How to remove VOCs from a new construction home? is the most common question people ask. VOCs can be removed in different ways like opening windows, using VOC-free paints and wooden floors, and also using an air purifier. If you’ve ever lived in a new home, you might have noticed that the smell never entirely goes away, no matter how much you clean or air out the space.
It’s an unfortunate side effect of building materials that give off volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can include things like formaldehyde and benzene, and are known to cause health problems such as asthma or cancer over time. This guide offers some solutions to removing VOCs from your new home so you can breathe easy again.
How to remove VOCs from a new construction home?
If you have bought a new home or are in the middle of building a new one, be sure to use natural paints and finishes. Ideally, install high-quality ventilation systems throughout the house. If you are currently inhabiting a space with high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), contact an indoor air quality professional for help.
To remove chemicals such as Benzene and Trichloroethylene from your home, try using commercial air purifiers containing HEPA filters to remove particles as small as .3 microns. Filters should last approximately six months with typical usage patterns before replacing; to know how to reduce VOC in the home keep on reading.
1: Open windows
All windows should be open 24/7 during the building phase when a home is new. The wood products emit VOCs that are usually non-toxic (even though some people say they can be unhealthy), but when your windows are closed, it slows down the airflow, trapping those emissions in your home. This causes higher concentrations of these chemicals inside. Opening up all the windows allows fresh air to come in and replace any lousy air trapped inside.
2: Use exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchen
Every time you cook in your kitchen, prepare something in your bathroom or use a degreaser or solvent in any room of the house, they are being released into the air. That’s why having an exhaust fan is so important. These fans pull moisture and other odors out of the home (when they are on) and push fresh air inside when they are off. Even better, you can install exhaust fans wherever you need them for not a lot of money!
3: Use soda and vinegar mixtures
If your paint does not emit any new or worsening smells, it will only contain milder, low-VOC colors. But if you’re noticing a fresh lousy smell or the odor is stronger, you might need more than baking soda or vinegar. In this case, because these are stronger chemicals (unless we’re talking about latex paint), they should be diluted before using them to avoid damage or
problems caused by the strong chemical (i.e., damage to your furnishings). Mix two parts water with 1 part soap; then add 16 parts vinegar and 16 parts water. Keep in mind that while this mixture will take care of most VOCs, there may still be some lingering odors that could require further treatment.
3: Use an air purifier
After the construction dust has settled, there are still likely to be substances in your new home that can cause health issues. For a safe environment for you and your family, invest in an air purifier designed to eliminate volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Once this is done, it will take about three months for the concentrations of these pollutants in the air to be reduced below hazardous levels. The installation of this device will cost anywhere between $150-250 per month in electricity costs. Still, it may be worth considering how much better you’ll feel after eliminating VOCs from your new home.
4: Use personal care and cleaning products
4. When we want a space or item in our home to smell fresh, we usually rely on products like Febreze or air fresheners. These contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are often harsh on your respiratory system and contribute to indoor air pollution (IAQ).
The best way to reduce VOCs is with natural personal care products, such as lavender-scented lotion or plant-based candles. Most also have a lovely fresh scent that will fill your home with fragrance, not pollution! These should be your go-to when it comes time for light cleaning around the house, like sweeping the kitchen floor or wiping down a coffee table.
5: Use no- VOC paints
Before we can talk about how to remove VOCs from your new home, let’s define what VOCs are. VOCs are chemicals used in paints, resins, stains, varnishes, and furniture polish that evaporate at room temperature. Familiar sources of VOCs in your home come from off-gassing construction materials like polyurethane (paint) or vinyl flooring (color).
These chemicals react with air molecules in the air, which causes them to turn into fumes that leave a nasty chemical odor. Colors and finishes also contain substances such as benzene or formaldehyde that may produce a pungent smell. So it is essential to avoid using these products when building or remodeling your home. A few simple steps will help you get rid of those pesky VOCs before they cause any health problems for you and your family.
6: Use already-pre-finished wooden floors
Installing new floors can have many benefits, like a refreshing look or adding insulation. However, unfinished wood is often coated with heavy-duty materials called varnishes, emitting low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are gases that evaporate quickly and are usually cast as fumes into the air.
When these glasses come in contact with other materials such as furnishings or paint on walls, they produce a new chemical that may cause harmful respiratory issues for the occupant. Use already-pre-finished wooden floors: Installing new floors can have many benefits, like a refreshing look or adding insulation.
