How To Choose an Air Purifier for VOCs and Formaldehyde.

best air purifier for vocs and formaldehyde

An air purifier for VOCs and formaldehyde could help to improve the quality of air in your home.

The following article will provide information about the various different types of pollutants that can be found in your home's air, and how an air purifier can help clean it up.

 
 
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What are VOCs?

VOCs are volatile organic compounds, which are chemicals that easily evaporate. Formaldehyde is an example of a VOC. They are often found in natural gas, gasoline, paint strippers and other household products like disinfectants and pesticides. The most common sources of VOCs in your home are paint, new carpet or other building materials. Formaldehyde is the most common VOC

Formaldehyde Is a Concern

Formaldehyde is a well known pollutant because of its unique chemical properties. It has a strong odour, it's easily absorbed through the skin, and unlike most other gases, it travels through the air at room temperature. It also has an even longer half-life than VOCs such as trichloroethylene (TCE). Long-term exposure to high levels of formaldehyde can lead to asthma and migraines.

The good news is that formaldehyde isn't the only VOC you have to worry about in your home.

How do VOCs affect my health?

Exposure to high levels of VOCs can irritate your eyes, nose and throat. Long-term exposure to low levels of VOCs can cause fatigue, headaches and nausea. Because formaldehyde is a carcinogen in the same group as benzene and asbestos, it should be avoided at all times. In fact, the World Health Organization classifies formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen. It has also been shown to cause nasal cancers in laboratory animals.

What about kids and pets?

Children and animals are more susceptible to airborne chemicals than adults. Pollutants present in the home that can cause eczema, asthma and other respiratory problems. The biggest problem with pets is that they love to lick and chew things; something a child won't do. Pets can also carry VOCs on their fur or skin which they wipe onto furniture and carpets in your home.

How can an air purifier help?

Most air purifiers address what's known as coarse dust particles, which are large enough to see. VOCs are microscopic, so most air purifiers will not filter them out of the air. In most cases, the presence of VOCs in your home will not be dangerous if exposure is limited to short periods of time. However, VOCs do pose a bigger issue when they accumulate over time to higher levels. This can be caused by various factors:

1. Poor Ventilation

You may have poor ventilation that cannot remove VOCs from your home due to lack of air movement or inadequate ventilation systems in your home. Poor ventilation can contribute to the accumulation of indoor air pollutants such as formaldehyde, which can cause adverse health effects such as headaches, nausea or fatigue.

2. Off-Gassingย 

The process by which chemicals in a product become airborne, especially when they're applied to new materials such as carpet.

The good news is that air purifiers can help remove VOCs from your home.

What can I do if I have VOCs in my home?

The best way to prevent the accumulation of VOCs is to limit their presence.

For example, keep your windows closed while applying paint in your home and try not use any household products that contain formaldehyde. Another way to reduce the presence of these pollutants is to choose products with low amounts of VOCs such as low emitting scented candles, incense, or air fresheners. You can also install low-emitting ventilation or air purification systems.

I have an air purifier, so why do I still have VOCs?

Each home, depending on its size and location, may contain varying amounts of VOCs. A small home with a few rooms may not be affected much by VOCs, but a large home with multiple rooms or hallways will accumulate higher levels. And because VOCs travel through the air at room temperature, they can persist for long periods of time in your home even after use of the product has stopped.

Air purifiers have a fine mesh such as a Filtrete filter, which is not able to remove VOCs from the air. The presence of VOCs in your home can be detected by running a test kit that will measure how much formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are present in the air.

An air purifier is not intended to remove the whole family or household from indoor pollution. You would need to evaluate other sources of indoor pollution such as mold and chemical spills

Because air purifiers are only able to filter coarse dust particles, they won't remove VOCs from the air. The best way to address this problem is to evaluate other sources of indoor pollution such as mold and chemical spills.

As a rule of thumb, an air purifier will not help you with VOCs in your home, although it will help remove coarse dust particles that may be floating around the room. In many cases, having an air purifier can actually increase the presence of VOCs in your home because many people keep their windows closed when they use them.

Electrostatic air purifiers capture particles using the process of ionization. The electricity helps to break the bonds between particles so they can be captured by the air purifier. This works well for larger sized particles such as dust, pollen and other allergens. However, it does not work for smaller pollutants such as VOCs because they are made of molecules, not atoms.

A HEPA filter is used to capture coarse dust particles in the air. These are larger than VOCs and can be seen with the naked eye; they're about one-thirtieth the size of a grain of sand. Air purifiers contain HEPA filters that trap these pollutants in your home. However, most HEPA filters are not designed to capture VOCs.

Ionizing air purifiers use a process of ionization to capture particles in your home. The electricity helps to break the bonds between particles so they can be captured by the air purifier. This works well for larger sized particles such as dust, pollen and other allergens. However, it does not work for smaller pollutants such as VOCs because they are made of molecules, not atoms.

The best way to reduce VOCs in your home is by reducing or eliminating their presence by any means possible. For example, keep your windows closed while applying paint in your home and try not use any household products that contain formaldehyde.

Better Overall Health

If you have asthma or any other respiratory disorder, your condition may get worse if you have a lot of VOCs in the air. So, a good way to reduce VOCs is to simply clean your home more often.

Aerobic bacteria in the air make the air in your home more likely to have bacterial infections. This means that a weak immune system makes it easier for bacteria to get the upper hand on your body. Other factors that go into this are persistent inflammation caused by infectious organisms and a weakened immune system.

Conclusion

VOCs can be a problem, especially in your home. The best way to prevent them is to not store products that contain VOCs. Although some air purifiers can help remove VOCs from the air, they are not designed for this purpose so they are not a complete solution. Instead, you should find other sources of pollution such as mold and chemical spills to eliminate or reduce their presence in your home.

If you have asthma or any other respiratory disorder, your condition may get worse if you have a lot of VOCs in the air. So, a good way to reduce VOCs is to simply clean your home more often.

The persistent areas of high VOC levels include kitchen and bathroom surfaces, wallcoverings and carpeting.

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Other Questions

Why do VOCs go up at night?

When you sleep, if you have poor bedroom ventilation , VOCs will accumulate in your bedroom. During the day, when you are awake and active, you will be likely to open your windows more often, allowing fresh air to come into your home. This allows VOCs to dissipate over time in your home.

However, when people sleep in the same room as the air purifier and use it at night, the VOCs remain trapped under a closed window because their concentration has been reduced by a lessened exchange of air between outside and inside.

How does baking soda get rid of VOCs?

Baking soda is an alkaline cleaner and is also a VOC remover. When it comes into contact with an acid, like VOCs then, the baking soda dissolves the molecules of VOCs. One other advantage to using baking soda is that it also deodorizes, which helps remove unpleasant odors from your home or car.

What is the best way to remove VOCs from the air?

VOCs can be removed from your home by using any of the following:

  • ย Air purifier.
  • Ionizer or Air Purifier with Negative Ions
  • Odor Absorber, deodorizer and neutralizer (using baking soda)
  • Ventilate your home more often.
  • Open all windows for a few hours.
  • Air-out your car in an open area and turn on the AC
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ย An air purifier is a device designed to remove dust, pollen, smoke, soot, mold spores, smog, and other airborne pollutants from the air.

If you want to keep your home clean and free of contaminantsโ€”and save money on heating and air conditioning billsโ€”quality air purifiers are a powerful first step.

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