Are Indoor Air Quality Monitors Worth It?

Last Updated on: 15th September 2023, 07:59 pm

Poor air quality can have a variety of adverse effects on our health. According to the EPA, the concentration of pollutants in indoor air is 2 to 5 times more than in outdoor air. In recent years, indoor air quality monitors have become quite popular as they can detect harmful pollutants present in the air.

But, are indoor air quality monitors worth it?

The answer is a definitive yes. An air quality monitor is an amazing tool to detect harmful contaminants in indoor air that can harm your health. The information given by this device allows you to take important steps to improve your indoor air and create a healthy environment.

Table of Contents

indoor air quality monitors

Importance of Monitoring Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality (IAQ) monitoring is important because indoor air can be significantly more polluted than outdoor air. The air inside homes, offices, schools, and other buildings can contain various contaminants such as dust, mold, bacteria, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and particulate matter, which can negatively affect human health. Many people spend most of their time indoors, so indoor air quality can significantly impact overall health and well-being.

Poor air quality or exposure to airborne pollutants may cause potential health risks. Some symptoms include headaches, fatigue, dizziness, irritation of the throat, eyes, or nose, asthma, or other respiratory diseases.

Air quality monitors can detect and identify potential sources of indoor air pollution. The data and information collected from air monitoring devices allow us to take steps to create a healthy indoor environment. This can improve health for the people most vulnerable to air pollutants, such as asthma and allergy sufferers, children, and the elderly.

What are the Advantages of Using an Air Quality Monitor?

Air quality monitors are portable and easy-to-use devices. Using them to measure the quality of air offers several advantages, such as:

  • It can detect a range of air contaminants that can be hazardous to your health
  • It can measure the pressure, temperature, and humidity of a particular area
  • It helps identify potential sources of air pollution and allows us to take steps to eliminate them
  • It can help improve and create a healthy indoor environment
  • Many air quality monitors are reliable and give accurate information
  • It can help detect allergens such as pollen, dust, or mold spores 
  • Indoor air quality monitors can measure the effectiveness of air cleaning strategies such as air filters, purifiers, and ventilation systems.

These were the good aspects of using an air quality monitor. However, using these devices has certain limitations as well. For example, IAQ monitors can only detect a limited number of air pollutants. Some devices are unable to detect carbon monoxide. Moreover, air quality monitors do not make the air clean and they do not tell where the contaminants are coming from.

What Compounds Do Air Quality Monitors Detect?

indoor air quality monitors

Indoor air quality monitors detect compounds or air pollutants that harm our health. The compounds that can be measured vary greatly depending on the type and brand of the monitor. The most common of these include:

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

The common sources of VOCs include paints, fuels, resins, cleaning agents, and several household items. Some are harmless, but some can be hazardous to our health. To minimize the dangers of VOCs, buy low-VOC paints and limit the use of solvents, air fresheners, and other household cleaners.

Carbon monoxide (CO)

CO is an extremely harmful gas that builds up indoors due to the incomplete combustion of fuels. It can cause suffocation or even cause death. Not all IAQ monitors can detect CO gas. So, the levels of CO should be measured by a separate device. If high levels of CO are detected, leave the house immediately and call your fire department.

Carbon dioxide (CO2)

If high levels of CO2 are detected, it is mainly because your indoor environment is poorly ventilated. To address this problem, check your HVAC system and maintain it well. You can also open windows to bring in fresh air from outside.

Radon gas

Radon is a colorless and odorless radioactive gas. Long-term exposure to this compound may cause lung cancer. If elevated levels of radon gas are measured, contact a professional to address the problem.

Particulate matter

Many air quality monitors have particle sensors that can measure the concentration of these particles and alert you if they are present at elevated levels. These sensors can’t give information about the type of particles present in the air. So, it is difficult to differentiate between pollen, pet dander, dust mites, or mold spores. If you want to know about mold detection by IAQ monitors, read our article: Do air quality monitors detect mold?

Do air quality monitors detect cigarette smoke?

Yes, an air quality monitor can detect cigarette smoke. Any IAQ monitoring device that can measure both VOCs and PM2.5 would be most appropriate for measuring air quality in the vicinity of smokers, as cigarettes emit both types of pollutants.

What are the most dangerous indoor air pollutants?

Some indoor air pollutants are more hazardous than others which can have potential health risks. These include carbon monoxide (CO), radon, lead, asbestos, mold, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).