What is a Volatile Organic Compound (VOC)?

VOCs: What to Know

Apr 17, 2018

VOCs: What to KnowLocal news and weather reports broadcast air quality alerts when pollutants build to unhealthy levels outdoors, which helps sensitive groups avoid exposure to bad air. Unfortunately there’s no good way to get such alerts for your home, especially for VOCs (volatile organic compounds) whose side effects may be more serious than polluted outdoor air.

A volatile organic compound (VOC) is a gaseous byproduct of products that contain hydrocarbons. They’re found in cleaning products, dry cleaning, anything perfumed, cosmetics, hobby and home improvement products like new flooring, paints and glues, caulk, furniture and cabinets, vehicle exhaust, yard and pool chemicals, and many kinds of plastics.

Some people have a high tolerance for volatile organic compounds, while others are highly sensitive. Reactions include headaches, respiratory issues and long term exposure can contribute to organ failure, cancer, or nervous system problems.

Minimizing the Effects

Keeping these gases out of the indoor air is possible by avoiding them altogether or providing adequate ventilation to dilute their concentration. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternative products available that offer the same quality and function as those laden with VOCs, but are safer for indoor air.

Unfortunately, pulling in fresh air by opening windows isn’t a good option in the summer if you’re trying to keep your cooling bills low. An energy recovery ventilator (ERV) will do everything an open window does and more. ERVs pull as much stale, contaminated indoor air out of your home as they bring in.

At their center, they use heat exchange technology that means that they precondition the incoming air so that it won’t raise cooling bills. An ERV can be attached to your A/C or blow directly into a specific room.

Another effective way to lower the VOC levels is to install UV (ultraviolet) lights inside the HVAC system. UV rays alter the composition of volatile organic compounds, making them less harmful. These lights also attack viruses, bacteria and mold spores.

Keeping VOCs low in your home promotes healthier air. If you’d like more information about managing air quality, contact Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions, providing HVAC services for Orlando-area homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).