A recent study found that the levels of indoor air are often 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air. One of the leading sources of indoor air pollution is volatile organic compounds. This makes testing for them regularly key to ensuring a healthy environment.
Volatile organic compound testing addresses the invisible threats lurking in your home. The result is clean air that’s safe for you and your loved ones. But what does this test entail?
Keep reading for more on what to expect during VOC testing for indoor air.
What Are VOCs and How Do They Affect Health?
VOCs are a group of chemicals found in everyday household products. These include paints, solvents, cleaners, pesticides, adhesives, and even cosmetics. They can also be emitted from building materials, carpets, and fabrics.
Common examples include benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, xylene, and acetone. They evaporate at room temperature, spreading in your home. VOCs can build up in poorly ventilated spaces and reach high concentrations that can pose health risks.
The health risks of VOC are significant, especially when considering long-term exposure. High levels of VOCs in indoor air can lead to headaches, dizziness, and allergic reactions in the short term.
Over time, prolonged exposure can lead to more severe issues. It can increase the risk of respiratory and heart diseases, and even cancer. This is where the carcinogen classification of some VOCs becomes critical.
Furthermore, VOCs also play a role in worsening existing health issues and respiratory conditions. They worsen the symptoms for individuals with asthma or chronic bronchitis. The lingering fumes from VOCs can irritate the airways. This leads to increased coughing, wheezing, and breathing difficulties.
This makes regular VOC testing and control all the more vital for maintaining clean air at home.
What Causes of Elevated VOC Levels?
One of the common sources of high VOC levels in homes is mold growth. This is often due to water damage. Mold releases spores and VOCs into the air, contributing to the overall indoor air pollutant load.
Also, building materials and paints can release lingering fumes long after their initial application. This can add to the chemical concentration in your home’s air. Moreover, poor ventilation magnifies these issues.
In spaces where air doesn’t circulate well, VOCs accumulate, reaching levels that can pose serious health risks. This is concerning in modern homes designed to be airtight for energy efficiency. This can trap these pollutants indoors.
The VOC Testing Process
If you suspect that your home or workplace has high levels of VOCs in the air, you may want to conduct a volatile organic compound testing for indoor air. The process involves collecting air samples and analyzing them to determine the presence and concentration of various VOCs.
At Elite Mold Services Inc., we offer reliable VOC testing services for both commercial and residential buildings. Here is what to expect during our VOC testing process:
Professionals use low-flow pumps and sorbent tubes to collect air samples from different locations in your building. The pumps draw air through the tubes at a controlled rate for a specified period. The tubes contain a material that absorbs the VOCs from the air.
We send the tubes to a certified laboratory for analysis using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). This technique can identify and quantify hundreds of different VOCs in a sample.
In addition to the standard sorbent tube method, homeowners can also opt for other VOC testing options. These include formaldehyde tubes and handheld PID meters.
The former only measures formaldehyde, a common and harmful VOC that is often found in pressed wood products, insulation materials, glues, and paints. Formaldehyde tubes require only 20 minutes of sampling time.
Handheld PID meters are portable devices that rely on a photoionization detector (PID). They can provide a quick indication of the overall VOC chemical concentration in your building.
Interpreting Test Results and Next Steps
You can expect a comprehensive report within 3-4 days. The report details the list of detected VOCs, along with their concentrations. It also highlights the comparison with relevant exposure limits and guidelines.
Regarding acceptable levels, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, as sensitivity to VOCs can vary. Levels, types of VOCs, and building characteristics provide context. That said, lower numbers are better.
Our experts will interpret the results and explain what they mean for your indoor environment.
If your test shows high VOC levels, the first step is to identify and remove the sources. This may involve replacing certain building materials or furnishings emitting lingering fumes. Our experts can help pinpoint probable VOC sources based on the types of compounds found.
Increasing the flow of fresh air is key to preventing high VOC levels in the long term. Open windows regularly and use exhaust fans. This is especially crucial in high-moisture areas like kitchens and bathrooms.
Choose Low-VOC Building Materials and Furnishings
Also, when choosing building materials, furniture, and paints, opt for low-VOC or VOC-free options. This reduces the risk of lingering fumes and keeps chemical concentrations down.
Perform Proactive Maintenance
Furthermore, regular maintenance is crucial. Regularly inspect and clean air ducts and HVAC filters to ensure efficient air circulation.
Leverage Mold Testing to Get Ahead of Water Damage
Mold inspections and testing can go a long way toward preventing indoor air quality issues from worsening. They give you a chance to resolve moisture issues promptly. This proactive approach plays a key role in ensuring healthy VOC levels over time.
Follow Up Testing
To confirm your mitigation strategy worked, consider retesting after 6-8 weeks. Regular testing afterward is also crucial. This allows you to ensure levels drop and remain within recommended guidelines long-term.
Breathe Easy With Volatile Organic Compound Testing
Volatile organic compound testing is a cornerstone in maintaining healthy indoor environments. By being proactive in monitoring and managing air quality, you can ensure a safer, more comfortable space. Remember, Elite Mold Services is always here to guide you through the complexities of VOC testing and air quality improvement.
Don’t hesitate to reach out for tailored advice and solutions for your specific needs. Together, let’s make every breath you take indoors as fresh and clean as it should be. Talk to an expert now!