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Volatile organic compounds or VOCs are gases that can reduce your home’s indoor air quality. They’re in many commercial paints, glues, varnishes, air fresheners, pesticides, cleaners, fuels, and other products. Here’s some more information about VOCs and how you can keep your Spring Hill, Florida, home healthy by reducing them.

VOC Sources and Side Effects

VOCs include toxic chemicals like methylene, xylene, toluene, and acetone. They come from many sources. For example, particle board often contains glues with formaldehyde, and dryer sheets contain chloroform. Most mothballs use dichlorobenzene or naphthalene, and tobacco smoke contains benzene. Since these compounds evaporate or off-gas easily at low temperatures, they can linger in your indoor air. To make matters worse, modern homes have plenty of insulation where VOCs can get trapped and circulate through your HVAC system.

Volatile organic compounds can cause headaches, dizziness, eye irritation, fatigue, sore throats, asthma or allergy symptoms, confusion, and many other uncomfortable issues. High levels of some substances can lead to even more severe health problems such as cataracts, anemia, or cancer. The phthalates in commercial air fresheners can disrupt hormone levels, especially in children. Reducing VOCs will help keep you and your family members healthy and comfortable.

Store Products Carefully

Even in closed containers, VOCs off-gas slowly. If possible, keep products with VOCs in a storage shed or another place that’s not connected to your home. Don’t store these supplies in your kitchen, bathroom, or living areas. Also, throw away old packages or containers immediately.

Use Ventilation

Since volatile organic compounds are gases and not debris, air purifiers and air filters can’t remove them. Fortunately, you can reduce levels of these potentially harmful substances by installing exhaust fans in your bathrooms and kitchen. Open a door or window when you’re painting or using cleaning products.

You can also get an energy recovery ventilator or ERV installed by a professional. These devices work like heat pumps, transferring heat from stale indoor air to fresh outdoor air in winter and reversing the process in summer. By doing so, they remove VOCs along with other contaminants such as pollen, dust, dirt, and pet dander.

Choose Healthy Alternatives

Instead of commercial cleaners, air fresheners, and other products, use natural alternatives when possible. To avoid VOCs, look for paints that are labeled as nontoxic or child-friendly. Baking soda and water can take care of most stains, and olive oil with lemon juice makes an excellent furniture polish. You can prevent biological growth in your bathroom with a spray bottle filled with a few drops of tea tree oil and some water.

Instead of air fresheners, potpourri or essential oils can make your home smell great. You can also simmer some cinnamon sticks or cloves on your stove.

Add Some Houseplants

When many houseplants absorb carbon dioxide, they also take in volatile organic compounds. Adding plants is an inexpensive way to keep VOC levels low and make your home more attractive. Spider plants and chrysanthemums reduce benzene. Aloe vera plants or large-leafed philodendrons get rid of formaldehyde. Aloe is a succulent with thick, pointed leaves filled with a clear gel. It can also help heal burns and moisturize your skin. Asian evergreens have beautiful silver and green leaves and can remove many types of VOCs, including xylene.

You should place one or two plants in each room of your home. Placing too many in one area could increase your home’s humidity and lead to biological growth or pests. Keep your houseplants away from pets and avoid pesticides as well.

Crystal Air Conditioning & Heating has been providing heating, air conditioning, and indoor air quality services since 1953. We can help you make sure that the air inside your home stays comfortable and healthy. For more information on VOCs and assistance with reducing them, call us at (727) 877-3189. Our experienced, friendly technicians will help you with all your HVAC needs, and we offer 100 percent customer satisfaction and quality service.

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