Allergy causing indoor pollutants can range from the simply annoying to the certifiably toxic. Many things that float around in our indoor environment belong to the category of irritants, like common buoyant dust. However, substances too small for the naked eye, such as microorganisms, as well as invisible gases and vapors, may be more harmful.
One allergy causing indoor pollutant that has increased markedly in recent years are volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Formaldehyde is the best known example of common VOCs found in household air.
VOC gases are emitted by both solid and liquid materials found in the home. Glues incorporated in furniture, cabinetry and carpeting may continuously out-gas VOCs. Additionally, liquids, such as certain paints, cleaning solutions and pesticides, may also contribute to increased levels of VOCs.
Because today’s tightly-sealed, energy-efficient homes tend to be under-ventilated, even trace amounts of these pollutants may accumulate to levels sufficient enough to cause physical reactions in susceptible individuals.
To reduce exposure to allergy causing pollutants, like volatile organic compounds, and improve overall indoor air quality, follow these tips:
- Use any household cleaning products, paints, pesticides and other chemicals strictly according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Ventilate your home adequately. Use spot ventilation in areas like kitchens and bathrooms, and open doors and windows to admit fresh air when the weather permits. You can also consider more permanent solutions, like a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) system, that removes stale air and inducts fresh outdoor air, while still maintaining proper air temperature.
- Safely dispose of old paints or other chemicals stored in your house.
- Air purifiers that incorporate activated charcoal filters can help reduce the level of VOCs in indoor air. These units are effective only in single rooms or other small enclosed spaces. The charcoal filter must be replaced at regular intervals.
For more information about reducing the level of allergy causing pollutants, like VOCs, in your home, contact the air quality experts at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about allergy causing pollutants and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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