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  • Writer's pictureAdam Clark

Indoor Air Quality Testing Procedures.

Indoor air is a silent killer. The number of pollutants found in homes and offices can be staggering. Many of these chemical compounds are released when people leave air-ventilated buildings or open windows. Pets and other animals left inside can also release scent-marking airborne contaminants that make their way into living spaces. In addition, indoor air quality can deteriorate over time as a result of natural factors such as humidity, temperature, and carbon monoxide from cooking devices. It’s important to regularly test for these pollutants so you can achieve an airflow that’s safe for your family and employees. Indoor air testing procedures should be considered an essential part of any building operation regardless of size or scope. They not only provide essential information about the level of pollutants in the indoor environment, but they also serve as a preventative measure to help reduce odor incidents and potential health risks.

Indoor Air Quality Testing Procedures

What is Indoor Air Testing?

In indoor air testing, you vacuum or sweep the air in a room or building to ensure it is free of pollutants such as dust, pet dander, bacteria, and pollutants from other environmental sources such as leaks in plumbing or the air treatment system. The most common method used to conduct indoor air testing is electrostatic air pollution (ESAT) testing. While both methods can be used, most experts recommend using the ESAT method because it is quick, easy, and accurate.

Different Types of Indoor Air Testing

Before you start conducting indoor air quality tests, it’s important to understand the types of testing that are available and how they’re different from one another. There are four general types of indoor air testing: chemical analysis, electromagnetic, infrared, and optical/infrared. Each type of testing has its own set of tests, recommendations, and limitations that are important to know before you begin.

How to Achieve Indoor Air Quality Tests

Most indoor air monitoring systems come with a variety of methods and techniques to test for pollutants such as carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, glue, heavy metals, IQ/perceptual, microorganisms, and more. The most common method used to test for odor is the odor signature, which uses a chemical compound to detect odors. Other methods and techniques are based on infrared, optical, and even sound wave testing. Some indoor air monitoring systems also allow for remote monitoring and analysis.

When Should You Conduct Indoor Air Tests?

Most modern homes and businesses have comprehensive indoor air quality (IAQ) monitoring systems in place to help identify and address air quality issues as they occur. However, some people still find it useful to conduct regular indoor air tests as a preventative measure. There are a few reasons to perform regular indoor air quality tests: To rule out potential causes of poor air quality. Poor air quality could be the result of an underlying medical condition such as asthma or allergies. If a family member or employee has a chronic health condition, it’s worth taking a quick sample of the air in the room to rule out poor air quality as a cause. To confirm that air quality is consistent and safe. It’s important to know that poor air quality is not normal and that you can always perform an indoor air test if you’re concerned about it. It’s also important to know that bad air quality can be masked by good air quality. If you have air purifying products such as charcoal filters or air purifying devices, it’s possible to reduce the amount of bad air in the room by adjusting the airflow.

How to Determine What kind of Indoor Air Test to do?

There are a few different methods you can use to determine which indoor air quality test to perform. You can either choose the most popular test or pick the test that your indoor air monitoring system recommends. If you choose the popular test, most systems will give you recommended ranges for values that range from acceptable to very poor. If you choose a test different from what your system recommends, you can use the rooftop monitor feature to show you actual test results in real-time.

The procedure of Indoor Air Testing

Start by ensuring that air movement is adequate in the room you’re testing. Open all doors and windows, and ensure that the room is at least partly ventilated. If the room is too hot or humid, you could be overworked to ventilate your indoor air, causing excess energy loss and creating pollutants such as moisture and CO2. Next, collect a sample of the air from the room you’re testing. You can either take a small piece of paper towel and place it in the exhaust vent or open a window and collect a sample of the fresh air. Be sure to collect both fresh and stale air samples to rule out possible sources of pollution such as an aging outhouse. Finally, take the fresh and stale air samples, and place them in a sealed plastic bag. Put the bag in the freezer until you’re ready to conduct the indoor air test.

Examples of Good Indoor Air Quality Practices

If you’re able to collect enough samples to provide a meaningful result, you can estimate the indoor air quality in the room by taking the average of the fresh and stale air samples. Ideally, you’d have five or more samples from different locations in the room to better estimate the actual air quality.


Intermittent or chronic exposure to high levels of pollutants, whether from indoor or outdoor sources, can have negative health outcomes. Air quality testing can help you identify and address air quality concerns as they arise, as well as provide preventative measures to help reduce odor incidents and potential health risks. In addition to conducting regular indoor air quality tests, you can also follow these steps to improve your indoor air quality: Vacuum or sweep the air in the room where you sleep to remove dust, pet dander, and other airborne contaminants. Use an air-purifying product to help reduce the number of pollutants in the air. Keep the air temperature and relative humidity in the room constant. If moisture is a problem, thoroughly drizzle water on all surfaces to help remove excess moisture. Use a pure, filtered, and stabilized indoor air filter to help reduce odor and keep the air pure and odorless. Keep your windows and doors closed when you’re not in the room where the air test is being conducted. This helps trap moisture and prevent excess airflow, which can reduce the capacity of the room to hold air and provide less energy. When conducting an indoor air test, take samples of the fresh air and the stale air to rule out possible sources of poor indoor air quality. Use a rooftop monitor to show you actual test results in real.

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