Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are potentially harmful gasses that are emitted from liquid and solid substances. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, VOCs can be up to 10 times higher in the home than they are outdoors. Exposure to VOCs can damage the kidney, liver, and central nervous system. Signs of exposure include headache, dizziness, fatigue, skin irritation, and nausea.
VOCs are obviously something that you want to keep out of your home, but many people unknowingly bring them inside in the form of cleaning products, craft supplies, and even new furniture. Take these important steps to keep VOCs out of your Palm Harbor, FL home.
Keep a Well-Maintained HVAC System
Your HVAC system is an essential line of defense against airborne irritants. Make sure yours is well-equipped to tackle the challenges of VOCs. Changing your air filter regularly will help remove larger particles from the air, but an indoor air cleaner is a more efficient solution that can stop smaller particles. Use a carbon-activated air purifier to remove VOCs from the air in your home.
While you’re addressing your overall indoor air quality, don’t forget to schedule your annual HVAC maintenance. You should have your furnace and air conditioner tuned up annually. This visit always includes a thorough cleaning of your system, which will help minimize the number of pollutants in your air.
Know What’s in Your Products
Watch what you buy, and be aware of items that may contain VOCs. These include:
- Cleaning products
- Air fresheners
- Dry-cleaned clothing
- Upholstered furniture
- Pressed wood products
- Nail polish
- Perfumes and colognes
Whenever possible, look for products that are labeled as low- or no-VOC. These items have been tested and have less VOCs than conventional counterparts, or no VOCs at all.
In many cases, you can make your own no-VOC alternatives to conventional products. You can easily make your own cleaning products using ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice. Learn more about what’s in your products and make informed decisions about what you bring into your home.
Add Ventilation to Your Home
It’s difficult to completely eliminate VOCs from your home, so take steps to ventilate those that do get inside. If you’re working with a product that’s high in VOCs, such as craft adhesives, wood preservatives, or paint strippers, open the windows to keep a steady stream of fresh air flowing through the space.
You can tackle lingering VOCs on a daily basis with a proper ventilation system in your home. This will carefully manage air flow, pushing stale, polluted air out and allowing fresh, clean air in. A whole-home ventilation system is the ideal way to balance out the stuffy effect that comes from a well-sealed, energy-efficient home.
Store Hazardous Materials Safely
When you must use products that emit volatile organic compounds make sure that they’re stored properly. Keep them out of the home in a garage or storage shed when possible. Always make sure that products like paint or glue are kept in a sealed container that’s well out of the reach of pets and children.
When it comes to products like dry-cleaned clothes, you can keep VOCs out by refusing the accept them until they’ve aired out properly. If the clothing still has a chemical smell, you should wait to take it home. When possible, allow new items like rugs or pressed wood furniture to off-gas outside the home as well. Even keeping these products in a garage for a few weeks can minimize the amount of VOCs in your home, though some VOCs will still be present for several years.
If you’re concerned about the effects of volatile organice compounds in your home, you’re not alone. This problem is quickly gaining awareness among homeowners who are concerned about keeping their families safe from potentially hazardous chemicals. Many of the effects of VOCs are the same as those associated with other indoor air pollutants, such as pollen, dander, and dust mites. You can tackle all these problems at once with the right indoor air quality system. Contact Pinellas Comfort Systems at (727) 315-0791 to learn more about how we can help.
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