Unhealthy Volatile Organic Compounds: Getting Them out of Your Indoor Air

Unhealthy Volatile Organic Compounds: Getting Them out of Your Indoor Air

Unhealthy Volatile Organic Compounds: Getting Them out of Your Indoor AirVolatile organic compounds, or VOCs as they are often called, are gases that are released by common materials found in your home. Exposure to VOCs can result in short-term problems including headache, dizziness, sore throat, itchy eyes and nausea. Long-term exposure has been linked to increased risk of certain types of cancer, liver damage, kidney damage and damage to the central nervous system. There are VOCs in your home right now. Learning how to bring the concentrations down can help you and your family live longer, healthier lives.

Identifying the potential sources of VOCs in your home is the first step in controlling and reducing them. VOCs can be found in numerous building materials including:

  • Carpets
  • Composite wood floors
  • Paint
  • Vinyl
  • Upholstery
  • Fabric treatments
  • Varnishes
  • Solvents

VOCs are also found in many everyday household products:

  • Air fresheners
  • Cosmetics
  • Moth balls
  • Fuel oil
  • Gasoline
  • Ozone producing air cleaners
  • Household cleaners
  • Pesticides

Studies have found that the concentration of VOCs inside highly efficient houses can be significant. The concentration depends on the amount of VOCs in products in the home, the rate at which they are released, the ventilation rate of the home, and concentrations of VOCs in the outside air.

The best way to combat VOCs is to ventilate your home. Open up the windows and pull fresh air into the home with the help of fans when outside temperatures and humidity levels allow this strategy. This will also help keep temperatures down, which will lower the off-gas rate of the VOC-containing products.

You also should actively avoid bringing products with VOCs into your home. Buy new furniture that has had a chance to off-gas in the showroom. Also, check the labels on your cleaning supplies before you make a purchase. Avoid products with BTEX, acetone, isopropyl alcohol, toluene, naphthalene, butane, formaldehyde, isoprene and xylene.

If you need more information about improving your indoor air quality by reducing the level of volatile organic compounds in your home, call us at Powers Heating & Air. We’ve been keeping our customers in the Peachtree City area safe and comfortable since 2001.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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