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VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are a large group of chemicals, which consist of carbon that efficiently disperses in the air at room temperature.
There are various types of VOCs, some of which produce delightful plant-based aromas such as pine and citrus and are harmless, and others which when exposed to the body can cause severe harm. To avoid illnesses, you need to get one of these VOC Air Purifiers in this article.
Our Top 2 VOC Air Purifer Picks
Airpura R600 HEPA Air Purifier
The Airpura R600 HEPA Air Purifier is one of the top all-purpose VOC air purifiers for your home. It covers a large area and has a 2 year average lifespan on filters. This is our top value pick.
Austin Air Machine Air Purifier
The Austin Air Machine Air Purifier is made in the U.S.A and has a coverage area of about 1,600 square feet.
What are the Health Effects of Volatile Organic Compounds?
Off-gassing of VOCs is available from random items in your house such as personal care products, furniture, or even mattresses. Some of these chemicals are released during home remodeling, painting, and cleaning. If you don’t take action to control VOCs, they can be harmful to your body.
According to studies, prolonged inhalation of high levels of VOCs exposes your bloodstream, lungs, and body tissues to health problems such as liver damage, nausea, and headaches. In severe cases, people may experience nose, eye, skin irritation, and throat infection. Patients who suffer from chemical sensitivity and asthma may experience severe symptoms as well. Older people and kids are at high risk of experiencing symptoms as a result of exposure to toxic VOCs.
Inhaling low amounts of VOCs such as those available at home over prolonged periods can worsen your health complications. Toxic VOCs are present in various things used around the home on a daily basis including coatings, building materials, and cleaning agents products. The most common harmful volatile organic compound around the home is found in toluene, formaldehyde, and benzene.
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Transmission of Volatile Organic Compounds in the Air
VOCs are transmitted in the air through off-gassing, a process where products transmit gases and matter that had been trapped inside them in solid or liquid form. Off-gassed components may react with various common elements referred to as carcinogens.
How do you remove VOCs from your home?
As seen above, different activities within your home can be the source of high generation of VOCs. You can remove volatile organic chemicals from your surrounding with the following guidelines.
Establish and Eliminate the Source of the Volatile Organic Compounds
Find out what could be causing the production of VOCs and try to eradicate the source from your surroundings. You can opt to stay away from such surroundings until the toxic chemicals fade away. If leaving is not an option, consider clearing the surroundings of items that could be triggering the VOC production such as furniture, carpets, and adhesives.
Ventilate Your Home
Establishing the source of volatile organic compounds in your home can sometimes be an arduous task. If this is the case, focus on enhancing ventilation in your home to guarantee free circulation of fresh air. You could do this by installing a vent or keeping doors and windows open to minimize the accumulation of VOCs in the home or keep them at normal levels. Also, check out my popular post on a house air purifer here.
Incorporate an Air Purifier
Some people are quite sensitive to volatile organic compounds. If this is the case, you may want to enhance ventilation in your home. Considering that many products in your home can produce VOCs for a prolonged period, you need to take extra caution to reduce off-gassing of the toxic chemicals. An air purifier comes in handy in such a situation. This gadget is specially designed to eliminate harmful components and odors from the air and keep your home fresh and free from contaminants.
Do air purifiers remove VOCs?
There are numerous air purifier products in the market today with varying prices. Exercise caution when choosing an air purifier especially if it’s evidently cheap. Some of the best air purifiers today must according to experts are HEPA filters. They are powerful enough and designed to capture even the smallest components. However, these filters may not the capability to capture VOCs.
To rid your home of these harmful toxic chemicals, you require a more advanced techno-savvy product. Air purifiers that come with granulated or activated carbon may not achieve the best results in eradicating VOCs and some of them can even worsen the problem. Before choosing an air purifier, conduct your research and establish the air purification technologies that are less capable of effectively dealing with VOCs. With this in mind, you’ll be able to make your choices wisely.
Will an air purifier remove formaldehyde?
Formaldehyde is a flammable strong smelling and colorless gas that belongs to the aldehydes organic compounds group. These are produced by alcohol oxidation. Experts have linked formaldehyde to cancer, especially after prolonged exposure. Many people may experience severe immediate effects once exposed to formaldehyde with the EPA saying that overexposure to formaldehyde may cause severe health effects. Symptoms of formaldehyde exposure include burning sensations in the throat and eyes, watery eyes, breathing difficulties, and nausea. Formaldehyde can also trigger attacks in asthmatic patients while some people may experience formaldehyde sensitivity as a result of overexposure to high levels of volatile organic compounds.
Formaldehyde is among the most used chemicals in the US and many parts of the world. Further, it can hide in various household products. Experts opine that as much as you may be cautious before purchasing products, avoiding formaldehyde is an arduous task. However, you can take action to reduce the health risks caused by prolonged exposure to formaldehyde. For instance, consider using solid wood furniture as opposed to fabrics.
The best way to eliminate formaldehyde from your surroundings is by using an air purifier which contains an advanced carbon filter. Not all air purifiers are designed to eliminate formaldehyde. Activated carbon can help you eradicate formaldehyde from your home. It’s made of natural components such as coconut shell and charcoal and is treated with oxygen to ensure it’s highly porous and facilitate its adsorption of odors, chemicals, and gases from liquids and gases.
Adsorption is a chemical reaction between the exterior of the activated carbon and VOCs such as formaldehyde which keeps the formaldehyde trapped in the carbon. Air purifiers that have activated carbon filters will help you eradicate formaldehyde and numerous other toxic chemicals from the air.
Can You Remove VOCs using Ozone or Electrostatic Technology?
