How VOCs Affect Your IAQ

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Volatile Organic Compounds VOCs and IAQOutdoor air contaminants aren’t the only the pollution you need to be aware of in order to stay healthy. Have you ever stopped to think about all of the chemicals that make up the structure of our indoor spaces? Carpet, upholstery, paint, adhesives, copy machines, cleaning agents, etc. are all a part of our everyday lives and they bring an abundance of unhealthy chemicals into the air that we breathe. These toxins include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), e.g. formaldehyde, which cause chronic and acute health effects at high levels.

VOCs in Your Indoor Air

The EPA states that Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Shockingly, VOCs are concentrated up to ten times higher indoors than outdoors and the vast number of products that emit VOCs is in the thousands. The items listed above that are part of our everyday lives as well as perfume and even newspaper print, are all products that contain harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, acetone, benzene and terpenes.

When we breathe these chemicals into our bodies, we can be left with a variety of symptoms, such as nausea, headaches, dizziness, irritated eyes, nose and throat among others. High concentrations of VOCs have been shown to cause damage to the central nervous system, kidney and liver with long-term exposure being linked to cancer.

Keeping Your Indoor Air Clean

It seems logical that the most effective way to protect yourself and your family from VOCs is to keep them out of your home, however, that’s not always the easiest thing to do. The best thing to do is keep yourself informed on what products are available that do not contain VOCs. Carpets, paints and other home improvement products now come as “VOC-free”. You also want to avoid scented products such as air fresheners, laundry detergent and fabric softener sheets. One study examined the gases captured from washers and dryers that had used detergents and dryer sheets containing fragrance found 25+ volatile organic compounds, which included 7 hazardous air pollutants! Be weary of products with “natural” “organic” or “green” on the label as well – they can emit as many hazardous chemicals as standard ones.

Your next best defense against VOCs is good ventilation. If you do bring new items such as carpeting, furniture or curtains into your home that might not be VOC-free, keeping your windows open will allow the fumes these items give off to get out of your house. If you’re planning on painting, varnishing or using any strong glue that produces fumes, make sure you’re in a well ventilated area with plenty of air flow.

Using your home’s vent fans correctly also helps (i.e. in your kitchen and bathroom) but for the best indoor air quality, you may want to have a whole-house ventilation system installed. The ventilation system in your home should not only manage VOCs but also contaminants like mold spores, pet dander, and humidity while making sure there is proper air exchanges and ventilation. According to ACEEE (American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy), “Efficient HVAC systems should ensure that occupants get adequate, filtered, fresh air. They should deliver the correct amount of air to the desired locations.”

How Can We Prevent Poor Indoor Air Quality?

Improving air filtration is the most beneficial thing that can be done to reduce the effects of poor indoor air quality. Air filtration provides us with a means to attain the desired level of indoor air quality. Air filters were originally intended to simply shield the components of your expensive HVAC system, thus protecting it from harmful dust build-up and extending its life. As the manufacturing process of air filters evolved over the decades, filtration media became more refined and specialized which allowed us to go beyond system protection into cleaning contaminants, allergens, and other bothersome particles from our air using high-efficiency pleated air filters. This has allowed a significant improvement in indoor comfort and cleaner air in our homes and businesses.

US Home Filter is Here for YOU

Choosing the best filters for your home or business can be overwhelming and confusing sometimes. You can take a look at our air filter measurement guide to help you pick the right size or, for personal assistance or questions about your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to help you in selecting the perfect filter. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA. Whether you need AC or furnace filters, a specialty Whole House filter, a Grille filter, or even a custom air filter size, we have a professional and helpful staff ready to take care of you!

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