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What You Need to Know About Chemical Off-Gassing at Home

Posted in Air Quality, on November 09, 2023

Many of SafeAir’s clients wonder how the chemicals or substances found during their home air quality testing got there in the first place. After all — most of us don’t willingly bring harmful chemicals into the home on purpose! So, how DO chemicals that affect indoor air quality enter our homes? And how worried should the average homeowner be? Read on to learn more about off-gassing from SafeAir’s air quality specialists. 

What Are VOCs and What Risks Do They Present?

Chemical Off-gassing at homeIn manufacturing, many everyday objects or items we use in our homes and at the office come into contact with various substances like paint, glue, varnish and more. These substances are often called Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, and they are released when exposed to room temperatures. 

The most easily recognizable VOC is the fresh scent when you cut into a lemon — but not all home VOCs are as harmless, with many posing serious health risks when they collect and concentrate. 

How Can You Identify Off-Gassing

Another example of off-gassing that most people will recognize is new car smell. New items, whether a car, couch, device, or clothing, often contain more significant concentrations of VOCs from manufacturing. When items are new, the substances have not had an adequate opportunity to be released into the atmosphere. 

In addition, many chemicals are more quickly released in warmer temperatures, which is why SafeAir often finds higher concentrations of common VOCs during indoor air quality testing during the summer. 

How You Can Prevent Off-Gassing

If you are concerned about off-gassing in your home, there are several things you can do to mitigate your risk. 

The first thing we always recommend at SafeAir is to increase your home’s ventilation. More air will help move VOCs out and reduce dust, dander, pollen, and other indoor air quality pollutants, too. 

Next, we recommend allowing new items to air outdoors or in the garage for a day or two. This isn’t always practical, so steam cleaning or washing can also help release and remove unwanted substances. 

Lastly, you can purchase a HEPA filter system. Filtering out particulates and capturing unwanted pollutants with an air filter system will help you with general air quality issues but may also help reduce the concentration of some off-gassed chemicals in your home atmosphere. 

Learn About VOCs at Home with SafeAir

Every home has a unique indoor air environment, making applying blanket statements about houses in Toronto, Mississauga or the GTA difficult. The only way to know more about your home and the risks you may face is to book professional home air quality testing with SafeAir. 

With over a decade of experience working with families to improve indoor air quality across the GTA, our air quality tests can help identify common allergens, VOCs, air-flow issues, mold growth, and radon gas in your indoor air quality. Testing is especially helpful when you’re expecting a new family member or undergoing renovations, which is often when VOC levels are at their highest. To learn more about VOCs or book indoor air quality testing with SafeAir, reach out today.


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