The air quality inside your Las Vegas, Nevada, home can affect the health of everyone who spends time there. Poor air quality can have many causes, but volatile organic compounds are some of the most common culprits. Read on to learn all you need to know about volatile organic compounds and other indoor air quality concerns.
How VOCs Work
Volatile organic compounds include xylene, formaldehyde, acetone, ethanol, methylene chloride, benzene and many other substances. They evaporate or off-gas at or below room temperature, so they can linger in your indoor air as gases easily. Many pollutants, such as dust, pet dander, dirt or pollen, are particles that your HVAC system’s air filter can catch easily. But VOCs are more difficult to remove.
How VOCs Can Impact Your Comfort
Volatile organic compounds can reduce your home’s indoor air quality significantly. They can lead to eye irritation, asthma or allergy symptoms, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, rashes, sore throats and many other health problems. If you often feel sick when you’re at home and your symptoms usually clear up when you leave, your residence could have excessive levels of VOCs.
Common Sources of VOCs
Many commercial products can contain VOCs, including cigarettes, varnishes, perfumes, glues, cleaners, air fresheners, pesticides and more. Many kinds of particle board have formaldehyde, and most mothballs use dichlorobenzene. Tobacco smoke and many types of paint contain benzene, while furniture polish and most brands of nail polish remover use acetone.
How to Avoid VOCs
Knowing the most common sources of VOCs lets you reduce them inside your home. Instead of commercial air fresheners, use essential oils or potpourri. You can also bake cookies or simmer some cloves, cinnamon sticks or orange slices to help give your home a pleasant smell.
Rather than strong commercial cleaners, use water and baking soda to clean most types of surfaces. Olive oil with lemon juice makes an excellent furniture polish, and many VOC-free paints and glues are available.
When you buy furniture, consider the floor models. They’re often less expensive than pieces that come straight from the factory. They also emit lower amounts of VOCs because they’ve already had a chance to off-gas into the store instead of your home’s air.
How to Reduce Concentrations of VOCs
If air quality tests conducted inside your home indicate high levels of VOCs, there are several ways to lower them. You can use ventilation to remove stale or contaminated air and replace it with fresh, clean outdoor air. While opening your doors or windows or using exhaust fans can increase airflow inside your home, having a whole-home energy recovery ventilator installed in your ductwork is more efficient. Like heat pumps, ERVs transfer energy to incoming air, providing ventilation while conserving power.
Many attractive house plants can absorb volatile organic compounds as well. Chrysanthemums, spider plants and aloe vera can reduce benzene, and Asian evergreen plants can lower the levels of many different toxins, including xylene. Asian evergreens also have appealing silver leaves with green spots. Meanwhile, climbing and non-climbing types of large-leafed philodendrons can help you take care of formaldehyde.
However, you should avoid having too many house plants in one room or area. They could cause high humidity, pests or biological growth, and they won’t be as effective at helping you and your family members breathe easier if they’re not distributed evenly throughout your home.
Sun Country Heating & Cooling is a family business with years of heating, air conditioning and indoor air quality experience. We’re a Trane Comfort Specialist, and we guarantee 100-percent customer satisfaction. Our NATE-certified comfort advisors can help you keep your indoor air quality high. For outstanding service and helpful answers to all of your questions, call us anytime at 702-534-3375.
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