Are You Allergic to Your New Home? How To Get Rid of New Construction Odors
Buying a new home can be a very exhilarating time, especially if it’s your first time becoming a homeowner. There will be many things to do and to get used to, once you move into your new house—projects to do, a new routine, new routes to work and school, and getting used to a new neighborhood. One thing many homeowners don’t count on, however, is becoming chronically ill once they move in. This condition, unfortunately, happens to many families that move into a new home. Thousands of new homeowners report symptoms like headaches, fatigue, sore throat, itchy eyes, and not feeling well in the weeks and months after they move in.
Any home can contain harmful substances or allergy triggers that can cause allergic reactions in its residents. Cleaning chemicals, hair products, candles, and pet dander are all things commonly found in homes that are known to cause reactions. Also, pollen, dust, and other outdoor pollutants can enter through the doors and windows, and can also cause symptoms. Whether symptoms arise from true allergies, an autoimmune response to an otherwise harmless substance, or chemical sensitivities, a similar response that causes our bodies to overreact to chemicals, they both cause people to feel miserable and sick when the exposure gets to them.
Hazards in the structure of a new home
So, where exactly do these toxins come from your home? From the floor to the ceiling, building and finishing materials, all can contain chemicals that can linger on their surfaces, or become airborne and affect the indoor air quality. Particularly in homes built more recently, materials like carpet, wood varnish, insulation, and paint will off-gas or emits chemicals into the air. At any time, these materials are used or installed, they’ll sell off-gas for a higher rate, particularly for the first few months.
Another huge factor of allergy symptoms associated with being in the home is mold. Many people go on for years with unexplainable symptoms that become worse when spending time in their home, and suddenly get better once they go away for a few days. Mold is tricky because it’s not always visible. Sufferers may attribute their illness to seasonal allergies or an autoimmune disorder. You can usually find mold in wet places in the home, such as in the bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room. Mold spores are a fungus that needs humidity and warmth to survive, and they usually find those optimal conditions in the dark, hard to see places. It can linger behind bathroom tile, wallpaper, or behind drywall. Once it appears as green, blue, or brown spots on the surface of walls or ceilings, it, unfortunately, may have already spread at alarming levels throughout the house.
Mold exposure can cause anywhere from mild sinus problems to coughing fits, asthma, and respiratory distress. Medical tests have linked it to Parkinson’s disease as well as a condition called farmer’s lung, in which permanent lung scarring occurs.
When you add the natural toxins present in a modern household to new construction, that can be doubly troubling for someone who already has chemical sensitives or allergies. Even for an otherwise healthy person, the sheer amount and combination of compounds present in a newly built home can cause them to become sick. Millions of dollars are now spent each year on medical treatment to try to abate these symptoms or attempt to diagnose what the problem is. Unfortunately, many sufferers don’t realize that their health issues are likely stemming from spending time in their home.
Chemical odors in a new home
When you buy a new home, you may be dealing both with the toxins from personal items you bring into the house and from anything left behind from a previous owner or construction workers. The following are some other harmful substances found in the home that can cause severe allergy symptoms.
Personal care products like hairspray, mousse, perfume, and other sprays or deodorants often contain harmful chemicals or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). While these don’t cause actual allergies (an inherited, high immune response), many people are quite sensitive to the chemicals in them and may experience headaches or respiratory problems immediately after use. When used day after day, the effects can multiply. Plastics, used in packaging anything from personal care products to children’s toys to food storage, also contain harmful chemicals called phthalates that can make us ill, if we end up ingesting them.
Cleaning products may sanitize our homes and give it a temporary (artificial) fragrance but can do more harm than good. Air fresheners, plug-ins, disinfecting wipes, laundry detergent, and dish soap are just some of the products that often contain odor-masking agents like xylene, which do nothing to get rid of foul smells and rather just cover them up temporarily. These chemicals usually work by actually desensitizing our sense of smell temporarily by numbing the inside of our noses. This scent can cause both acute symptoms and permanent damage if the products are regularly used. Many people report respiratory and sinus problems after having used air fresheners on a regular basis.
Other non-chemical allergens found in homes include pet dander, dust mites, and our by-products like particles of hair and skin. The bedroom of your new home is especially prone to causing allergies. That’s where things like dust mites and pet hair can accumulate, particularly on the mattress and linens. Dust mites live off organic substances like our hair and skin flakes. They eat it and then excrete it back onto our mattresses, and they multiply quickly. The buildup of excrement from dust mites can cause symptoms like sneezing and congestion, as it can irritate the lining of our nose and sinuses. You can somewhat prevent dust mites by regular washing of linens, but still may be present in high numbers in the bedroom, if you don’t practice proper air filtration.
What to do if your new home is making you sick
In most modern-day homes, some, if not all, of these hazards are going to be present. Whether you’re purchasing an older home or a brand new one, different types and levels of toxins can be lingering both on surfaces and in the air. Fortunately, there are several precautions you can take to lessen their effects and to start feeling better.
In any home, proper ventilation, housekeeping, and maintenance are essential. Ventilation allows the toxic indoor air diluted and lessens the concentration of allergy-causing substances. Housekeeping like frequent washing of linen, or cleaning up bathrooms and kitchens right after use can prevent dust mites and mold. Checking dark places for mold frequently is also a good idea, as it often can build up without anyone noticing. When you move in, it’s important to get to know your home and where potential toxins may be hiding, so you can be proactive in preventing and removing them.
EnviroKlenz offers a range of non-toxic and fragrance-free products that can provide a “whole-house” approach to making sure your home is free of any triggers that could be making you sick. The EnviroKlenz branded product line is a systematic approach for removing chemical odors and malodors from a home’s or business surfaces, laundry, and indoor air. This integrated approach ensures that you miss nothing and that homes are as toxin-free as possible.
Remove new construction odors
Perhaps the best way to get rid of indoor toxins associated with your new home is a proper air filtration and purification system. The EnviroKlenz mobile air system uses hospital-grade technology to guarantee the air in your home or office space stays as clean and pure as possible.
It’s got certified HEPA filtration, but that’s just the baseline. On top of that, we’ve added our own unique-to-us patented EnviroKlenz Air Cartridge that does, even more, to remove and neutralize VOCs, malodors, and fragrances.
It covers up to 850 square feet with a quiet, efficient multi-speed blower that you can adjust to meet your needs. (The low setting is so quiet it’s basically silent. And while you can hear the medium and high setting, it’s a pleasant hum of non-disruptive background noise… it doesn’t sound like a broken lawnmower the way some fans and filters do.)
Better yet, there are no tools required for maintenance, and the filter replacements are always available and easy to purchase from our website.
Mobile Air System
✓ Patented earth mineral technology works to attack VOCs and break them down on a compound level
✓ No chemicals or masking agents
✓ Will not release any chemicals back into your environment
✓ Safer and faster at removing VOC’s than traditional carbon filters and PECO air purifiers
EnviroKlenz® Medical Disclaimer:
“Any information that is provided on this website is not for the use by any commercial or personal entity without expressed written consent of the blog author. The material and statements illustrated within this blog are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases or medical conditions. Nor does the author in any way guarantee or validate the validity, totality, or efficacy of any claims and will therefore not be held responsible for the content of any claims. Always consult your medical physician for any specific medical advice or recommendations.”