Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are air pollutants released by synthetic and composite materials as they age. These compounds are found everywhere and may be released from a variety of materials in your home such as plastics, varnishes and adhesives. Volatile organic compounds can cause serious health problems ranging from asthma and allergic reactions to cancer. Given how common these compounds are, it is very difficult to remove them completely from your environment; however, it is possible to limit your exposure to them. Consider the following ways to avoid volatile organic compounds.
Opt for Low-VOC Wall-Coverings
This includes water-based polyurethane paints that release fewer gases than oil-based ones. Also, avoid vinyl wall coverings, as vinyl is known to emit a variety of gases. It is a good idea to unroll wallpaper outside before hanging it, as wallpaper that is tightly rolled can trap VOCs.
Opt for Low-VOC Flooring
It is a good idea to use as little carpeting as possible. If you do use carpeting, check the Carpet and Rug Institute tag for the level of emissions and choose a carpet with a low emission level. Another option is to go with natural materials like wool or cotton. Also, be sure to choose carpeting that does not have latex backing. You should avoid installing carpet in areas of your home with high humidity such as kitchens and bathrooms. Note that adhesives contain VOCs, so it is a good idea to use tack strips when installing carpet.
Hardwood may seem to be a healthier alternative to carpeting, but note that all hardwood finishes emit VOCs. The better options are to use pre-sealed hardwood or to seal the hardwood with a water-based polyurethane sealant. Other options for low-VOC flooring include ceramic tile, linoleum and bamboo.
If you want to learn more about how to avoid volatile organic compounds and improve your indoor air quality, contact us at CCAC. We can provide a variety of options for limiting air pollution in your Coastal Bend Home.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Corpus Christi, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about volatile organic compounds and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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