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If you’ve been trying to improve your indoor air quality, you’ve probably read about VOCs. Volatile organic compounds are known to cause short and long-term health effects, and their concentration significantly increases indoors. But what exactly are VOCs? How do they affect your health, and what can you do about them?
Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are made up of a variety of different chemicals found in household materials and products. Although they’re organic, these chemicals can be harmful, especially because of their high doses. VOCs are primarily found in fuels, solvents, and water treatment by-products like pesticides, paint, glue, office equipment, and even some craft supplies. Their concentration is high indoors, even in rural areas, creating a type of indoor pollution that can be dangerous. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, these VOCs can linger long after their source is gone, which can make them even more impactful on your indoor air quality.
How Do VOCs Affect Us?
Since we spend so much time indoors, VOCs can negatively impact our health. Like other types of pollution, VOCs can cause a variety of short-term and long-term complications and symptoms, like:
- Eye and nose irritation
- Skin irritation
- Memory issues
While some of these reactions might seem mild, any type of symptom can have more serious consequences. The EPA found that, while in use, products containing VOC levels significantly increase the number of particles in the air – up to 1,000 times more than when not in use. Consistent exposure is more likely to cause long-term health effects.
How Your AC Unit Can Reduce VOC Exposure
Your air conditioning system does more than just circulate the air. But first, there are some things to consider to ensure your AC is working its best. If you’ve never had your ducts cleaned, then now is the time. Clean ducts will allow air to flow freely and circulate better and will even help your system last longer because it doesn’t have to work as hard. Be sure to schedule a yearly inspection and cleaning to keep your ducts working their best.
Many HVAC systems are compatible with a polarized air cleaner. These specialized filters capture more contaminants and particles than a regular air filter, all the way down to particles smaller than 2.5 microns. Along with VOCs, they can also keep your air clean from smoke, smog, pet dander, allergens, and even viruses. When your run your air conditioner equipped with a polarized air cleaner, you can actively remove VOCs from the air before, during, and after you use them. In addition to their efficiency, polarized filters are one of the most affordable air filters on the market for reducing VOCs and other air contaminants.
If you frequently use products containing VOCs, consider cleaning or sanitizing your ducts more often than recommended. You can always consult an HVAC expert to ensure that your system is working properly, and they can check your ductwork for any leaks. They’ll also be able to recommend ways to boost your air quality, like a Platinum carbon air purifier. Like polarized filters, an air purifier can also remove VOCs and other contaminants from the air, improving air quality and reducing allergens. However, air purifiers take it a step further by converting the contaminants into water vapor and carbon dioxide instead of trapping it. Utilizing both is a sure way to reduce VOC levels and improve your air quality.
More VOC Solutions
So, what else can you do about VOCs in your indoor air? While you could spend more time outdoors, you can follow these steps to help limit exposure and decrease the amount of VOC particles inside your home or workplace.
Read and Follow the Label
Before you use any product that might contain hazardous chemicals, it’s always a good idea to read the label’s warnings and instructions. Read ahead to determine if there are any specific instructions you should follow, and always stick to the manufacturer’s label. Never mix chemicals, and always discard any unused product as soon as possible.
Since some occupations and home projects can’t avoid products containing VOCs, the next best thing you can do is take steps to reduce them during use. Pick a nice, breezy day so you can open windows while you work or complete your project outside if possible. Use the products for as little time as possible, working quickly to reduce your exposure.
Reduce VOC Levels with Chill Squad
If VOCs are a concern at your home or business, you can contact the experts at Chill Squad to help! Contact us today for a consultation. We’ll discuss your concerns, make a plan to address them, and install our quality equipment with top-notch craftsmanship to give you the cleanest air possible. There’s no need to live with high VOC levels. Instead, contact us today to get started.