Category: Air Quality
Just mention the word paint and you can probably recall the distinct smell. Same goes for paint thinner, gasoline and many other products. While they may bring back a memory, the truth of the matter is those smells are actually VOCs, which stands for Volatile Organic Compounds.
You probably have at least heard the term VOC but tend to think of them in items that emit a very strong odor such as paint and gasoline. Unfortunately there are a lot of other household items such as cleaners, printers, glues, markers, hobby supplies, air fresheners and more that also omit VOCs.
An important element to maintaining Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is removing contaminants from the living environment. The best way to eliminate them is to store them outside the home (always follow the manufactures recommendation for storage of these items). The American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) calls this source control. Opening a window will help, but another effective way is to make sure your home is properly ventilated. Using exhaust fans to remove the build up of VOCs in your home will instantly increase the IAQ. Most people only think about using an exhaust fan in the bathrooms or a range hood in the kitchen but many homes are now installing exhaust fans in the laundry/utility rooms. If you stop and think about it, these rooms are typically where cleaning supplies are kept as well as the place where you clean up after painting or doing crafts. They can be a big contributor to VOCs in the home. By installing an exhaust fan, those VOCs or taken out of the living environment.
For more information regarding identifying, ventilating and removing contaminants and increasing your indoor air quality in your living environment, visit the ASHRAE page of this site.