You may want to add this acronym to your vocabulary since it directly impacts the health of your home. VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) in home improvement products raise concerns because the gasses they release can be toxic. Home buyers and sellers are becoming increasingly attentive to indoor air quality, so it’s important to find out if volatile organic compounds might be lurking in your materials and furnishings. Consider these common sources of VOCs. This is so important for residential real estate owners!
Insulation: Back in the day some insulations contained asbestos or fibreglass with formaldehyde. Current smart choices include insulation from cotton, paper, soybean, and grains. Make sure they aren’t treated with unhealthy chemicals or installed incorrectly.
Paints and stains: Many manufacturers like Benjamin Moore now feature low- or zero- VOC product lines and more consumers are favouring these options. Also, look for smaller manufacturers of paints with no VOCs, such as Ecos and SafeCoat.
Flooring: Pay attention to the flooring product AND the adhesives and varnishes within pre-engineered boards. Even if you go with reclaimed boards, make sure the finish is safe, such as natural oil. These guidelines also apply to cabinetry, walls, and beams.
HVAC Systems: Since homes have been sealed and tightened to be more energy-efficient, make sure your heating and air-conditioning systems are adequately vented to the outdoors. Air purifiers can help, too. Furnaces, hot water heaters, and appliances should be serviced annually so VOCs won’t be released into the air.
Check the labels on home furnishings for flame-retardant foam in cushions, as well as pesticides, cleaning products, and plug-in air fresheners. The good news is there is an increasing number of “green” retailers. For inspiration and information on environmental living and building, check out Rhino Lining and Green Depot.