Updated 1/22/21

Undoubtedly, indoor air quality is not to be taken for granted. Lack of good air quality may get you into trouble. It is easier to breathe when there is good indoor air quality.

Clean air helps you sleep better. Did you know that having good air quality helps you have a good rest and lowers your chances of getting sick.

Quality air eliminates terrible odors and reduces utility bills. Quality indoor air means the removal of allergens and pollutants. Air quality tracking is vital as polluted air can be harmful to the environment and our health.

Can you measure air quality in your home? Yes, you can use an air quality index sensor, also known as AQI. The AQI shows changes in how polluted the air is.

How can you improve air quality in your home?

Keep your house clean as it will help cut down on animal dander and dust. A clean home is a healthy house. The best indoor air quality can also be achieved by letting fresh air into the house. Try as much as possible to keep the outdoors greener.

Consider investing in air purifiers, as well as remember to change your filters. There are signs that your house may have low air quality if you notice people coughing and sneezing. Avoid this, maintain high-quality air for your indoors.

Air quality is one of several avenues for human health, and whether indoors or outdoors, there are a number of potential health hazards that can present themselves to human beings and common pets. Outdoors, for example, vehicle exhaust and smog can often damage lungs and set off conditions such as asthma or coughing, and even indoor air can become noxious or harmful through volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. Many “do it yourself” home projects can expose homeowners to VOCs, anything from staining concrete to painting a porch to painting with matte wall paint, and materials like wall primer and wood primer can be sources of VOCs. What exactly are VOCs, what what caution should be taken for jobs like staining concrete or finding paint safe for baby furniture?

The Nature of VOCs

Put simply, VOCs are, according to the American Lung Association, VOCs are gases that are emitted into the air from processes or products, many of which can be found in the home or purchased at hardware stores. Some of them are dangerous on their own (and may even cause cancer), while others may mix with other gases to produce harmful effects such as nervous system damage, nausea, or fatigue. Benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene are among the most common VOCs found today, and products can emit these gases even during transportation or storage. And according to a CBC Marketplace report, VOC levels at or exceeding 500 ppb (parts per billion) can affect people who have chemical sensitivities. Another study showed that when VOC levels are reduced, cognitive functions of people in such a room or building increase considerably.

What products and jobs give off VOCs? Paint and paint strippers, adhesives of many kinds, caulk, pressed wood products, pesticides, air fresheners, wood burning stoves, and more can give off VOCs. Staining concrete or painting walls indoors can give off a lot of VOCs, and even smoking cigarettes or using glue or permanent markers for art projects can give off VOCs. In particular, staining concrete can fill a room or the air around a house with VOCs. As explained at Concrete Network, staining concrete involves using either acid-based chemical stains or water-based acrylics to alter a concrete surface to make it look shiny and translucent, getting rid of concrete’s normal flat, opaque look. Walls, fireplaces, patios, and even kitchen countertops can be the target of staining concrete, but some staining solutions may contain VOCs. Buyers are encouraged to find out what chemicals are in a desired brand of stainer to find out if it could be dangerous.

Managing VOCs

A home or other building can be protected from VOCs. For example, opening windows and running fans while using paint or staining concrete can keep air fresh, and promptly disposing of leftover materials after a project is recommended. Paint should be stored separately from the building. Even storing it in a garage connected to the house can cause problems with VOCs. Finally, new carpets or rugs can be aired outside before they are brought into the building and installed. As an item ages, the VOCs it gives off decrease.

Leave a Reply