Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) inside your home could be the source of poor indoor air quality (IAQ), especially if you’ve recently remodeled or use common household products for cleaning. VOCs are gases that originate from products that use some form of hydrocarbons. As the products age, they release gases that can cause mild to severe physical reactions.
Where They Come From
The products with the highest levels of VOCs for home improvement include:
- Oil-based paints and finishes
- Vinyl tile and wallpaper
- Carpeting, particularly those with high piles
- Products made from plywood or particle board
- Caulking and glue
Cleaning and personal care products with high VOC levels include:
- Household cleaners with a chemical base
- Air fresheners
- Some dry cleaning
- Some kinds of plastics, especially shower curtains
Even an attached garage can bring VOCs into your home from yard and pool products or your vehicle if the connecting door doesn’t tightly seal or there are cracks or gaps between the adjoining wall.
Lowering VOC Levels
Options do exist to keep your indoor air quality higher. Many products now carry labels that indicate that their VOC-compliant, low in VOCs, or contain no harmful gases. Many kinds of paints and carpeting have no or low levels of VOCs. PEVA shower curtains contain no VOCs, and dry cleaners now have alternative ways to safely clean fabrics. Reducing the amount of perfumed products you use, especially air fresheners, will improve your IAQ.
Improving ventilation also lowers the VOC level indoors. One option is an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) that pulls out stale, indoor air and replaces it with fresh air. An ERV strips the energy from the outgoing air and puts it into the incoming air, making it one of the most energy efficient and affordable ways to improve IAQ without raising cooling costs. Ultraviolet (UV) lights inside your ductwork or the air handler will also lower VOCs. They work by neutralizing the VOCs, rendering them harmless.
The pros at Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company can give you more information about improving your indoor air quality. We’ve provided outstanding HVAC services for Yuma area homeowners since 1952.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Yuma, Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about VOCs and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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