If you're about to remodel your home, then you'll have lots of different things you need to consider. There's the budget, the time spent remodeling a room, whether you'll change out hardware, and so on. What you may not have considered is safety. If you're going to be painting walls, you'll be at risk of paint fumes. Here's why you need to be wary of them, and why an air purifier can help.
The Problem With Paint Fumes
When painting a room, you'll know that it has a certain smell that takes a while to go away. We have positive associations with it, as it feels very fresh and new. There is nothing nicer than a freshly painted room, but that fresh paint will be giving off paint fumes.
In these fumes are going to be a mix of different chemicals. These are in the paint to keep it liquid until you get around to putting it on the wall. Once you've painted with it, they're going to evaporate and make their way into the atmosphere.
These chemicals are known Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, and there are many that can find their way into your home. That includes Xylene, Benzene, Glycol ethers, and many more besides. The exact mix of VOCs in your paint will depend on the paint in question.
Health Risks Of Paint Fumes
So why is it a problem if your paint's chemicals start to evaporate? It's because many of them can start causing health issues for you and your family. These include:
- Breathing problems
- Vision problems
- lung irritation
If you're exposed to VOCs for long enough, they can cause damage to the nervous system, liver and kidneys, as well as even some cancers.
There's even certain dangers for different members of the family. For babies and toddlers, they can have an increased risk of developing conditions such as asthma when exposed to VOCs. Pregnant women can face damage to their unborn child's well being thanks to them, too. Don't forget your pets, as they can be even more susceptible to issues as they have a smaller lung capacity than humans in some cases.
As such, you of course want to reduce your exposure to them as you remodel your home.
How Air Purifiers Can Help
If you're going to paint your walls, you're going to need some tactics to help reduce the damage these chemicals will have on your health. One of the best things you can do is use an air purifier in your home. These are an effective tool against pollutants even when you're not painting.
An air purifier will draw in the air around it, filter it through the system, catching anything harmful in it, and then push out clean air on the other side. If you want to get the most from yours, you need an air purifier with a HEPA grade filter, as well as an activated carbon layer.
These filters work together to remove even the smallest pollutants from the atmosphere. The HEPA filter uses a fine wave mesh to grab things like dust, dirt and other particles that are harmful to your health. If you want to protect yourself from the VOCs in paint though, then you need that charcoal layer. The charcoal will capture those particles, as well as smoke and other fumes that you may be subject to in your home.
If you're going to buy an air purifier, then ensure that you go for a filter version. These are the versions that will effectively clean the air in your home. There are ozone air purifiers on the market too, but they can also harm your health so you need to be careful.
How To Reduce VOCs When Remodeling
Buying and using an air purifier is going to be one of the best ways to avoid VOCs when you're remodeling your home. There are lots of other ways you can reduce them too, so follow these tips as you paint the wall.
Pick a water based paint: As we now know more about VOCs in paint, there have been many low VOC paints that have been developed. When shopping around, look for paints that are water based. These will have less VOCs in them, so they will be safer to use.
Increase ventilation: While you're painting, you want your home to be as ventilated as possible. The more airflow you have, the more VOCs can be filtered out of your home naturally. Open up the windows and doors as you paint to ensure you get that airflow. You can also speed this process up by having a fan running in the room too.
You'll need to keep the ventilation up for a few days after you're done painting, too. This will allow for the paint to off gas fully.
Take breaks: You don't want to be exposed to VOCs constantly as you paint. As you're working, take frequent breaks and move somewhere else to breathe fresh air. If you can get outdoors, that's the idea place to take a break.
Give it time: Once you're done painting, you'll want to give the room at least 72 hours to fully evaporate and off gas those fumes. Try and stay out of the room until the whole process is done, keeping windows open as the paint is drying.
Cover your furnishings: If you have soft furnishings, such as sofas, in the room, you'll need to cover them up while you're painting. It's a good idea to use plastic sheeting, as this stops them from absorbing VOCs and releasing them later when you sit down.
VOCs are more of a health hazard than you'd think, so it's important to take care of yourself when you're remodeling. Use these tips to reduce the damage they do, so you can have a beautiful home without worrying about the drawbacks. Getting an air purifier will help enormously in this regard.