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New House Smell and Indoor Air Quality

Posted in Air Quality, on October 11, 2017

Buying a brand new house is one of the biggest purchases you are ever likely to make. Buying a new home that has not been previously owned, can mean you get exactly what you want, whether it be granite countertops or white oak cabinets. One of the features some people like about a brand new home - or brand new things in general - is the immediately recognizable scent that comes along with them.

Your New House Smell May be a Sign of Poor Indoor Air Quality

So beloved by some it is sold as an air freshener scent, the new home smell isn’t actually healthy to have circulating your home. This new home smell can actually impact your indoor air quality. This smell of newness is actually off-gassing chemicals used to build your new home and they can have serious health effects in both the short and long term.Indoor air quality is likely low on the list of concerns for the owner of a brand new home. There are things to unpack, after all, and it smells new and clean, right? But that new house smell in your indoor environment can come from a variety of indoor pollutants, such as the formaldehyde used in particle board, and paints, glues, and sealants. As these materials cure and settle, they off-gas Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which affect your indoor air quality, as well as your health and comfort.

Potential Health Impacts of the ‘New House Smell’

To a certain extent, we’ve been conditioned to believe this smell in our indoor air quality is a good sign but these VOCs can be very harmful to our health. Formaldehyde, for example, is a known carcinogen that is commonly used in building materials and household products. It is a strong-smelling gas, making it a recognizable indoor air quality pollutant, and it can make people feel sick if they breathe in high levels of it. VOCs have a big effect on your indoor air quality because they are quickly absorbed into our body through your eyes, nose, and throat, where they can cause inflammation, itchiness, and dryness. Since we spend up to 90% of our time indoors, having good indoor air quality can have a big effect on our health.

Indoor Air Quality Solutions for the New Home Smell

Thankfully, there are ways of reducing indoor air pollution in a new home or condo. When it comes to the indoor air quality of your new home, it used to be difficult to avoid using building materials that included VOCs and other chemicals that could affect your indoor air quality. New hardwood flooring and toxic-smelling paints come to mind. Because of the increased awareness of indoor air quality and its role in your health, new products are available on the market that can help the savvy homeowner avoid the new home smell and the host of indoor air contaminants that comes with it. There are also a number of things you can do at home to eliminate the scent of chemical off-gassing:

  • Keep windows or doors open for a bit. This will allow fresh air into your home, and let toxic air pollutants exit. Try to leave windows open for a few days.
  • Air purifiers. These are available online, or at any home retail store.
  • Turn on fans. Pair this with open windows or doors to help increase air circulation.
  • Salt, lemon, and vinegar. Fill bowls with water, orange slices, and about a quarter cup of salt. Place these bowls in rooms that have the toxic smell. Leave them overnight to absorb the odors.
  • Air-cleaning plants. Various indoor plants are known to purify the air inside your home. Placing some around your home may help eliminate indoor air pollution.

These are all indoor air quality solutions for removing the new home smell. If you have concerns about the smell in a new house you’ve purchased or in a home you’ve recently renovated, there’s still a lot you can do to help eliminate the smell from your family home and improve indoor air quality. Give us a call at SafeAir and we would be happy to help you find a solution to make your home a healthy and comfortable place to be.

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