What Are VOCs?

Living room space

Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, are carbon-based chemicals that evaporate at room temperature. These chemical substances are used in various applications. While some can cause noxious fumes, others are odorless and colorless. Various household products emit VOCs in a process known as off gassing.

Harmful Health Effects

High quantities of VOCs can pose potential health risks, especially among individuals with respiratory illnesses like allergies, asthma or compromised immune systems. Excessive exposure to VOCs can cause irritation to your eyes, nose and throat along with nausea and a loss of balance. In addition to certain types of cancer, long-term exposure has been linked to liver, kidneys and central nervous system damage.

Sources of VOCs

Paint, carpet, cosmetics and furniture are a few common products known to emit VOCs, such as benzene and formaldehyde. Others include permanent markers, household cleaners and dry cleaning solutions, pesticides, as well as adhesives and tobacco smoke. The off gassing from many of the products we use in our daily lives contributes to poor indoor air quality. Studies have shown that indoor air often contains more pollutants than the outside environment.

Improving Indoor Air Quality

In addition to looking for natural products that have reduced VOC emissions, you need to ensure your home has the proper amount of ventilation to reduce the amount of pollutants like VOCs in your indoor air. Many of today’s buildings are tightly sealed for energy efficiency, which may reduce the amount of fresh air that enters your home or office. A ventilation system attached to your central heating and air conditioner can supply much needed fresh air while eliminating contaminated indoor air. You will also need proper filtration. Change your air filters every month to prevent reintroducing allergens and other potentially harmful particles into your home. Depending upon your individual circumstances, you may need carbon filters that absorb more harmful gases than ionized or electronic air filters can.

Breathe Easier with One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® of Clearwater

At One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® of Clearwater and Heating, we understand that fresh air contributes to good health. We can evaluate your current heating and cooling needs and recommend the best ventilation and filtration systems for improving your indoor air quality. Contact us today or schedule an appointment online to learn more about reducing VOCs and improving your indoor air quality.