Proper use of a home air quality test kit usually involves following the kit's instructions for collecting surface or airborne samples using the materials included in the kit and mailing the samples to the specified laboratory for analysis. Upon completing the analysis, the laboratory responds with results and recommendations.
Home air quality tests differ by the type of pollutant being measured: allergens, mold, formaldehyde, organic vapors or lead. Laboratory analysis usually takes seven to 10 business days, but some analyses, completed in the home or at the lab, take only a few hours, depending on the number of contaminants being measured. Air quality test kits also vary by the amount of square footage they cover and by cost, which can range from $50 to over $1500, as of 2015. Testing for the presence of radon is the most frequently recommended home air quality test.
There are many ways to identify air quality problems, including physical symptoms, especially if associated with a move, remodeling, new furniture or use of a pesticide. Looking for potential sources of air pollution, such as smokers in the house, frequent wood fires or use of candles or a leaking bathroom shower, is another option. Moisture condensation on windows, unpleasant smells that linger in the home and mold on books or shoes are signs of a lack of ventilation, which also leads to air quality issues.