An electrostatic air purifier can remove liquid droplets and solid particles through an electrically charged panel or screen. Still, they may not be able to eradicate gaseous molecules such as VOCs. Ozone generators release toxic ozone in the air as an air purification strategy. Ozone is oxygen that contains an additional oxygen attached atom.
When ozone interacts with various components such as smoke and mold, the extra oxygen atom will attach itself at the molecular level and change them to form toxic molecules. Ozone is capable of damaging cell walls and eradicating biological cells effectively. However, studies indicate that ozone is not effective when it comes to eradicating VOCs from the air.
In fact, ozone can even pick trapped VOCs from items and forcefully release it in the air exposing you to harmful toxins. Further, inhaling ozone can harm your body. This explains why you should avoid using ozone generators to purify the air in your home. There are various robust and safer alternatives in the market today.
What is worse is that ozone is harmful to the human body if inhaled. As a result of these side effects, you should not use ozone generators as an air purifier in your home. There are much more effective and much safer options available to you.
Will HEPA Filters Eradicate VOCs?
HEPA filters are the most common air purifiers in the market today. They can trap harmful components when air passes through the filter. They are designed to eradicate 0.3-micrometer pollutants with an estimated efficiency of 99.97%. However, some pollutants such as VOCs may be smaller and therefore hard to trace using HEPA filters. VOCs don’t stick on HEPA filters which means the gadgets may not be appropriate for you if you are specifically searching for a VOC air purifier.
Will Photochemical Oxidation Filters Eradicate VOCs?
Photochemical oxidation filters utilize UV-C light to purify the air and eradicate pollutants. PCO filters can eradicate various types of toxic VOCs but the need to expose the pollutants to extreme UV-C light to slowly eradicate them over time. This means that PCOs are not adequately effective for VCO eradication. What’s more, UV-c light generates ozone, an air pollutant as seen herewith.
Air Purification Technologies Designed to Eradicate VOCs
There are two options of air purification technologies that are designed to remove VOCs.
Carbon filters are designed to eliminate gaseous components from the air and can effectively eradicate volatile organic compounds albeit on a short term basis. Still, some of these gases may be released back into the environment due to technology-related science. Carbon air filters will eradicate pollutants from the air through adsorption and not absorption.
The main difference between adsorption and absorption is that pollutants stick to the exterior part of the small carbon particles along the adsorption bed in adsorption. In absorption, however, contaminants are trapped inside the structure as is the case with a sponge. In adsorption, carbon air filters filter airborne chemicals from the air.
The filters usually utilize activated carbon or charcoal along the adsorption bed which comprises of small holes which generate a large surface area of contaminants to stick on. Activated carbon filters, however, present two major challenges as seen below.
The activated carbon surface area is bound to fill up over time and get saturated. The filter’s efficiency will therefore decline and it’ll be incapable of trapping contaminants. When that happens, the filter will no longer filter VOCs in the air and chances are it’ll start releasing the VOCs within its a system back into your home. Regular carbon filter changes are therefore necessary to prevent off-gassing.
The second challenge that carbon filters have is that; they can only absorb and store contaminants depending on the ambient temperature and humidity within the room. Since water molecules will be competing for space along the adsorption bed, they are highly likely to eradicate the VOCs already trapped inside there. High heat could also result in VOCs reverting back to the air. In this case, turning on your heating system or opening doors and windows could trigger carbon to release VOCs it had already removed from the air.
Will Photo Electrochemical Oxidation Eliminate VOCs?
PECO(Photo Electrochemical Oxidation) is a new and advanced air purifying technology that can eradicate volatile organic compounds from the air fully. The PECO technology is designed to destroy VOCs passing through the filter completely unlike carbon filters which store them within their system. Using the PECO technology uses filter saturation which ensures that gases are not released back in the air following humidity or temperature fluctuation in the house.
The Photo Electrochemical Oxidation process takes place when light reflects on a filter coated with a catalyst, hence begins a catalytic reaction that eventually eradicates the VOCs completely at the molecular level. The PECO process was tested and verified for effectiveness in the particle calibration laboratory at the University of Minnesota.
According to the findings, the PECO technology could cut down VOCs in the air significantly. Further, there was no ozone generation during the process. Instead, the PECO technology cut down ozone levels during the testing process.
Which is the Ultimate Air Purifier to Destroy VOCs Completely?
According to our findings above, it’s evident that there are two reliable options you can adapt to remove volatile organic compounds from the air. That is PECO technology and carbon air filtration. Before making your final choice, you need to establish the requirements of your home or office. Your findings should help you determine the best product that meets your needs appropriately.
Assuming you need a huge amount of VOCs removed fast, you can adopt the carbon air filter and ensure it has a massive carbon weight. Carbon filters are capable of capturing a high percentage of VOCs faster with a high filter airflow rate. This is why carbon air filters are ideal as a short term solution.
If you are considering a sustainable solution, you may consider the PECO technology which comes with a molecular air purifier. The PECO technology does not only eliminate VOCs, but it is effective when it comes to eliminating bacteria, mold, pet dander and odor, and dust.
Some of the Best VOC Air Purifiers
Austin Air Healthmate Plus
The Austin Air Healthmate Plus covers a 1500sq.ft. area. You can use it in your office or home to eradicate strong odors from household cleaning detergents and materials that are likely to emit toxic chemicals. This gadget provides a powerful gas filtration system which removes a vast range of toxic chemicals. It’s not only easy to use, but it’s also economical.
Airpura R600 All Purpose
Use the Airpura R600 All Purpose in your office or home to eliminate airborne odors, gases, and pollutants. It’s ideal for superior quality air purification process and guarantees that the air quality in your home is safe. You can use it in a 2000 sq ft area and it measures 22 inches high and 15 inches wide.
By eliminating VOCs from your home, you help prevent health-related complications for you and your loved ones. The above information should help you choose the ideal air purifier.