Air quality analysis laboratories: when to call them and what do they do?

The quality of air in a home is an important factor in the occupants' comfort and wellbeing. Is the air we breathe always clean? To find out, you can have it analyzed by a specialized laboratory.

Why do an air quality analysis?
There is a difference between air quality analysis laboratories and companies that specialize in decontamination. The laboratories offer primarily the air analysis service and indicate corrective measures to solve a problem. Because they do not do decontamination or clean-up work, their analyses seek only to pinpoint the cause of poor air quality and to suggest solutions.

Specialized decontamination firms also do air analysis, at a lower price, but they might produce reports orientated toward their services and suggest solutions that they themselves can apply.

Timely intervention
When might you need the services of an air quality analysis laboratory? If you have regular and ongoing problems such as headaches, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, colds or flu, asthma, earaches, pneumonia, irritated breathing passages and various skin problems, there is a strong chance that the air inside the home should be analyzed. Children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with immune system deficiencies are particularly vulnerable to poor air quality.

If the physical ailments that you feel inside the home disappear when you spend any length of time away, air quality may be the culprit.

The expertise of an air quality analysis laboratory may also be solicited when a building’s history may point to problems.

What will the lab do?
When you call a laboratory, a microbiologist will ask for particulars of the situation over the phone. He will then go to the home and collect an air sample to capture contaminants such as CO², micro-organisms (bacteria, yeast and mould), dust, radon (a heavy radioactive gas from the ground), carbon monoxyde (from fireplaces, an oil-heating system, garages or cars shelters adjacent to the home and volatile organic compounds (solvents, fumes from Styrofoam, gas, perfumes, etc.). This is called an “air test”.

The necessary tests are done in the lab and a report is then issued for the homeowner. Depending on the type of analysis done, a verbal report could be provided almost immediately or within seven days. It takes between 10 to 14 days to obtain a written report.

The report will contain the analysis results as well as the problems detected and suggest various solutions.

The cost of an analysis can vary from $300 to $1000, depending on the size of the building and the type of analysis performed.

It is important that the air we breathe in the home be clean; the well-being and health of occupants depend on it. If you have any doubts about the cleanliness of indoor air in your home, calling upon the expertise of a laboratory could save you hundreds of dollars in medical fees and medication.

Source : Airmax Environnement