Volatile Organic Compounds Can Affect IAQThe average American home is full of airborne particulates that adversely affect our health. These pollutants derive from a variety of sources, ranging from the dirt particles we bring in on our shoes, to plant pollen that drifts in on our clothing, to far more serious pollutants known as volatile organic compounds.

What Are Volatile Organic Compounds?

Also known as VOCs, these pollutants are given off as gases by a number of common products found in homes, such as these:

  • pesticides
  • dry-cleaned clothing
  • paint
  • particle board furniture
  • solvents
  • cleansers
  • disinfectants
  • glues and adhesives
  • carpet and textiles
  • air fresheners
  • fuels
  • wax
  • cosmetics
  • cigarette smoke

Ill Effects of VOCs

VOCs are blamed for a variety of health problems, including headaches, nausea, liver and kidney disease, respiratory issues, allergies, dizziness, skin problems and loss of coordination. They are also suspected of causing cancer.

Dealing With VOCs

Control emissions from VOCs by doing the following:

  1. Tightly cap any household chemicals that give off VOCs. Whenever possible, remove them from the living space and store them in the garage or basement.
  2. Buy organic products whenever possible.
  3. Don’t allow smoking in the home.
  4. Select carpet and textiles with a low-emission levels of VOCs. Likewise, choose household products with low emission levels, and water-based polyurethane paint that emits fewer gases than oil-based products.
  5. Avoid using air fresheners.
  6. Air out pressed wood products, dry cleaning, carpet and other textiles before you bring them into the home. VOCs decrease over time.
  7. Avoid burning wood in a wood stove or fireplace.
  8. Open windows whenever you introduce new sources of VOCs into the home.
  9. If you must keep your windows and doors closed all the time, install some type of ventilation system in the home: exhaust, supply, balanced or heat recovery.
  10. Most air filters will not capture particles from VOCs. An air purifier with a carbon-activated filter should be able to clean up VOCs sufficiently. Air purifiers that use the photo catalytic oxidation (PCO) process are also said to be effective.

To learn more about volatile organic compounds, contact Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing of Indianapolis.

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

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