Our homes are repositories for all manner of harmful air pollutants, including pollen, pet dander, mold, mildew, dust mites and dust. But among the most harmful are volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These are gases that are emitted from chemicals found in liquids and solids. VOCs occur from a wide variety of substances present in our homes.
Should you be concerned about the presence of these chemicals? Here are four things you should know about them.
1. VOCs may be harmful to your health.
The effects of these compounds can vary, but they are known to aggravate allergies, cause respiratory problems and even be cancer causing. Other effects are:
- organ damage
- loss of coordination
2. VOCs are found in many common products in your home.
These chemicals are present in the following substances:
- cleaning products such as paint remover
- particle board
- dry cleaned clothing
- cigarette smoke
- carpets and textiles
- air fresheners
3. Who is at risk for health problems when exposed to a VOC?
Anyone can suffer health problems if exposed to a VOC in sufficient levels. However, the elderly, the ill (those with compromised immune systems) and the young are particularly vulnerable.
4. You can control VOC levels in your home by doing the following:
- Air out pressed wood products, textiles and dry cleaned clothing before bringing them in the home.
- Keep the lids on cleaning products, adhesives, paint remover and similar chemicals. It’s even better if you place such chemicals in an area removed from the living space, such as the garage.
- Do not allow smoking in the home.
- Whenever possible, buy natural products that don’t produce these gases.
- Use a pleated, good quality polyester or cotton air filter, rated MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) 8-12, in your HVAC system.
- Install a ventilation system in your home to remove stale, polluted air, and to replace it with fresh air from the outdoors.
Want to learn more about VOCs? Contact Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company. We serve Yuma and the surrounding area.
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 other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 928-723-3183.