Home allergy testing is designed to identify the type and quantity of allergens, airborne contaminants, and other pollutants in your living environment. Several types of home test kits are available, but the most reliable results will come from testing by a professional. Once you know what types of allergens are in your home, you'll be able to find the right equipment and filters to remove them.
The two major categories of indoor allergens and pollutants are:
Particulate matter consists of microscopic solid particles, liquid droplets, or a combination of the two. Particulates can be very small pieces of inorganic material such as dust, dirt, metal or fibers. They also include biological contaminants such as mold, pollen, bacteria, animal or insect waste, dust mites and dander. Particulates below 10 micrometers in diameter can be inhaled; smaller particles of 2.5 micrometers and less can settle deep in the lungs, causing harmful respiratory effects.
Gaseous pollution includes smoke and fumes, exhaust gases, cooking odors, ozone and chemical substances such can be produced by household cleaning chemicals, paints, dyes, deodorizers, pesticides and other substances used regularly in many households. Radon can leak into your home—usually through cracks in the basement or house slab if you don't have a basement. Fuel-burning furnaces, heaters, stoves and related equipment can produce dangerous gases as a by-product of fuel combustion, such as carbon monoxide and benzene.
The best defense against indoor pollutants and allergens that are particulate in nature is an air purification system. These high-quality filtration devices are installed so that the airflow of your forced-air heating and cooling systems also travels through the purifier. Inside, a series of filters, up to and including HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air filters), trap and hold pollutants and allergens, preventing them from returning to your indoor environment. As the cleaned air leaves the purifier and is distributed throughout your home, overall levels of allergens and pollutants decrease.
Some of the more advanced air purifiers actually render the active biological substances inert, effectively killing them. This will help to keep your filter from becoming a "bio-nest" of sorts. Gaseous substances can be a bit more difficult to address and can require strategies like ventilation and specialized filters like activated carbon filters. These problems are almost always best addressed by an experienced professional with the necessary diagnostic instruments to evaluate your problem.
To get an overall reading on your specific indoor air quality, ask our technicians about having an Air Advice monitor study conducted in your home. This sophisticated in-home monitor evaluates up to six broad categories of comfort and pollution in your home.
Contact us today for more information on home allergy testing and for access to air cleaning and purification equipment that will help eliminate particulate and gaseous pollution in your home.
Paul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.