New construction out-gassing

QuimbiSeptember 8, 2011

Can anyone help with advice on new construction out-gassing for our home? This home was built a few months ago, and we can still smell fumes from the new cabinets, floors, walls, etc. The home makes us dizzy sometimes. Are there things we can do to improve the situation and/or reduce the out-gassing? We have tried opening windows frequently in the 2 months we have been in the house.

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The level of irritating gasses is the highest when the house is new and has new furnishings. Studies indicate that the level usually drops to half in about 6 months. In the meantime, additional ventilation provides relief for the inhabitants but it doesn't necessarily speed up the out-gassing.

Unfortunately, porous materials like carpet, draperies, furniture, wood, and gypsum wallboard absorb the gasses and then slowly release them to the space extending the out-gassing for years. About the only elements that could be easily changed now would be furnishings and carpeting.

In today's tighter houses a mechanical ventilation system is a good idea. ASHRAE says that a home should be ventilated at a rate of 0.35 air changes per hour or 15 cubic feet per person per minute, whichever is greater.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 8:23AM
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Ventilation and turn on the heat.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 10:15AM
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Thanks for the replies. We are looking into a venilation system.

What about applying special paints or sealants on the walls, ceilings, floors to seal in the out-gassing? Can anyone comment on this or recommend some products?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 4:12PM
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All you can do with a surface coating is slow down the process.

No coating is going to contain compounds that volatile.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 2:18PM
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Keep in mind that Low Odor is not the same as Low VOC.
A product can have a very low Volatile Organic (voc) emission and still have an odor.

We used Aura paint a few weeks ago and its odor stayed for a few weeks and somehow it was bothersome to me, but it is a very low VOC paint - by the way, love that paint.

You can try to find out what is the VOC of the main materials used in your house and go from there (wood, vinyl composition tile, varnish, paint, carpet, furniture to mention a few).
If you are very concerned with the problem, you can always consult an "indoor air quality investigatorâ There is great info in the attached link.
Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: VOCs in your home

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 3:43PM
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Aura is amazing!

Sorry but painting your troubles away is not an option. There are too many things offgasing and you cant paint them all.
Brickeyee is right. Heat and Air. I would keep the windows open and have a fan blowing in from the window of where ever I was spending the most time.
Should have bought a home with an ERV!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 7:46PM
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"There are too many things offgasing and you cant paint them all. "

Even if you paint the, all you are doing is slowing the process.

You might slow it enough it is not as irritating, but no guarantee.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 9:13PM
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