How to Get Rid of Formaldehyde in a New House?

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Written By Jamila W.

We all reach a point where we move into a new construction, home, or office. However, new constructions are a threat as they have Formaldehyde. How do you get rid of Formaldehyde in your new house? We shall look at some methods you can use to get rid of this harmful Organic Compound and live without stress in your new home. 

We shall also cover the following in this blog:

  • What is Formaldehyde
  • Where is Formaldehyde found
  • How Formaldehyde affects your health
  • How activated carbon gets rid of Formaldehyde
  • When to get your home tested for Formaldehyde.

Let us dive in.

What is Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a gas formed by the oxidizing of alcohol. The gas is colorless, smelly, and flammable. It may also occur naturally since most living organisms produce it in small quantities during metabolism. Being exposed to Formaldehyde is believed to cause cancer. Getting into contact with the gas can cause different health conditions.

The gas is commonly used in building materials and industries. Industries use the VOC to produce household items and wood products. The VOC is also used for glues, adhesives, and paper product coatings. 

Where is Formaldehyde Found

We must first understand where it is found to help get rid of Formaldehyde from your new house. Below is a list of places to find Formaldehyde in your new construction.

  • Building materials
  • Glues, paints, and finishes
  • Furniture
  • Carpets
  • Soft fabric finishes
  • Nail and Paper products
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Burning wood and gas stoves

If your home has any of these items, it doesn’t usually mean Formaldehyde is present. Some of the items are organic and don’t produce gas.

When Should I Test for Formaldehyde in My House?

There is no good reason to have your home tested. However, if you experience some of these signs, consider having your home tested. 

  •  Chemical odors are still very strong. 
  • You only experience symptoms like breathing issues and irritation at home. 

If you want to test your house, work with a qualified expert with the knowledge and tools to measure the formaldehyde levels there. Be aware that these tests can be pricey and don’t reveal which products in your home are releasing the most formaldehyde. 

You can perform some tests on your own, but the outcomes from these at-home testing kits may vary depending on where you collect the air samples and how long you conduct the test. Test results at home and by trained professionals will be different. 

After the results are received, you can discuss the next steps with the expert. Remember that no restrictions exist on the formaldehyde permitted in your house. 

Formaldehyde Testing

Chronotropic acid (4, 5-dihydroxy-2, 7-naphthalene sulfonic acid) and pararosaniline are the most frequently used reagents in spectrophotometric methods, which are used for measuring the concentration levels of formaldehyde in houses. This method has a few flaws, including interference from substances present in the room. They include Nitrogen dioxide and phenol can also be found in indoor air. 
Textiles, fibers, chemicals, coatings, plastics, food, manufactured goods, hydrocarbons, and more products are tested for formaldehyde. It is possible to find trace amounts of formaldehyde.

How Formaldehyde Affects Your Health

Low levels of Formaldehyde usually have little to no effects on your health. As the levels go higher, you might experience breathing problems and irritation. Most people experience this in their eyes, skin, nose, or throat. 

Anyone can experience health effects as a result of Formaldehyde. However, when exposed to this VOC, children, older adults, and people with breathing conditions like asthma get affected the most.

If you’re exposed to this gas for a long time, the effects will be more serious. There have been cases of nose and throat cancer. These cases relate to people working in industries. These industries produce a lot of pollutants. The risks of getting cancer from new constructions are generally lower.

If anyone in your home experiences any of these symptoms use the methods we will cover and try to reduce the Formaldehyde levels. You should also see a doctor if you have any symptoms.

How To Get Rid of Formaldehyde in New House

It is possible to reduce Formaldehyde levels in your new house. Let us look at some of the methods you can use.

Opening Your Windows

opening a window

Opening your windows more often will ensure clean and fresh air in your home. When building your home, include big windows for increased airflow. When the windows are open, the fresh air reduces pollutant levels in the room. 

You can leave the windows open if you are around the house during the day. We recommend letting air flow in the house at least two times a day when the weather is good. Allowing air to flow through your house also reduces the chances of bad smells.

Use an Activated Carbon Filter Air Purifier

Air purifiers are perfect for cleaning indoor air. Air purifiers are capable of removing various substances from the air. They include dust, bad smell, and other pollutants. Having an air purifier will reduce the pollutant levels in your house.

When buying an air purifier, ensure you use an activated carbon filter. The carbon filter is capable of trapping Formaldehyde from the air. It will work much better if the air purifier features a HEPA filter. 

Use Natural Cleaning Products

When cleaning your home, always use natural cleaning products. Industrial cleaners may have pollutants. These pollutants will be transferred to your home. You can also use homemade solutions like baking soda.

Avoid Buying Products With Formaldehyde

When buying products, avoid ones with Formaldehyde. Always check on product labels to be sure. Even if the label says the product is natural, it doesn’t mean it is safe. Always look for a “Formaldehyde-free” label if possible.

Regularly Clean Fireplaces and Wood Stoves

Formaldehyde commonly comes from fireplaces and wood stoves. Ensure you always clean the surfaces to control this pollutant. Cleaning will also be good for your health since it will get rid of carbon monoxide in your home.

Install A Hood Extractor Fan

Since Formaldehyde builds up when you cook, installing a hood extractor fan is a good idea. The fan directs cooking fumes outside. As a result, your kitchen will be free of VOC.

Increase Home Temperatures When Leaving the House

Although this method will only reduce Formaldehyde levels, it is worth a mention. You need to set the heat high and turn on your humidifier. After doing so, leave the house for a while and let the magic happen. The high temperatures and humidity will help off-gas the VOC concentration.

Avoid Smoking In the House

Smoking is dangerous to the human body. Amongst the harmful substances that are present in cigarettes is Formaldehyde. If you are a smoker, consider quitting. If that is not possible, be sure to avoid smoking in the house. You can choose to smoke from your balcony or porch since it is well-aerated. This practice will ensure your house is free of VOC.

How does Activated Carbon Remove Formaldehyde?

Activated carbon is among the best methods to use to get rid of Formaldehyde in your new house. Granular-activated carbon ensures your home is free of any chemicals and odors. The filter is made of natural substances. They include charcoal and coconut shells. These substances are then treated with oxygen to increase porosity. 

The carbon filter can now adsorb chemicals and odors from the air. Adsorption is a chemical reaction between VOC and the carbon surface. We can now see how effective an air purifier with activated carbon can be. Investing in one with a HEPA filter will suit you best.

When To Get Your Home Tested For Formaldehyde

Ensure you get your new home tested for Formaldehyde if either of the following happens:

  • You smell strong chemicals.
  • Do you experience any of the symptoms we mentioned when inside the house?

When testing your home, always ensure you use qualified professionals. The professionals must have the necessary training and equipment to detect the VOC levels in your home. These tests tend to be costly, and they cannot highlight the cause of Formaldehyde.

You also have the option of conducting home tests. All you will need is a home-testing kit. Note that the kit delivers different results depending on the air samples taken. As a result, home testing is less accurate. 

After testing, you need to consult with a professional on what the next steps will be. There are no current standards for acceptable Formaldehyde levels in your home.

Wrapping Up

We have covered everything on how to get rid of Formaldehyde in a new house. If you have recently constructed or bought a house, consider following our guidelines. Formaldehyde is a dangerous gas that you should always regulate or omit if possible. Exposure to the VOC may have fatal consequences.

If you experience any of the effects we have listed, seek medical assistance.