Your home is host to some pretty potent airborne pollutants, including dust, mold, pet dander, pollen and dust mites — all of which compromise your indoor air quality and can damage your health. But some of the most insidious of airborne particulates derive from so-called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These particles are the result of off-gassing from these sources:
- cleaning products
- dry-cleaned clothing
- fragrances and air fresheners
- pressed wood products
- textiles and upholstery
There are many other sources, but the above are among the most notorious.
Harmful Effects of Volatile Organic Compounds
VOCs cause a host of health problems, including these:
- eye, nose, throat irritation
- loss of memory
- organ damage
What to Do About VOCs
You can limit the level of VOCs that are released in your home by doing the following:
- Don’t allow smoking.
- Keep chemicals tightly capped and stored in cabinets or in the garage.
- Air out dry-cleaned clothing before bringing it indoors.
- Air out pressed-wood products before bringing them indoors.
- Buy natural products whenever possible. These days, many labels will say if the product is VOC-free. Or, when cleaning, for instance, you can use substances such as vinegar rather than commercial cleaners.
- Ventilate your home whenever using any of products with volatile organic compounds. Open windows, or even better, install a balanced ventilation system that removes stale air and introduces fresh air into the home. Exhaust ventilation in kitchens and bathrooms will also be helpful.
- Don’t use air fresheners
- Throw away partially used or old containers of unneeded chemical substances. Sometimes local governments sponsor special days when they are willing to collect chemical substances such as paint, cleaners, solvents and the like. Do not throw them away outside your home.
The best type of air purifier to remove these gases from your air is a carbon-activated filter, which clears out the volatile organic compounds by a process called adsorption.
To learn more about controlling VOCs in your home, contact Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing. We serve Indianapolis and the surrounding area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Brownsburg, Indiana and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).