollutants.
  • By Exterior Doors and Windows: Placing monitors near entry points can help you understand how outdoor air quality affects your indoor environment.
  • At Different Levels: In multi-story homes, place monitors on each level to detect variations in air quality. Since some pollutants can be heavier or lighter than air, their concentration can vary between floors.

Remember, the goal of strategically placing AirVisual Pro monitors is not just to detect the presence of pollutants but to understand their sources and patterns. This knowledge allows you to implement targeted improvements—like adjusting ventilation, reducing pollution sources, and using air purifiers efficiently.

Optimizing Indoor Air Quality Management

Integrating air purifiers with AirVisual Pro monitors in various rooms can enhance air quality management, offering a dual approach to monitoring and purifying indoor air.

By strategically placing air quality monitors throughout your home and complementing them with high-performance air purifiers, you can achieve a nuanced and effective indoor air quality management strategy.

By placing air quality monitors throughout your home and complementing them with high-performance air purifiers, you can achieve a nuanced and effective indoor air quality management strategy.

  • Living Spaces & Bedrooms: Place air quality monitors in main living spaces and bedrooms to ensure continuous monitoring where you spend most of your time. IQAir’s HealthPro Plus air purifier filters a wide range of pollutants, including allergens, bacteria, dust, viruses, and common VOCs, making it a comprehensive solution.

  • Kitchens and Garages: IQAir’s GC MultiGas air purifier is specifically designed for environments with a higher concentration of gaseous pollutants, which are common in kitchens and garages. It offers powerful full-spectrum protection, packing the chemical removal power of more than 100 gas masks.
  • Multi-story Homes: Utilizing air purification systems across different floors can ensure comprehensive coverage against both particulate and gas or chemical pollutants, tailored to the specific needs of each level based on IAQ readings. Whole-house air purifiers are another powerful solution to filter the air in an entire home. Such systems can be installed in-line with your HVAC system(s), cleaning 100% of the air passing through the HVAC system, providing HyperHEPA filtration.

The takeaway

Recognizing the variability in IAQ across different home spaces is essential. Employing multiple devices for comprehensive monitoring, alongside selecting suitable air purifiers and other solutions, can significantly contribute to creating a healthier indoor environment.

The number one air cleaning solution for your home.

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