However, unfinished wood is often coated with heavy-duty materials called varnishes, emitting low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are gases that evaporate quickly and are usually cast as fumes into the air. When these gasses come in contact with other materials such as furnishings or paint on walls, they produce a new chemical that may cause harmful respiratory issues for the occupant.
7: Stay away from adhesives
If you’re buying a new home, ask about the building materials. The more VOC-free the house is, the better for your health! Common culprits are adhesives, sealants, paints, and cleaners. Here’s what you can do:
- Ask your Realtor or builder if they use low-VOC paints.
- Replace any VOC-heavy materials with low-VOC options.
- Stick with natural products when you can.
8: Use activated carbon filters and air purifiers
Low-quality filters may capture particles in the air, but not gasses. Gasses like formaldehyde, benzene, and acetone evaporate or become lighter when they combine with other materials in the air. Filters can only be removed if they are physically present. Several types of filters precisely remove these gasses, such as activated carbon filters which can clean an entire house. While choosing a filter, look for ones verified by a certification organization.
Filters should also be designed to handle your specific needs: open-air units only take up floor space, while whole-house teams treat indoor spaces. Air purifiers use a filter or a system to create the desired environment.
Air purifiers usually have three stages: pre-filter, air filter, and post-filter. Pre-filters catch large particles like hair or leaves; an air filter captures allergens, bacteria, viruses, mold spores, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chemicals, fumes, or odors; and a post-filter picks up any remaining particles too small to be caught by the other filters. Paint fumes are odorless, so there’s no smell, in this case, to worry about; the more significant the paint particles are, the better your home will smell when you’re painting.
Apply all these given to get rid of the new house smell.
Chemicals That Can Cause VOC Emissions
This group of chemicals includes formaldehyde, chloroform, phthalates, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Formaldehyde is one of the most common irritating odors in new homes because it is used in insulation and flooring. Chloroform can be emitted as a result of waxing or polishing hardwood floors. Many plastics emit phthalates as they’re heated during manufacturing. And finally, a wide range of substances released by paints and varnishes will react with other substances during the application or over time to produce harmful emissions.
This makes your house smell funny for the next day or two; if you’ve waited this long before taking care of it, it might require more involved remediation procedures.
What Are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)?
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that quickly evaporate at room temperature. They can be found in natural gas, pesticides, cleaners, paints, furniture finishes, gasoline, printer ink cartridges, and hundreds of other products. They can even be a byproduct of bacteria in our bodies.
Volatile organic compounds are nearly impossible to remove once they enter your home’s air supply because they will continually leak into the air through your windows and doors or when you use other household products that contain them.
What Causes Excessive VOCs in Buildings
You may not think about it too often, but your home has harmful chemicals. The cause of these toxic chemicals is called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). They can be emitted from several sources in the house, like building materials or household products.
These substances are particularly problematic because they can trigger or worsen respiratory problems such as asthma or cancer. Children and the elderly may be susceptible.
Removing any possible sources of excessive VOCs should be done before moving into a new house. That way, you’ll know that you’re not at risk of coming into contact with these things later.
You can also check out our other related article Tips to Reduce Formaldehyde In Your Home Immediately!
VOCs off-gassing sources in a new home(new house smell)
1: New wood cabinets and doors
2: New carpets
3: New paints
1: New wood cabinets and doors
Wood, when unfinished, is a known toxin to the air. This is because wood naturally gives off an array of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These gasses react with one’s sense of smell and can cause health problems, including headaches, nausea, respiratory issues, or even depression. Vylon products by Climatex are uniquely able to control these gasses while still providing natural beauty.
For example, the TRU-BOND sealant coats a surface with a thin protective barrier that helps prevent this volatile reaction, lowering your risk for VOC exposure by up to 99%. Additionally, our species of Enviroshel coating does the same thing without changing the natural appearance of wood.
2: New carpets
Most new carpets are made with synthetic materials that emit chemicals into the air. This is a problem because these substances can aggravate asthma, allergies, sinus problems, and other health issues. Furthermore, these contaminants do not disappear; they stay in the carpeting until they are heated enough to break down the chemical bond between them. While there are many ways you can minimize your exposure, ultimately, the best way to eliminate these chemicals is by removing them completely.
Do your research before choosing a removal service because some companies use dangerous techniques that put your family at risk of severe illnesses like cancer. If you don’t feel comfortable hiring one of these companies to clean up the carpets in your new home, don’t worry!
