Home is where the heart is. It’s your happy place and should feel like a haven for your family. Unfortunately, it may not always be quite as safe as you thought. Your home in Ocala, Florida, may also be the place where harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) live. Here’s what you should know about VOCs and poor IAQ.
What Are VOCs?
Volatile organic compounds are chemicals that are emitted as gases or vapors from various solids or liquids. You can find them in many different products, such as:
- Solvents, paints, and paint thinners.
- Adhesives and other craft supplies.
- Dry cleaning fluids.
- Wood preservatives.
- Cleaners and disinfectants.
- Mothballs and air fresheners.
- Building materials and furnishings.
- Copy machines and printers.
People often think that the air outside is more hazardous to their health, so they shut themselves away inside, but this can end up being worse for people who are sensitive to these types of VOCs. Family members who are more vulnerable to the effects of VOCs include young children, the elderly, and asthma sufferers. Exposure to these VOCs can come through inhalation or even skin contact.
The Side Effects of VOCs
Apart from the obvious side effect of poor indoor air quality, there are a number of possible health issues resulting from VOCs. Short-term exposure to VOCs may include:
- Visual disorders.
- Headaches or dizziness.
- Irritation of the eyes or respiratory tract.
- Memory problems.
Those who have had exposure over a longer period of time may experience these side effects:
- Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat.
- Nausea or fatigue.
- Loss of coordination or dizziness.
- Damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system.
To keep these issues from developing in yourself or your loved ones, your indoor air quality needs the help of HVAC professionals.
How to Reduce VOCs in Your Home
There are a few practical things you can do to reduce these compounds in your home. Start with reducing the amount of products in your home that release VOCs. Store some of these products, such as paints, in outdoor sheds away from the house.
Start using more natural products in your everyday routine. Cleaning products with less noxious and harmful chemicals are more readily available these days. Plus, using more natural products is more environmentally friendly.
You should definitely dispose of any unused household chemicals in a responsible manner. Your local waste management department can advise you on where and how to dispose of it.
You can also use an air filtration system to keep the quality of your indoor air as pure as possible. This air filtration system will also improve the efficiency and lifespan of your HVAC system.
A well-ventilated home is essential to reduce the effects of VOCs. When possible, open the windows to air your home. When it’s too hot to open the windows, make sure that your cooling system is the ideal system for your home to enhance the indoor air.
Another practical way to clean your indoor air is to have indoor plants. Many plants absorb the VOCs in the air. It’s best to have a mix of indoor plants in different rooms to prevent too much humidity in one room. Recommended house plants for purifying your indoor air are aloe, spider plants, Chinese evergreens, chrysanthemums and peace lilies.
Schedule Routine HVAC Maintenance
Maintaining your HVAC system is one of the best ways to reduce the effects of VOCs and improve your indoor air quality. As long as the system works efficiently, it traps the VOCs and other toxins in the air filters and circulates fresh air through every room in the house.
Schedule a routine check of your system with a professional at least once a year. Regular check-ups prevent costly repairs and keep your system performing at its best. With high precision equipment like the HVAC system, prevention is definitely better than cure.
Want to improve your IAQ? Call Sun Kool Air Conditioning, Inc. at 877-962-2120 to schedule an appointment. We would love to install your new air conditioning system to reduce the effects of VOCs in your home. We also offer different maintenance plans to keep your system performing efficiently.
Image provided by iStock