You might associate poor air quality with heavily industrial areas, but the truth is more concerning. Even in a small town like Griffin, Georgia, indoor air quality may be up to five times worse than outdoors. One of the worst air-contaminating culprits is a group of compounds called volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Understanding Volatile Organic Compounds
In simple terms, volatile organic compounds are substances that are easily emitted into the air as gases or vapors. Among the most common are ethanol, acetone, formaldehyde, and benzene. Though some are relatively harmless, others may pose serious health risks once they enter the air. Depending on the compounds present and the duration of exposure, potential health effects include:
- Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat
- Confusion, fatigue, and loss of coordination
- Respiratory illness
- Dizziness and nausea
- Organ damage and other long-term complications
Eliminating Common Sources
The first step in controlling VOCs in your home is to remove them at the source. They’re most often found in household products like paints, aerosol sprays, cleaning supplies, furnishings, and office equipment. Never store paints or cleaning supplies in open containers and only use them in well-ventilated areas. Instead of harsh cleaning solutions and air freshener sprays, consider non-toxic alternatives like baking soda, white vinegar, and essential oils. If possible, look for paints, wood stains, and other supplies labeled as low-VOC.
Removing VOCs From the Air
Of course, there’s simply no way to eliminate every contaminant source in your home. That’s why having an indoor air quality management plan is essential. One of the most effective air quality solutions is a high-efficiency air cleaner, which can remove up to 99.98% of airborne contaminants. A ventilator is another great investment that helps flush out stale, polluted air and replace it with fresh outdoor air.
Poor indoor air quality is a hazard that should be treated very seriously. More troubling, you may not even realize you’ve got an issue with volatile compounds in your home. For better protection and peace of mind, let the comfort advisors at Meeks Heating & Air take care of all your air quality service needs.