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Awair monitor shows High VOCs in rental house. Concern?

aunsafe2015 | Posted in General Questions on

Recently moved into a rental house in the Seattle suburbs.  3 stories total (has a basement).  Not smelling any smells, but my Awair is showing pretty high VOCs up in the 2500 range for most of the day when the windows are closed.  VOCs drop to much more normal numbers when I open some windows every morning.  Relative Humidity in the house is pretty high… 60-65%.  Indoor temps from 69-74 or so.

Two different Awair monitors show the same thing about the VOCs.

Should I be concerned?  Any easy way to pinpoint the source?

House is about 15 years old and has not had any recent construction projects on it as far as I know.  It’s possible that some rooms were painted about 6 weeks ago.  Could that be the cause even 6 weeks later?

Thanks for any input.

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  1. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #1

    I would suspect paint. Repainting rental properties is a common way to get them ready for a new tenant. Chances are they used a relatively cheap paint too, which is also commonly done. I don't really think you have anything to worry about, but airing out your home for a few days would probably help.


  2. benwolk | | #2

    I agree with Bill. It's most likely cheap paint emitting the VOCs. The only way to really pinpoint the source would be to use a more expensive VOC detector that can detect the specific compounds being emitted. You have two Awair monitors so you could try moving those around in the house and see which rooms or floors have the higher VOC numbers (you'll have to account for VOCs from cooking and other human related sources).

    My suggestion is to open your windows when you get home and use a window or box fan to ventilate it for a while until the VOCs drop down, even though they will rise up again. At least in Seattle, you have the ability to generally leave your windows cracked for some fresh air.

    You could always get some activated charcoal air filters and tape that to a box fan to make a DIY VOC filter. The paint will keep offgassing for a while, but running a fan with a charcoal filter should help cut down on the VOCs while you are in the house.

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