Commercial Restoration Our Relationships We are the only Certified Woman Owned, ISO 9001 Quality Certified, full…
We typically think of air pollution as something that occurs outside. However, the air inside commercial buildings and other industrial facilities can sometimes be more polluted than the air outside.
Indoor air quality is critical to all occupants’ health, well-being, and comfort. That’s why building owners must regularly assess air quality and, if necessary, take steps to remedy any issues.
In this article, we’ll look at what causes poor indoor air quality, the most common types of air pollutants, and provide you with several tips you can implement to improve indoor air quality in your commercial building.
What is Indoor Air Quality?
Per the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air quality refers to the “air quality within and around buildings and structures, particularly as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants.”
From bacteria, viruses, and fungi to smoke, emissions, and dust, a wide range of particulate, chemical, and biological pollutants can make indoor air unsafe and the workplace uncomfortable. These pollutants not only create poor indoor air quality but can also lead to serious short- and long-term health consequences, including:
- Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat
- Chronic fatigue and headaches
- Asthma attacks and allergic reactions
- Respiratory issues
- Heart problems
The health consequences related to indoor air quality are estimated to cost businesses of all industries millions of dollars each year in medical care, insurance premiums, and lost productivity. While most commercial buildings do not have serious problems, even the most well-maintained environments can experience periods of poor indoor air quality. Because most people spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, monitoring and managing indoor air quality is a significant concern for business owners and building managers.
The Most Common Types of Air Pollutants
Poor indoor air quality is a significant concern that all business owners and commercial building owners should be aware of. However, because people don’t see it, it’s easy to dismiss its existence.
Many factors can contribute to a building’s poor indoor air quality, including:
Dust and other environmental pollutants contribute to indoor air pollution. Without adequate ventilation, these tiny pollutants can easily circulate around your commercial building and trigger allergic symptoms in some people.
Mildew and Mold
Condensation can form around windows when the temperature outside decreases and the indoor air is heated, causing excess moisture to accumulate. Excess moisture often results in the formation of mold and mildew. Furthermore, if your office has experienced water damage, there’s a good chance that mold and mildew are present or will soon begin to grow.
Chemical pollutants, such as polybrominated biphenyl, polychlorinated biphenyl, polyurethane, formaldehyde, and VOCs, are emitted by almost every manufactured item in your building. This includes certain construction materials, office equipment, furniture, wall and floor coverings, upholstery, and more. Furthermore, pest removal chemicals, cleaning solutions, building renovations, and furnishing sealants or finishings can also contribute to the formation of dangerous air particulates.
Bacteria, viruses, fungi, allergens, animal dander, and pollen are all examples of biological contaminants. They are often present in high concentrations and are the result of uncleanness, insufficient humidity controls, or transmission from individuals or filtration systems. Asthma attacks and allergic reactions are among the many health problems associated with biological contaminants.
When identifying pollutants, consider the level of risk or life-threatening elements a pollutant possesses. For example, some contaminants, such as radon and carbon monoxide, are more dangerous than others and can be fatal in high concentrations.
5 Tips to Improve Indoor Air Quality
Poor air quality consists of more than just strange odors or stagnant air. It is an environmental health concern that can significantly impact the health and well-being of everyone in your workplace. Because not all contaminants are the same, it’s crucial to remain diligent in eliminating severe health risks related to indoor air pollutants.
Here are five ways to improve the air quality in your commercial facility:
Perform Regular HVAC Inspections
Your HVAC system is critical to maintaining indoor air quality. HVAC systems can accumulate dust and dirt over time, so they should be cleaned and serviced regularly. This will help to improve the air quality in your workplace and keep your HVAC system running smoothly.
Install Indoor Air Quality Monitoring
Access to air quality data removes the guesswork from maintaining good indoor air quality. A quick glance at the monitor alerts you or your building manager when it’s time to increase ventilation, activate the air purifier, or turn off the humidifier. Furthermore, if your air quality monitor provides room-by-room data, you can move portable air cleaners, fans, and humidifiers to where they’re most needed.
Manage Humidity Levels
Mold and pests, among other biological pollutants, thrive in warm, humid environments. When the relative humidity is too high, it can lead to the growth and spread of these polluting organisms, damage building materials and furniture, and impact overall health and comfort. When the air becomes too humid, open the windows, turn on the air conditioner, or use a dehumidifier to dry it out. If the air becomes too dry, use a humidifier or vaporizer to increase the relative humidity.
Install Specialized Filtration Equipment
If you discover that your air quality is affected by uncontrollable gases, chemical pollutants, or bacteria, you may need to consider adding specialized equipment that can clean the air. Specialized filtration solutions can remove harmful particulates and virus particles from the air, kill mold, and remove 100% of most viruses.
Set Occupant Policies
Building occupants often emit many indoor air pollutants. Consider implementing policies around cleanliness, request that workers refrain from wearing perfume or cologne and that employees properly store their food after eating.
Ensure Proper Ventilation
Turn off your HVAC system and open the windows whenever possible to allow fresh air into the building. When the temperature and humidity levels allow, open the doors and windows. The open-air, natural sunlight and temperature keep the air fresh and circulating and can also improve indoor air quality by lowering pollutants.
Invest in Better Indoor Air Quality Today
Improving indoor air quality standards for your office building may require some initial effort. However, using these tips will help you improve indoor air quality immensely and create a healthier indoor environment.
Our staff of highly trained and experienced in cleaning ductwork of all shapes and sizes and is dedicated to restoring your indoor air quality to a more healthy state. With our team of NADCA-Certified specialists, NCRI can provide quality solutions to improve indoor air quality using the most advanced methods in the industry, including professional air scrubbing equipment, air duct cleaning, and mold and mildew mitigation.
If you think your indoor air quality can be improved or would like to learn more about our full-service restoration services, contact National Catastrophe Restoration, Inc. today to speak with one of our specialists about how we can assist you.