VOCs – How Whole House Fans Can Help

VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, abound in today’s air tight, energy efficient homes. While energy efficiency is a good thing, it’s important for homes to have adequate ventilation, otherwise harmful chemicals remain in the air you, your family, and your guests breathe in. Whole house fans can help clear the air inside your home in many ways, which is vital in order to draw VOCs out.

How do Volatile Organic Compounds Come into Homes?

Understanding that prevention is the best cure, it helps to know how these harmful chemicals are coming into your home so you can reduce your family’s exposure to them. TheMinnesota Department of Health lists several common culprits for VOCs including building materials, personal care products, home products, and behavioral sources including the following:

  • Carpets and Vinyl Flooring
  • Adhesives and Solvents
  • Paints and Varnishes
  • Solvents
  • Air Fresheners
  • Cleaning Products
  • Moth Balls
  • Vehicle Exhaust
  • Cooking
  • Smoking
  • Newspapers
  • Dry Cleaning
  • Cosmetics

Unfortunately, this is only a small sampling of the ways VOCs come into homes today. The immediate impact of VOCs on people in your home, according to theNational Library of Medicine, include impaired memory, skin reactions, irritation to eyes, noses, and throats, headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, loss of coordination, and asthma symptom intensification. Long-term exposure can lead to cancer, liver or kidney damage, and damage to the central nervous system.

How Can Whole House Fans Help?

The EPA estimates that indoor air containstwo to five times more pollutants than the air outside the home. In fact, they’ve gone as far as citing indoor air quality as one of the top five environmental risks to public health today. Part of the problem with air quality indoors revolves around the fact that VOCs are so widespread, the fact that people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, and that homes today are built to keep air from escaping in attempts to be more energy efficient.

A whole house fan provides ventilation in a manner that’s different from other methods of ventilation. Not only do they work to remove the bad air inside your home but also to draw fresh, clean air into your home. They also help to remove moisture and other chemicals released into the air from showering and cooking that may contain VOCs.

Choosing products that contain few VOCs or no VOCs is a great move in the right direction. However, it takes more than prevention to cure this particular condition. Proper ventilation inside the home is necessary to prevent bigger health problems for yourself, your family, and the people who visit your home in the future.

Whole house fans are a great start because they offer a cost-effective solution for the VOC problem in your home as well as other benefits for your family too.