Indoor air quality is a major issue for health. The quality of the air in your home or office can make a difference to your respiratory health, your mood, and your risk for cancer and heart disease.
In some cases, poor indoor air quality is obvious - itching or irritation after using chemical cleaners, dizziness and fatigue, or headaches. In other cases, you might notice a stagnant feel, or your mood dipping when in certain rooms of your house. However, in many cases, air quality problems do not cause immediate symptoms. Or the symptoms may be put down to something else - if your mood dips at work, is it the air quality in your office or is it that annoying coworker?
Because poor indoor air quality might not cause symptoms, you should consider getting your air quality tested. If you live in certain areas, this should include testing for radon. You should also have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. Testing can detect radon, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide (also released by stoves and furnaces), certain volatile organic compounds (paint, glue, etc), pesticides, formaldehyde, and some biological contaminants. An air testing company will also perform a visual inspection for pests and mold.
When should you get your air quality tested? If you are moving into a new home, consider getting a test right before you move in, especially if you are in an area where radon is a concern and the home does not already have radon mitigation. Otherwise, test indoor air quality if people are experiencing symptoms that could be related to poor air quality. If you are about to do renovations on an older home, have somebody check for asbestos first. Re-testing frequently should not be necessary unless you have made major changes to your home.