Allergies or Dirty Air? Buy an Indoor Air Quality Monitor

airthings wave plus indoor air quality monitor
AirThings

Although air quality is primarily an outdoor concern, monitoring your indoor air quality is important too. Indoor sources of air pollution pose a health risk if not monitored properly. Thankfully, indoor air quality monitors provide all the information you need to keep indoor air pollution under control.

If you or someone you know suffers from cardiovascular or respiratory problems, buying an indoor air quality monitor is essential for maintaining a healthy indoor environment. Read on to learn more about who should buy an indoor air quality monitor.

What makes indoor air quality bad?

fireplace bad air quality
Carol A Hudson – stock.adobe.com

The accumulation of particulate matter in an enclosed space is responsible for bad indoor air quality. The small liquid and solid particles in particulate matter are composed of acids, metals, organic chemicals, and dirt or dust. Common sources of indoor air pollution include:

  • Combustion activities (cooking, fireplaces)
  • Building materials and furnishings
  • Household cleaning and maintenance
  • Mold and mildew outgrowths
  • Central heating and cooling systems

The impact these sources have on your indoor air quality depends on the quantity of particulate matter emitted and whether these emissions are produced continuously or intermittently. For example, a large mold outgrowth continuously releases spores and greatly impacts indoor air quality. Conversely, a small mold outgrowth removed quickly has little impact on indoor air quality.

Who is Most At Risk from Bad Indoor Air Quality?

Bad indoor air quality puts specific groups of people at an increased risk for health complications. The people most at risk from bad indoor air quality include:

  • Babies and children
  • People with cardiovascular or respiratory problems
  • Older adults

Respiratory conditions like asthma render people more vulnerable to indoor air pollution. Additionally, bad indoor air quality exacerbates symptoms like difficulty breathing and shortness of breath. In cases like these, buying an indoor air quality monitor is often a necessary health expense, especially if there are already recurring issues with indoor air pollution.

I’m Healthy. Can Bad Indoor Air Quality Make Me Sick?  

allergies
fizkes – stock.adobe.com

Regardless of your health status, bad indoor air quality can make you sick. Acute exposure to high concentrations of particulate matter can cause difficulty breathing, throat and eye irritation, and chest pain. Prolonged exposure to bad air quality can cause the following symptoms:

  • Lung damage
  • Dry throat
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Increased fatigue

Even if you are healthy and at a lower risk for contracting a respiratory illness, bad air quality can make you sick after prolonged exposure. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) poses the greatest risk for potential health problems since these particles can enter the lungs and possibly the bloodstream. A good indoor air quality monitor is a worthwhile investment regardless of your health status.

What Does a Good Indoor Air Quality Monitor Measure?

Most indoor air quality monitors measure PM2.5 and PM10, but a good indoor air quality monitor can measure less common air pollutants as well. A good indoor air quality monitor measures a broad variety of different air pollutants, including:

  • Ultrafine particles (PM1)
  • VOCs
  • CO2
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Radon
  • Pollen and other allergens

Although most particulate matter is restricted to PM2.5 and PM10, PM1 is more dangerous than PM2.5 since these particles are even smaller at less than one micrometer. These ultrafine particles can easily travel from the lungs to the bloodstream, eventually entering into organs. Luckily, the best air quality monitors like the Davis Instruments Airlink can measure particulates as small as .3 micrometers.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are another air pollutant good indoor air quality monitors measure. Some of these gases are carcinogenic while others can form into other air pollutants. The AirThings Wave Plus can measure VOCs and much more. Unlike the Davis Instruments Airlink, this device is an award-wining monitor that detects radon, which is a radioactive gas sometimes found in homes. The AirThings Wave Plus also reports pollen levels directly to your phone through the AirThings app.

Wrapping Up

The negative health effects associated with bad indoor air quality might seem intimidating, but don’t worry. There are numerous indoor air quality monitors that can keep you informed about your home’s indoor air quality. Indoor air quality monitors greatly benefit people suffering from respiratory or cardiovascular problems.

Whether you are healthy or have a health condition, indoor air quality monitors are important for maintaining a healthy indoor environment.

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