Odours in a home can be an indicator of either a small indoor air quality issue or a more serious one that can affect the health of the occupants.Odours are like symptoms of an issue such as a runny nose is an indicator you have a cold. Odours can also indicate a more serious issue such as a hidden mould growth problem or a chemical off-gassing issue or VOC’s. A detailed indoor air quality assessment can help determine the source of the odour and can provide you with a healthier home. Before having an indoor air quality assessment performed, some of the obvious culprits should be investigated.
Reasons for odours can range from poor ventilation to mold growth. An air quality inspection should be considered even if the house should be thoroughly cleaned. Some potential reasons for odours in your home are:
Odours can be due to poor ventilation. A well-sealed home is good for energy conservation and helps keep the heating and cooling costs down. However, it can also lead to ventilation issues leading to odours and poor indoor air quality. This issue can be assessed with air quality instruments and can have a variety of solutions.
Odours can also be a result of a hidden mold growth issue. Any water event can lead to mold growth. High humidity, plumbing issues, toilet or tub/sink overflows as well as actual plumbing leaks, foundation leaks or floods can lead to mold growth issues. Mold does not always have to have a musty odour. In some cases, mold can have a chemical like odour. A mold test can be of assistance in this case.
Odours can also come from chemical off-gassing from the home itself. Chemical off-gassing issues are referred to as VOC’s or Volatile Organic Compounds. Basically, any odour (natural or synthetic) is made up of VOC’s.
VOC’s can affect the indoor air quality of the home depending on the chemical and level of off-gassing. A VOC free environment does not exist. A home with good air quality will have a similar chemical make up and concentration compared to the outdoor environment with minor increases.
VOC’s can come from building materials as well as decorating materials even contents in the home. The usual sources are adhesives or glues used to manufacture the materials used to build your home. Paints, wallpaper and other decorating materials such as carpeting, underpad and laminate flooring will emit VOC’s to some degree. The cabinets used for kitchen and bathrooms are also a common source.
Laminate or pressboard based furniture, as well as other plastic components in the home such as gym equipment, rubber mats and toys from China, can lead to a VOC issue
An indoor air quality assessment can show you the source of the odours in the home and if these odours are an indicator of poor indoor air quality that could affect the health of your family. Call us today and we can help you have a healthier home.
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