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Volatile Organic Compounds and Indoor Air Quality

Volatile Organic Compounds and Indoor Air QualityThe indoor air quality of our homes is receiving increasing attention, as word gets around that there are often more pollutants packed into a typical home’s interior than in the air outside. If you haven’t been concerned with the level of pollutants in your home, you should be, and one of the reasons for that has to do with the presence of volatile organic compounds.

What Are Volatile Organic Compounds?

Also known as VOCs, volatile organic compounds may be natural or manmade and are chemicals that have turned into gas or vapors at room temperature. Some of them are extremely harmful, aggravating respiratory problems and triggering allergies, while some are even suspected of causing cancer.

Here are some of the sources of VOCs in your home:

  • Carpets
  • Textiles
  • Pressed-wood products
  • Cleansers
  • Solvents
  • Pesticides
  • Perfumes and fragrances
  • Dry-cleaned clothes
  • Paint
  • Air fresheners
  • Cooking
  • Adhesives
  • Tobacco

There are many more, and obviously, some will have worse effects on living creatures than others. Some of the ill effects besides respiratory problems and allergies these substances may cause are headaches, nausea, loss of coordination, loss of memory, visual disorders and loss of kidney and liver function.

The following tips will help you control VOCs and improve your indoor air quality.

Controlling VOCs

  1. Use a good quality HVAC filter. A dense, pleated air filter will trap many airborne particulates, preventing them from circulating in your home.
  2. Vacuum often, using a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter.
  3. Keep chemicals tightly capped; it’s best to stow them away in cabinets or better, in the garage.
  4. Air out textiles, pressed-wood products and dry cleaning before you bring it indoors.
  5. Use products made of natural wood or other natural substances whenever possible.
  6. Don’t allow smoking in the home.
  7. Don’t burn wood in the home.
  8. Install a dedicated ventilation system to get rid of stale air and to supply fresh air.
  9. Consider installing an air purifier that uses activated carbon to filter air.

For more information on controlling volatile organic compounds, contact Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company. We’ve served Yuma and the surrounding area for more than 64 years.

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 Guide or call us at 928-723-3183.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Stephanie Lirette/Shutterstock”