Airtopia Indoor Air Quality Test vs a Home Monitor

10 April, 2019

How is an Airtopia test is different from the gadgets that monitor air quality in your home? It’s kind of like asking what’s the difference between a Health Check by your GP and taking your own temperature. Both provide useful information, but one is a bit more detailed and adds a bit more value by interpreting data to offer advice.

test tubes - airtopia iaq

The growth of the indoor air quality (IAQ) monitor market is fantastic. It shows people are beginning to understand the importance of the issue and the need to know what goes in your lungs as well as your stomach.

As the technology develops, experts are debating the accuracy of these small units, but we think they are useful in conjunction with - not instead of - an Airtopia Home Health Test. Here’s why.

What makes Airtopia different?

An Airtopia test is a detailed, indicative snapshot of a home’s air quality; it uses thermal desorption tubes to measure and identify airborne chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Our process is compliant with the official International Organisation of Standardisation (ISO) method for these tests.

Using desorption tubes, we can identify hundreds of chemicals in your air and attribute them to sixteen categories of sources from which they may be emitted in your home.

Our test uses extremely sensitive equipment to measure levels of individual VOCs down to low parts per billion.  We can tell you how much of a chemical is present, where it is likely to be coming from and whether or not it is known to be dangerous to your health. We can also advise you on the best ways to reduce or eliminate the chemicals.

Most monitors use electrochemical and/or metal oxide semiconductor sensors, which, in essence, make an educated guess about the chemicals in your air. They usually provide you with a reading for TVOCs - the total volatile organic compounds in the air.

A TVOC sensor  does not identify individual chemicals. It will tell you there are chemicals in the air, but not what they are or what you can do about them. It won’t tell you if the chemicals in your air are harmless or whether they can trigger asthma attacks or cause cancer.

A TVOC sensor also can’t discriminate between different mixtures of VOCs that may be present. For example, if you had two rooms with exactly the same quantity of chemicals present, but the mix of chemicals varied, it will give you different TVOC readings for each room, which can be very misleading.

The other issue is that sensors need to be calibrated regularly. At Airtopia, we ensure our equipment is always operating optimally. However, in a home, both temperature and humidity can affect a monitor and cause readings to drift. Over time, monitors tend to become increasingly inaccurate.

And then there’s MVOCs...

Another benefit to an Airtopia test is that we measure microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs), the chemicals emitted by actively growing mould.  Mould can be terrible for those who suffer from respiratory illness and allergies. It  can hide in fabrics, carpets and behind walls. We’ve been able to help customers solve a problem they didn’t know they had, to help improve the health of the people living in the house.

Monitors can’t measure MVOCs.

Human interaction is essential.

Most importantly, our customers’ interaction with our team of trained analysts and experts truly makes the difference.

Imagine if your doctor simply sent you back the lab results of your blood test without discussing it with you. Would you know what to do with the information? If you could identify a problem, would you know how to solve it? Airtopia provides the support our customers need to understand their results and improve the air quality in their homes. If they have questions, we answer them.

So are monitors useful?

Sure - if used correctly, with an Airtopia Home Health Test. We believe they can be a useful resource to provide an ongoing reminder that the way you live in your house affects your air quality. But you may not truly understand your air quality without first having a visit from an Airtopia analyst, who can accurately measure the chemicals in your air and help you identify any problems in your home.

And remember, once you’re a member of Airtopia, you’re always a member. We can help you with any concerns you might have. When you join Airtopia, you get peace of mind.

Airtopia Home Health Tests

So when you read the debates about the quality of various IAQ monitors, it’s helpful to know that Airtopia’s tests aren’t the same thing at all. But they can work together to help you ensure your home a safe sanctuary, a healthy environment to live and grow.

Book an air quality test for your home today


Media Contact

For all media enquiries, please contact Charlotte Jackson.
charlotte.jackson@thehousedocs.co.uk Airtopia is available for expert comment on the science behind indoor air quality.

About airtopia

Find out who we are, our partners and why we are striving for better indoor air quality. We’re on a mission to help you and your family improve your health and wellbeing.

Find out more