You might know that indoor air quality testing is important for either your home, office, or commercial building, but if you’re considering doing it yourself, read this first!

There are literally dozens of air hazards inside any given building, and a major mistake people make when using inexpensive at-home kits is believing that their building is safe because the at-home kit said that it is. Though these kits are much less expensive than hiring a skilled air quality testing professional—starting at as low as $90—they can’t test for everything. Basic kits don’t test for either formaldehyde or VOCs, for example, which are two of the most dangerous airborne pollutants.

Most do-it-yourself kits have a small collection tube or device that spends 24 to 48 hours inside your home exposed to its airflow, and then that tube is sent to the manufacturer’s lab for analysis. One major problem with these at-home kits is that there’s a lot of room for error. If you set up the device incorrectly or choose its location poorly, it won’t give you an accurate reading of the air quality. It’s also possible that the lab they use won’t read the results correctly—without an expert on the ground personally examining the possible source of contaminants, it can be hard to ascertain what the real threats are, and most labs feel little responsibility toward the people sending them their samples. With an experienced technician, you can actually have a conversation about your home or office, your symptoms, and your suspicions, and that personal interaction will go a long way toward accurately diagnosing the dangers present in your building.

Furthermore, home kits have been shown in studies to be unreliable, especially for mold. There are hundreds of species of mold alone, and just testing for spores won’t get you very far because virtually every home has some kind of spore present. You need to be able to identify the species to know which are potentially harmful. Samples are misleading, and visual in-person inspection is necessary.

A comprehensive and effective self-administered air quality test kit can be purchased for $500, but even if you splurge on your DIY set-up, remember that the results of it will be inadmissible in terms of litigation, which is a major concern for building owners and office managers. If you are hoping to protect yourself from potential lawsuits by employees whose health has suffered from the condition of their air quality, you need to have a professional assessment done.

If you want to be ensure that your indoor air quality is safe for its occupants, don’t trust it to an at-home kit! Call us at Hawk Environmental, where we can run comprehensive tests on every aspect of air quality. Your protection is our priority!

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