Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are a group of carbon-based chemicals that exist as a gas at room temperature. Although exposure to VOCs can be potentially dangerous, the colorless and often odorless chemicals are found in many household products and items we use on a daily basis.
You might be surprised to learn that things you have around your home contain VOCs. Considering we spend a huge portion of our time inside of our homes, it’s important to understand the effects VOCs can have on our health and what we can do to limit VOC exposure.
Some things in your home that may contain VOCs include:
– Cleaning Supplies – Air fresheners – Disinfectants – Paints – Carpet – Adhesives – Wood preservatives – Office equipment – Pesticides
Health Issues Caused by VOCs
Exposure to VOCs can cause both short-term and long-term health effects.
Short-Term Health Effects
– Headaches – Nausea – Vomiting – Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat – Dizziness – Shortness of breath
Long-Term Health Effects
– Central nervous system damage – Kidney damage – Liver damage – Cancer
How To Reduce VOCs In Your Home
Studies performed by the Environmental Protection Agency have found that the average home has significantly higher levels of VOCs than the outdoors. Fortunately, VOCs indoors can be reduced in a variety of ways. Selecting low-VOC products when painting or remodeling and using low-VOC versions of household and hygiene products can help. These products include cleaners, disinfectants, nail polish and nail polish remover — just to name a few.
Providing good ventilation when you do use materials and products with VOCs is another important factor when reducing the amount of VOCs in your home. An air exchanger is a viable option for homes and buildings that are well-sealed as these devices provide fresh air during times when the heating system is running without losing all of the heat from the exhausted air.
Check Product Labels
When it comes to reducing the amount of VOCs in your home, reading product labels is key. Because the list of VOCs is long, one method of reducing VOCs is to look at the suffix of the chemical names on the product label. Many VOC names end with “ene,” “ane” or “one.” Avoiding products containing chemical names with these suffixes will help you to reduce your use of VOCs. Just a few examples of these chemicals are benzene, butane, and acetone.
Improve Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality With Energy Air
When it comes to keeping the air in your home healthy and free of pollutants, your HVAC system is your home’s first line of defense. An efficient HVAC system will not only create a comfortable environment in your home, but it will remove pollutants from the air, creating a healthier space for everyone.
At Energy Air, we offer a variety of indoor air quality solutions, like our HEPA bypass filtration systems and our whole-house dehumidifiers, both which improve the quality of the air you breathe. Have questions about indoor air quality? Give us a call today to learn more or schedule an appointment online.