Commercial spaces present many challenges when it comes to air quality. With so many people at close quarters, it’s important to take steps to ensure that the air is healthy and safe. In this blog post, we will discuss how you can improve air quality in your commercial space. We’ll cover everything from HVAC maintenance to choosing the right air filters. Let’s get started!
What is Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)?
Indoor air quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures. IAQ is a term that encompasses the air quality in office buildings, schools, hospitals, and other commercial spaces. Poor IAQ can lead to a variety of health problems, including headaches, nausea, and respiratory infections.
Causes of Poor Indoor Air Quality
There are many factors that can contribute to poor indoor air quality. Some of the most common include:
- Poor ventilation: One of the most common causes of poor air quality is actually poor ventilation. When air can’t circulate, it becomes stagnant and full of pollutants.
- Outdated or Poorly Maintained HVAC Systems: Another common cause of poor air quality is an outdated or poorly maintained HVAC system.
- High levels of humidity: High levels of humidity can cause a variety of problems, including mold growth and dust mites.
- Contaminants in the air: Contaminants in the air can come from a variety of sources, including cleaning products, air fresheners, and off-gassing from new furniture or carpet.
- Poor air filtration: One of the most important aspects of air quality is air filtration. If your air filters are old or ineffective, they will not be able to remove contaminants from the air, leading to poor air quality.
What Makes Indoor Air Polluted?
There are many things that can pollute indoor air, including:
- Dust: Dust can come from a variety of sources, including air vents, open windows, and even our own bodies. When it accumulates on surfaces, it can become a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and other allergens.
- Pet dander: If you have pets, their dander (shed skin cells) can become airborne and contribute to indoor air pollution.
- Mold spores: Mold spores are tiny particles that are released into the air when mold is present. These spores can cause respiratory problems, and they can also trigger allergies and asthma.
- Bacteria: Bacteria are single-celled organisms that can cause infections and other health problems. They can enter the air through open windows, air vents, and even our own bodies.
- Viruses: Viruses are even smaller than bacteria, and they can cause a wide range of respiratory illnesses, from the common cold to more serious diseases like influenza.
- Cigarette smoke: Cigarette smoke is one of the most harmful things that you can breathe in. It contains more than 7000 chemicals, including arsenic, lead, and formaldehyde. Secondhand smoke is just as dangerous as firsthand smoke, and it can cause a wide range of health problems, including respiratory illnesses, heart disease, and cancer.
- Chemicals from cleaning products: Many cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that can pollute the air. These chemicals can cause a variety of health problems, including respiratory illnesses and skin irritations.
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from office equipment: You might not know this, but many of the office supplies and materials that we use on a daily basis can release VOCs into the air. Things like printers, copiers, and even certain types of paint can all be culprits.
While some of these pollutants can be controlled, others (like bacteria, viruses, and mold spores) are much harder to eliminate and can adversely affect your health. Viruses are particularly concerning because they can cause respiratory illnesses. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified viruses as one of the main air pollution risks to human health.
Detecting Possible Indoor Air Quality Issues
There are a few ways you can detect possible air quality issues in your commercial space:
- Look for visible signs of pollutants, such as mold growth or dust buildup
- Listen for air quality complaints from employees
- Invest in air quality testing
Tips to Improve your Workplace Indoor Air Quality
There are a few things you can do to improve air quality in your workplace:
- Increase ventilation: One of the best ways to improve air quality is to increase ventilation. This can be done by opening windows and doors, or by using fans and air purifiers.
- Install air filters and clean them regularly: This is one of the most important things you can do to improve your workplace air quality. Air filters help remove contaminants from the air, and they should be replaced every few months.
- Keep the air vents clean: Another easy way to improve your workplace air quality is to keep the air vents clean. Dust and other contaminants can build up in air vents, so it’s important to vacuum or dust them on a regular basis.
- Invest in an air purifier: If you’re looking for a long-term solution to improve your workplace air quality, investing in an air purifier is a good option. Air purifiers help remove contaminants from the air, and they can make a big difference to your indoor air quality.
- Adopt green practices: One of the best ways to improve your workplace air quality is to adopt green practices. Green practices can include things like using low-VOC paint, using natural cleaners, and using energy-efficient appliances.
- Minimize the use of chemicals and cleaning products: Another easy way to improve your workplace air quality is to minimize the use of chemicals and cleaning products. Many cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that can pollute the air, so it’s best to use them sparingly.
- Implement a no-smoking policy: One of the best ways to improve your workplace air quality is to implement a no-smoking policy. Smoking emits harmful chemicals into the air, so it’s important to ban it in your workplace.
- Perform regular HVAC maintenance: Finally, one of the best ways to improve your workplace air quality is to perform regular HVAC maintenance, especially during Spring. HVAC systems can build up dust and dirt over time, so it’s important to have them cleaned and serviced on a regular basis. Doing so will help improve your workplace air quality and keep your HVAC system running properly.
Say Goodbye to Poor Indoor Air Quality
Don’t let poor air quality take a toll on your employees’ health. By taking steps to improve air quality in your workplace, you can create a healthier and more productive environment.
Need help getting started? Contact us today at AQM Inc to learn more about our air quality solutions. We’ll help you create a customized plan to address your specific needs. Call now!