Maintaining Air Quality (IAQ)
Updated: Jun 9, 2020
New to INGEAR, a blog series on how to impact the workplace.
Learn more about Improving Air Quality with specific measures such as Filtration, System Filters, Routine System Cleanings, Water Treatment, and UV-C/PHI. And in case you missed the webinar on Maximizing Indoor Air Quality with Air Force One, be sure to download it. The next webinar is May 19th., Prioritizing Indoor Air Quality post COVID-19.
Maintaining Air Quality (IAQ)
Indoor air quality affects a person’s health, comfort, and ability to work.
Indoor air hides behind the cool and comforting air blown by the AC and the calming smell of air fresheners, which are often made of artificial ingredients. And because people do not see it, it is easy to dismiss the fact that it exists.
Without sufficient ventilation, tiny pollutants from the smoke that lingers on someone’s clothing, dust and mites in and around us can easily circulate around an office, triggering allergy symptoms in some people. Mold and mildew thrive in humid environments and when temperatures fluctuate, condensation can form around windows causing moisture, and damage. In addition, we are surrounded by chemical pollutants that exist in many building materials, office equipment; furniture, wall and floor coverings, upholstery, and virtually every commercially manufactured item in the workplace emit chemical pollutants.
How do you know if you have a problem? It is critically important to have a proper inspection of the ventilation system to see if enough outdoor air is taken in and properly distributed throughout the area and if the filtration systems are working. Air testing may be necessary if there is a presence of air pollutants.
There are a wide range of air-cleaning devices on the market, such as air scrubbers, dehumidifiers, and air purifiers. However, the Greater Cleveland Partnership Energy Services Team puts the trust and expertise in certified HVAC specialists to design and install the most effective system for your building.
It’s likely no surprise that you should be changing HVAC filters regularly and having a preventative maintenance plan in place. A clogged filter can interrupt airflow and speed up the build of pollutants in enclosed spaces.
Indoor air quality should be one of the most important concerns in your workplace as it directly affects the overall health and wellbeing of your staff and employees. Poor IAQ can increase the risk of many health problems, from respiratory illnesses to infections. It can even compromise your mental health.
Mechanical ventilation systems in commercial buildings are designed and operated not only to heat and cool the air, but also to draw in and circulate outdoor air. If they are poorly designed, operated, or maintained, however, ventilation systems can contribute to indoor air problems in several ways.
For example, a building manager is seeking to manage the buildings’ energy and increase efficiency and turns off/down the ventilation system. By doing that, problems arise because that ventilation system is now not bringing in adequate amounts of outdoor air.
Another example is when buildings originally designed for one purpose (industrial) may end up being converted to use as office space or into apartments and condos and the mechanical systems have not been changed for that new makeup. Are those original mechanical systems sufficiently designed and operating properly or should they be overhauled?
If not properly modified during building renovations, the room partitions and ventilation system can contribute to indoor air quality problems by restricting air circulation or by providing an inadequate supply of outdoor air.
This simple checklist should always be followed for proper maintenance and efficiency:
Ensure Sufficient Ventilation
Keep HVAC Systems Clean and Well-Maintained
Maintain Optimal Indoor Humidity Levels
Inspect and clean your air ducts
Install an Air Cleaner or an Air Purifier
Keep your air vents open and unblocked
Replace air filters frequently
Clean spills immediately
Add some office plants
Use fresh air whenever possible
Keep your office clean