Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are the gases created by products made from chemicals. Depending on your sensitivity, they can harm your health. As some man-made products age, they emit gases that cause reactions ranging from mild to serious. Prolonged exposure in some individuals has been linked to neurological damage and even cancer. Taking deliberate steps to avoid VOCs in your home will improve its indoor air quality.
Fortunately, it’s much easier to keep VOCs from your home by selecting products that contain few, if any. Look for a clean air label or low or no VOCs label on these products to minimize your exposure.
- Paint – Oil based paints have high VOC levels, as do some latex. However, most paint manufacturers offer a wide selection of paint products, including finishes, that are water based and no or low VOCs.
- Vinyl flooring, wallpaper and furniture – Because vinyl is made from hydrocarbons, it emits VOCs as it ages. If you can’t avoid using a vinyl product, unpack it and let it air out outside or in the garage before you use it inside your home.
- Flooring – Choose carpets that carry the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) label that assures you the carpeting meets their low VOC criteria. When you’re selecting hardwood flooring, choose a product that was finished with a water-based finish and select adhesives that have low volatile organic compounds.
- Household products – You can avoid VOCs by choosing more natural cleaning products that carry a clean air label. Air fresheners and perfumed products carry a high VOC load. If you can’t find an alternative, run exhaust fans while you clean your house or do laundry.
- Vehicles – Don’t run fuel-powered vehicles or equipment in an attached garage.
If you have a forced-air HVAC system, you can use it to reduce the VOC level indoors by installing ultraviolet (UV) lights inside it. UV light neutralize volatile organic compounds and stops the proliferation of biological contaminants like mold spores, bacteria and viruses.
Learn more about how to avoid VOCs in your home from the pros at Arpi’s Industries. We’ve proudly provided top-notch HVAC and IAQ services for Calgary homeowners for more than 50 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Calgary, Alberta about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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