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“What’s That (New Home) Smell?”

Category: News and Updates • July 21, 2020

Upon the completion of a newly constructed home, congratulations are always in order. With time, funding, and a monumental effort in planning for the long-term, a new home is more than a new place to lay your head at night — it’s the manifestation of your very hopes and dreams for your family’s future.

But, much like a new car, you might find yourself marveling at the tangible scent of your new dream home. Even with the plug-in fans blowing or the air conditioning officially turned on, something is just … curiously tickling your nose.

And so we’re sure you’re left asking: “What is that new home smell?”

The Answer: Volatile Organic Compounds

“Building a new home provides the opportunity for preventing indoor air problems,” the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explains in their indoor air quality guide. “It can result in exposure to higher levels of indoor air contaminants if careful attention is not given to potential pollution sources and the air exchange rate.”

In other words, home construction presents ample opportunity for pollutants, chemicals, and other particulate matter to become airborne in a given environment. And in most cases, the culprit for the lingering scent of chemicals and plastic in your new home is precisely that: volatile organic compounds (VOCs) resulting from chemical degradation.

Often, it’s the very products that were used to build and clean your new home that are liable to emit VOCs and negatively impact your indoor air quality. From paint to caulk to adhesives and vinyl flooring, once these products are used — or worse, left inside without proper storage — they begin to break down and become airborne, thus leaving a residual scent and potentially causing physical symptoms to arise in the building’s inhabitants.

The Action: What You Can Do

“Occupants with VOC exposure often report disagreeable odors, exacerbation of asthma, irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches and drowsiness,” according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). “Health symptoms associated with VOC exposure can be minimized by choosing low VOC emitting products.”

Thus, prevention is often the best treatment. That is to say, before and during construction, your team should work to (as mentioned prior), choose low-emitting VOC products, as well as increase the ventilation in a given space while work is underway.

Specifically, The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ 

(ASHRAE) recommended ventilation rate for new homes sits at approximately 0.35 ach (air changes per hour).

The Next Step: Who You Should Call

Regardless as to whether your home is still in progress or already long completed, you still have the opportunity to tackle VOCs and optimize the indoor air quality of your house.

After all, “hearth and home” should mean “happy and healthy,” and nobody understands that better than Luce Air Quality. With over 11 years worth of experience in the restoration and remediation industry, our team is equipped to perform comprehensive VOC investigations, as well as provide you with solutions you can trust!

Don’t wait — contact us today at (904) 803-1014 or info@luceairquality.com to book your investigation and find peace of mind!