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Home Air Quality- VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds)

Can breathing be killing you?

 As we go about our day we encounter many things that can harm us. Most of us do not think about the air we breath as being an issue. Air quality is becoming a greater concern as we discover how it can affect our health. There are many things that can affect the air quality around us. There are naturally occurring contaminates as well as lifestyle choices that can contribute to poor air quality.

 Issues that can arise from poor air quality can present themselves in many different ways. If you have noticed symptoms such as frequent headaches, dizziness, confusion, fatigue, wheezing, irritation of eyes, nose and throat, you may be dealing with poor air quality. If your symptoms improve once you leave your home or work place, this can be a strong indication that you are reacting to indoor air quality issues. Instances of asthma have been steadily increasing even though our outdoor air pollution has been on the decline. While outdoor pollution is declining the amount of time we spend indoors is on the rise. We are building houses that are more energy efficient and tighter. Tighter homes do not breath, which limits the exchange of air. This tends to trap contaminates in the home and work place causing elevated levels of chemicals that can affect the quality of the air we breath.

 There are many contaminates that can affect us. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) can come from many sources. The most common are cleaning supplies, paints, paint thinners, building material, health and beauty materials and active mold growth. These items can off gas chemicals into the air that we breath. These chemicals can lead to irritation, health concerns and in some cases cancer. Recently “60 Minutes” did a featured presentation on excessive levels of formaldehyde in Chinese sourced laminate flooring. In some cases the levels were 20 times greater than what is acceptable. These levels are set by the EPA to help prevent exposure the harmful conditions. It is estimated that more then a 100,00 homes could be affected.

 There are many states that are requiring the testing of air quality during the real estate transaction. There are tests that can be done during the home inspection process to determine the general condition of the air quality in a home and list the probable sources of issues. Stonehollow Fine Home Inspections is one of the few home inspections firms in CT performs these air quality testing. This testing can help to determine if there is active mold growth in the home. It will also indicate what type of VOC may be elevated. It is important to understand the quality of the air in our homes so that we can take steps to reduce our exposure to contaminate that can result in health concerns.

Winter Seasonal Tips:

As the temps drop you will want to make sure all the items that are usually sitting outside are picked up and stored where they will be out of the weather. Reel up the hoses (carefully “walk” them to drain all water out before you wind them up) and store them where they cannot freeze.Continue Reading

Is a Smart Thermostat a smart decision?

Being green has never been easier. We live in a world where technology is all around us. Our homes have always been a frontier of the next new gadget. For many years smart technology, such as automation and smart controls for heating/cooling may have been too expensive for the average homeowner. Now that has allContinue Reading

Beautiful Icicles could mean damaging Ice Dams!

Winter in New England is harsh and beautiful. It is inspiring to be surrounded by pristine snow covered fields and hills. Many of us enjoy the snow topped roofs and the spectacular crystalline icicles that adorn our homes. As a home inspector I have the privilege to witness these sights in our many historic homesContinue Reading

Adopt-a-Hydrant Program

Adopt-a-Hydrant Program

In an article on their web site The Stamford Fire and Rescue Department is asking citizens to “adopt-a-hydrant. This program is not unlike adopt a spot on the roadways to keep areas litter free and adopt an island where a group beautifies a rotary or a small park. The Stamford Fire & Rescue wants individualsContinue Reading

Have you checked the antifreeze in your…house?

Antifreeze in heating systems can help to reduce the potential of frozen or cracked pipes and the loss of heat when you need it the most. Have you checked your heating system? Posted by Jason Horn Cracked pipe in heating coil Have you checked the antifreeze in your…house? That is right, if you live in FairfieldContinue Reading

Keep the home fires burning…safely – Fire Safety Tips from Stonehollow

Some things to consider before you strike the match to light the fire – Fire Safety. As a home inspector in Fairfield County, I often talk to people about their chimney and fireplace as part of my inspection (fire safety).  It is something that many of us give little thought to during the year. BeforeContinue Reading

5 energy saving tips for a greener home.

Some energy saving tips to help make your home a little bit greener.   Here are some tips that you can use to be more green and save some money. Computers– Computers are becoming more and more prevalent in our homes. Many homes have more than one computer. Computers are always drawing power while theyContinue Reading

Don’t Ignore House Insects In the Winter – Wood Destroying Insects

Don’t Ignore House Insects In the Winter – Wood Destroying Insects

Wood destroying Insects can attack your home even in cold weather. Have annual Pest/ Insect Inspections done regularly as your home ages. Most people live under the assumption that termites and carpenter ants (wood destroying insects) only come in Spring with warming weather. While it’s certainly true most termites and carpenter ants will go dormantContinue Reading

Composite decking 2.0

Is capped composite decking for you? This is a follow up to an article that I wrote a year ago. I have received several correspondents regarding my article, “Some issues with composite decking “, July 2012, that illustrated some of the problems that plagued early composite decks. Since the early introduction of composite material thereContinue Reading

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