How to Test Indoor Air Quality

How to Test Indoor Air Quality

The air quality that we are exposed to is one of the most important factors in determining how we feel. It has a direct correlation with our health, productivity and happiness. However, air quality is often overlooked- after all, our respiratory processes generally happen subconsciously, so the vast majority of the time we don't even give a second thought about the quality of the air that we are breathing. While this may change if we can detect any impurities in our air quality, unfortunately, there are a range of contaminants and pollutants that affect indoor air quality that are completely unable to be detected by human senses alone.

IAQ, or indoor air quality, refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, particularly as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. IAQ is affected by many factors, including ventilation, humidity, temperature, dust levels, carbon dioxide levels, and more. Poor IAQ can lead to a variety of health problems, including headaches, fatigue, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. It can also aggravate pre-existing conditions such as asthma and allergies. In extreme cases, IAQ can even lead to life-threatening conditions such as Legionnaires' disease. As such, it is important to be aware of the factors that affect IAQ and take steps to ensure that indoor spaces are well-ventilated and free of pollutants.

As alluded to before, it requires more than just our human senses to detect IAQ. Take carbon dioxide, for instance, a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas. CO2 is produced when people breathe. It is also present in other materials, such as burning wood or fossil fuels. In small amounts, carbon dioxide is not harmful. However, at high levels, it can be dangerous. High levels of carbon dioxide can cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea. In extreme cases, it can lead to death. That's why it's important to make sure that the level of carbon dioxide in a building is well-regulated. By ensuring good IAQ, we can protect people from the harmful effects of carbon dioxide.

How Is Indoor Air Quality Tested?

There are a variety of air quality testing instruments available on the market. These tools can be used to test for a range of different pollutants, including carbon dioxide, dust, pollen, mould, and more. By using these tools, we can get a more accurate picture of the air quality in a given space and take steps to improve it if necessary.

One of the most popular air quality testing instruments is the Testo 160 IAQ - WiFi data logger with display and integrated sensors. This tool is used to measure a variety of air quality parameters, including temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide levels, and atmospheric levels.  The data logger is small and can be easily installed, making it ideal for testing air quality in a variety of different environments. The Testo 160 IAQ monitor is perfect for monitoring multiple rooms simultaneously and collecting long-term data, and its WiFi connectivity means syncing and storing data to the Testo Cloud to retrieve at your convenience is a straightforward procedure.

Another popular option is the Testo 440 indoor Comfort Testing Kit with Bluetooth. This robust kit will provide all of the tools required to accurately measure the full spectrum of factors that affect indoor air quality.  The testing kit includes The Testo 440 air velocity and IAQ measuring instrument, the CO2 probe with Bluetooth including temperature and humidity sensor, and the turbulence probe. These are all stored in a case to make organisation and transportation a breeze. The Testo 440 is perfect for carrying out detailed air quality assessments in both residential and commercial buildings.

New Zealand Standards for Indoor Air Quality

There are a variety of different standards for indoor air quality, depending on the country in which you live. In New Zealand, the most relevant standard is AS/NZS ISO 16000-9:2006, which specifies requirements and methods for sampling and analysis of airborne chemical contaminants in indoor air that might be harmful to human health. This standard covers a wide range of air pollutants, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter (PM), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and more.

The aim of this standard is to provide guidance on how to carry out air quality testing in order to assess the levels of these contaminants present in indoor air. It also provides guidance on what levels of these contaminants are considered to be acceptable. By following this standard, we can ensure that air quality in indoor spaces is well-regulated and that harmful pollutants are kept at bay.

Why Is It Important to Maintain a Healthy Level of Indoor Air Quality?

There are a variety of reasons why it is important to maintain a healthy level of indoor air quality. Firstly, poor air quality can have a negative impact on our health. Exposure to high levels of air pollution has been linked to a range of health problems, including respiratory illnesses, heart disease, and cancer. Furthermore, poor air quality can also lead to fatigue, headaches, and dizziness.

Secondly, poor air quality can impact our productivity levels. Studies have shown that exposure to air pollution can lead to a decrease in cognitive function and an increase in absenteeism.

Finally, poor air quality can damage our possessions. Airborne pollutants can cause discoloration and deterioration of materials, resulting in costly repairs or replacements.

Maintaining a healthy level of indoor air quality is therefore essential for protecting our health, our productivity levels, and our belongings. By taking steps to improve air quality in our homes and workplaces, we can make a big difference to our well-being.

Testo NZ offers Industry Leading IAQ Measurement Solutions

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is an important aspect of our health and wellbeing that often goes overlooked. It’s not until we start experiencing the negative effects of poor IAQ, such as headaches, fatigue and nausea, that we realise how much it impacts our daily lives. That’s why Testo New Zealand has developed a range of tools to accurately measure and improve IAQ. If you or your organisation are concerned about the indoor air quality in your workplace or home, get in contact with the team at Testo NZ today for more information on how they can help.