There are many factors that can affect the air quality in your home. For the health and safety of all, it's necessary to have the air quality in your home tested. The rule of thumb is the higher the indoor air contaminant concentration, the higher the health risks. The air pollutants in your home can come from harmful gases in the air or from mold growths. Mold and mildew can grow anyplace -- on furniture, building material, wet carpet, inside the heating and cooling systems, as well as a host of other places. These mold spores can be very harmful. Harmful gases can be even more dangerous. The two most prevalent gases in homes are radon and carbon monoxide [source: Colorado State University]. Here are some ways to test the air we breath.

  • Carbon Monoxide Carbon monoxide is a very dangerous, colorless and odorless gas that is generated from incomplete combustion of fuel in household devices, such as stoves, furnaces, water heaters and fireplaces. Carbon monoxide can get into your lungs and inhibit the transport of oxygen through the body. Prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide can result in death. The only way to detect the presence of carbon monoxide is to purchase a carbon monoxide detector. This works like a smoke detector, sounding an alarm when the carbon monoxide level rises.
  • Radon Radon is also a colorless and odorless gas that rises naturally from the soil and enters the home through dirt floors, cracks in the basement floor and walls, and drainage systems. It is thought to be a major cause of lung cancer. The only way to test for radon is to purchase a radon detection kit.
  • Biological Pollutants Mold, mildew, viruses, bacteria and pollen are all considered biological pollutants. Mold and mildew grow in damp conditions resulting from high humidity, water-pipe leaks and constant condensation. Visual inspection and odor are the only ways to detect biological pollutants. When mold and mildew are found, you must clean the area thoroughly with ammonia, or some similar cleanser, to kill off the spores [source: Genesee].