What Are VOCs?

People are often surprised to learn that poor indoor air quality is listed among the top five environmental risks to public health. In fact, the air inside most homes is many times more polluted than the air outside. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are the primary cause of indoor air pollution. Emitted as gases from common household products and furnishings, they can pose hidden health hazards for you and your family.

A Volatile Situation

It’s the trait known as volatility that makes VOCs so dangerous. Whether they are man-made or naturally occurring, volatility allows the compounds to evaporate into the air at room temperature. Warmer temperatures and high humidity increase the number of molecules released into the air you breathe. Common products containing volatile organic compounds include paint, pesticides, adhesives and cleaning solvents. These can release VOCs even when stored. Building materials like pressed-wood paneling and shelving emit volatile organic compounds more or less continuously.

Health Effects of VOCs

The impact of volatile organic compounds on your health depends on the amount and length of exposure to the specific substance. Common reactions to VOCs range from itchy eyes and nasal congestion to dizziness and nausea. Sensitivity matters too. For people with respiratory conditions like allergies and asthma, volatile organic compounds can exacerbate symptoms. Some VOCs are extremely toxic. Volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde, methylene chloride and benzene are known irritants that have been linked to cancer.

Lowering Your Exposure to VOCs

As a Trane Comfort Specialist, Alford Mechanical offers a variety of top-quality products designed to improve indoor air quality. Trane’s FreshEffects Energy Recovery Ventilator provides a whole-home solution. This innovative product exhausts VOCs from your home in exchange for preconditioned fresh air. For optimal efficiency, it uses energy captured in the outgoing air to get the job done.

From humidifiers to filtration systems, our air-cleaning products help keep homes throughout Franklin and Wake counties clean and healthy. For more information, explore our indoor air quality services or call Alford Mechanical Heating and Air Conditioning at 919-246-5265.

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