3: New paints
Many paints used for new construction are made with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can lead to headaches, nausea, dizziness, nosebleeds, or can aggravate asthma. When these symptoms are experienced in a house day after day, it could be the chemicals in the paint emitting hazardous fumes. It is not easy to get rid of VOCs, but they eventually dissipate naturally – some faster than others.
Symptoms associated with VOCs
- Conjunctival Irritation
- Nose & Throat Irritation
- Allergic Skin Reaction
1: Conjunctival Irritation
A possible cause of Conjunctival Irritation is exposure to an allergen brought into the home on someone’s clothing or shoes in moist weather. If you have a new home construction project underway, you must know how to remove VOCs before they become airborne. There are two things you can do when building a new house: be sure the material you use doesn’t emit too many harmful chemicals (i.e., concrete) and ensure that the materials used for insulation don’t emit any toxic substances into your home environment (i.e., fiberglass).
2: Nose & Throat Irritation
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, certain chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene, ethanol, trichloroethylene (TCE), chloroform, acetone, methylene chloride, and carbon tetrachloride are known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These chemicals can be found in a variety of household products. Chemicals in your cleaning supplies will emit fumes when you use them.
Products such as paints, colognes, and air fresheners are also familiar sources of these gases. The first step towards removing VOCs is finding out which ones are in your home. Many devices exist for testing these levels, but an easy way is purchasing a pack of chemical-free incense sticks at a local drugstore for about five dollars.
3: Allergic Skin Reaction
The Center for Health Design (CHD) reports that volatile organic compounds or VOCs are present in 80% of all new homes. Familiar sources of these chemicals include the paint on the walls, upholstery on your furniture, and any products you have plugged in or otherwise in use. Low levels of exposure may not pose a significant health risk, but repeated exposure is another story. In particular, repeated exposure to formaldehyde can cause an allergic skin reaction in some people.
The chemicals in the paint, furniture, and carpets that make your home fresh may be linked to dizziness, headaches, nausea, sensitivity to other odors, fatigue, and allergic reactions. These chemicals are volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In addition, studies show that benzene concentrations can be up to 400 times higher inside a new house than outside it.
If you’re experiencing these symptoms while living in a newly built home or just purchased one unique property, you’re likely sensitive to these potentially harmful chemicals. What is the cause of these harmful VOCs? Studies show that they come from materials in everyday building products such as carpeting, paint, or furniture; plus, materials like insulation and flooring may emit benzene, commonly found in carpeting.
Get the answers to the questions.
Does carpet adhesive release VOCs?
We love the new carpet we laid in our living room, but when I walked into the house for the first time last week, I was overwhelmed by a strong smell. The chemical-y odor made my eyes water. The next day, we called one of our neighbors to get an idea of what could be causing this chemical smell. After sniffing around for a bit and opening up the windows, he said that there was probably some adhesive that had been used on our new carpet, and it was giving off toxic fumes as it healed. These chemicals are volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Does activated carbon reduce VOCs?
Remove VOCs from indoor air. Carbon has become a popular product in the world of air purification. One of the most common types of air pollutants is volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a diverse class of chemicals that react with other chemicals to produce odors, aerosols, smoke, or gases. Activated carbon will adsorb volatile compounds through physical contact and chemical reaction with the adsorbed compound.
What is a bake-out in a house?
The bake-out process for getting rid of VOCs is simply opening all the windows and doors and turning on all the fans, thermostats, lights, and other sources of heat in the house during the day when it’s not too hot or too cold. During this time, you can do many things, like cook meals in a gas oven that produces a good amount of heat (be sure to cook food wearing an organic breathing mask) and do laundry, which can help keep your house dryer than usual.
Most people are surprised to learn that the longer they live in a home, the more VOCs will accumulate. This can happen for various reasons: opening windows too often, using lots of cleaning products indoors, or bringing materials like new furniture, carpeting, or even plants. The best thing is that there are plenty of ways to keep VOC levels down without moving. For example, air out your house by opening windows as much as possible and turning on ceiling fans when it’s warm outside.
Consider hiring an expert specializing in treating chemical contamination (indoor air quality professionals) for more extreme cases. They might suggest installing ventilation systems or changing what type of paint you use on your walls. Whatever method you choose, the best thing to do is to start now so that any future residents don’t have to deal with these harmful chemicals either!