5 Reasons to Get a Pre-Purchase Air Quality Inspection Before a Home Purchase

Indoor damp & air quality (IAQ) testing

Getting ready to buy a home can be an exciting time – but also a stressful one. You want to be sure that the home you intend to purchase is 100% safe for you and your family. But a house is not merely “safe” because of its construction quality or overall design. It includes the very air inside the home, too. This is why having a home air quality inspection is wise to do before you buy.

Unfortunately, the majority of homes in Quebec have low air quality. A study published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that many Quebec families had a higher concentration of dangerous chemicals and airborne contaminants than other areas. This can lead to air change rates and health issues, including respiratory problems and allergies.

Now, you may not notice any immediate symptoms of bad air quality – as you cannot typically smell or see the signs. The home itself can appear to be in great shape and beautifully designed – but low air quality could be a significant hidden issue – even in brand new homes.

Here are just five reasons why you should schedule a home air quality inspection for any home you are considering buying.

Mold & Mildew

The latest studies conclude that about one in ten homes has an indoor mold issue present. Mold is incredibly common. Nearly all homes have a bit of mold or mildew, especially in damp areas like bathrooms or basements.

mold in bathroom

However, an overgrowth of mold can be extremely problematic – and even deadly – in some cases. Mold and mildew can cause issues with breathing, especially for people with pre-existing conditions like asthma.

Mold and mildew also grow and spread too quickly – so it can easily overtake a home in a matter of days if it is unchecked. Thankfully, if mold and mildew are caught early while in smaller areas, it is usually relatively easy to take care of, expert cleaning may be required. In all cases, you should be extremely cautious during cleanup.

Asbestos

Asbestos is a fibrous material used for fire-resistant building components. This used to be a common material used for insulation purposes. However, asbestos was banned in Canada in 2018 because of proven reports. It was directly linked to health issues such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. In Canada alone, asbestos was responsible for over 1,330 deaths every year.

two men standing on wooden planks carrying asbestos

If you are purchasing an older home (especially one built in the 1970s or 1980s), there is a reasonably high chance that it has asbestos. Home air quality inspection tests will show if the asbestos is too high or dangerously close to being hazardous. Asbestos may be removed, but this can be a lengthy and expensive renovation process.

Radon

Radon is a dangerous radioactive gas that is naturally occurring in the soil. This gas is released as rocks breakdown in the ground. It is completely odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Long-term exposure can cause lung cancer and other respiratory issues.

Radon gas radiation detectors testing

In small amounts, this element is harmless – and most homes will have some radon present. It is estimated that about 7% of Canadian households have high radon levels, and some areas have more elevated amounts than others depending on the geographic makeup. Therefore, you will want to be sure that your home air quality inspection measures this amount throughout the home.

If radon is detected, you can take steps to reduce the amount of this dangerous gas. Typically, radon is spread in the air through ventilation ducts, which may be filled with dust and dirt. Having these air ducts professionally cleaned can cut radon levels significantly.

Dust and Pests

It is no surprise that every home has a dust – but high dust concentrations could signal significant air quality issues. This dust could contain pollutants like pollen, soot, or even pests living in the home. Common house pests include:

  • Dust mites
  • Cockroaches
  • Ants
  • Termites
  • Bed bugs

Close-up of dust on woman finger

These pests can be more than just a nuisance. Termites can cause significant structural damage to your home. Dust mites, cockroaches, and other problems can carry diseases and bacteria. Pests can also trigger allergies, throat and eye irritation, rashes, and even sleep issues.

Your home air quality inspection should measure the presence of any chemicals used for pest control. Some pesticides contain strong chemicals which can be dangerous in high concentration. If the home’s air quality test results show that pesticides have been used in the past, it could sign that the place is overrun.

Volatile Chemical Compounds

Volatile organic or chemical compounds are gaseous emissions from liquids or solids found in the home. These emissions typically emit from household products and building materials, including:

  • Paints and finishes
  • Wood
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Pesticides
  • Stored fuel or automotive products
  • Building materials
  • Furnishings
  • Glues

High concentrations of volatile chemical compounds in the air can irritate the throat, eyes, and skin. People may experience headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and memory impairment from these compounds. These chemicals’ concentration levels are typically up to five times higher in homes than the outdoors – as there is lower airflow in these buildings.

If the home air quality inspection shows high levels of any of these organic compounds, you will need to locate the source. Adding additional ventilation and airflow can also help to dilute the concentration and improve the air quality.

Conclusion

Your home is designed to be a safe space where you and your loved ones can relax and unwind. When you are looking for a new home to buy, you need to be sure that your house is free from any dangers that could harm you and your family. This includes the air quality of the home – hidden hazards in the air could lead to numerous health issues.

If you are considering purchasing a home in the Quebec area, give Air-Labs a call. We provide home air quality testing services to measure all potential health hazards that may be present. Reach out today to receive a free consultation and learn more about our air quality inspection process.