New House Dizziness
September 11, 2012 5:19 AM   Subscribe

I've recently moved into a new freshly renovated house. It has been over a week and I have been feeling spaced out, fuzzy with a slight inability to focus. Does anyone know what might be the cause of this?

At first I thought it was the smell of paint, however the smell has now started to subside with no effect. Additionally, I have spent a few days away from the new place and the symptoms have definitely passed during my time away. I am thinking now perhaps it might be psycho-somatic or brought on by being disorientated by my new surroundings. Any suggestions or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
posted by ashaw to Health & Fitness (13 answers total)
That's textbook for someone experiencing chemical sensitivity. Something in your newly-renovated house is making you sick. All sorts of things that we don't think of as poison--paint, the chemicals in a new couch--are actually toxic. The problem is figuring out what, exactly, out of all the possible sources, is actually making you ill. Stop living there (at least for now) and go to the doctor.
posted by tooloudinhere at 5:24 AM on September 11, 2012

I've found the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in new paint (unless zero or maybe low VOC paint) and new carpets can cause light-headedness.
posted by Dansaman at 5:29 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

generally the space where you spend the longest amount of time doing the shallowest amount of bedroom: has it been ripped up, floors re-sanded, chemicals? Also is the airflow in that room much less than what you were used to. it could simply be a very stuffy room.

but failing that are there any potential sources of carbon monoxide? Even in a neighbouring unit?
posted by Wilder at 5:29 AM on September 11, 2012

Wilder: Thanks. Yes, the bedroom has been newly re-carpeted and the walls repainted. There is a boiler about 5 meters away in a bathroom; I have purchased a carbon monoxide detector just to be to be cautious. Also, the kitchen floor which is not far away has been stripped and re-tiled.

Tooloudinhere: That sounds like a good plan, I am leaving for another week or so, but I have been told that the fumes from paints can last for as long as a month!
posted by ashaw at 5:49 AM on September 11, 2012

And carpet offgasses for at least that long. Make sure you are getting adequate ventilation!
posted by Specklet at 5:54 AM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

When they recarpeted my office, I was sick for a month.
posted by belladonna at 5:56 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sounds like a bunch of stuff off-gassing. Open windows and let the house air out if you can, that will help A LOT!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:57 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

In addition to what everybody else has said, you might want to put in a HEPA filter air purifier in a room or two that will collect many airborne particles.
posted by knile at 6:25 AM on September 11, 2012

Maybe the renovation used nasty MDF. It constantly seeps formaldehyde, which is not something you want to be breathing in any more than you can help it. Fake wooden floors, and bamboo floors, also tend to produce formaldehyde.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 6:31 AM on September 11, 2012

You did the right thing checking your boiler checked for Carbon Monoxide.

But, at this risk of suggesting the obvious: moving house is exhausting and unsettling for a lot of people. Maybe it was for you, and you're feeling better now because you're less tired and less unsettled, not because you're spending time away from your home. Be sure to rule that out before you start worrying about neurotoxins in your carpet.
posted by caek at 6:58 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Open the windows while you're away and it should resolve. You probably just need to air the house.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:11 AM on September 11, 2012

Carpet was my first thought.
posted by slidell at 8:17 AM on September 11, 2012

Open the windows, put in a couple fans. Maybe get a HEPA filter if you feel it would help. Can you continue to leave the windows open when you're gone?

Since you won't be there, perhaps you could turn up the heat to get some of the smells and off-gassing done with faster. Come home, turn down the heat, turn on the fans and open the window and clear out for a couple hours.

Beyond that, it's a new place, and moving is strenuous and stressful. It can be right up there with a new job, a new baby, or a death. You might not be sleeping well in a new place, or eating well, either, since your routine is disrupted. Going away so often and then having to come back to somewhere unfamiliar really isn't relaxing either. Take some time to be good to yourself.
posted by BlueHorse at 4:43 PM on September 11, 2012

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