Your facility’s indoor air quality (IAQ) plays a significant role in the health of your employees and visitors. If you don’t maintain high IAQ, your facility could cause health problems for everyone in it. Let’s look at what IAQ is and how you can improve the air quality in your office or facility.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- What indoor air quality is and how it affects your office’s occupants
- The factors in your office that affect its indoor air quality
- How to improve your office’s IAQ with the help of your HVAC contractor
What Is Indoor Air Quality?
Indoor air quality is a measurement of how safe and healthy the air circulated throughout your building is. When the indoor air quality at work is good, your employees and visitors can breathe easily and work comfortably throughout the day. If your building has poor indoor air quality, the air is likely full of contaminants that can make employees and visitors uncomfortable by causing breathing problems, allergic reactions, or respiratory illnesses. If your office has many indoor air quality problems, this may create a difficult environment for your guests and staff.
Which Factors Affect Your Office’s IAQ?
Your office’s IAQ is influenced by several factors, including:
- Biological contaminants: Pollutants such as dust mites, bacteria, viruses, and fungi cause a range of problems for office occupants, according to the EPA. They can lead to allergic reactions and asthma attacks along with many different illnesses, including COVID-19. If your building has a lot of biological pollutants in the air, your workforce could get sick frequently.
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs): The EPA defines VOCs as compounds that have low water solubility and high vapor pressure. VOCs are man-made chemicals that appear in a wide range of products, including glues, pharmaceuticals, correction fluids, copiers, printers, refrigerants, and paints. Prolonged indoor exposure to them causes many side effects, including nausea, dizziness, headaches, and fatigue.
- Tobacco smoke: Smoking indoors decreases IAQ by polluting your office’s air with tobacco smoke and particles. While smoking at work was acceptable in the mid-twentieth century, it’s no longer allowed in most offices because it contaminates the air for everyone around the smokers.
- Moisture and humidity levels: Uncontrolled humidity and moisture levels could decrease your office’s IAQ. How? High levels of moisture and humidity allow mold, mildew, and other organic pollutants to grow and thrive. On the other hand, low levels cause dry eyes, along with sinus and mucous membrane discomfort. Finding the ideal moisture and humidity levels for your office is a key factor in creating good IAQ.
How Can You Improve Your Office’s IAQ?
You can improve your building’s indoor air quality in many different ways, but it’s best to make these improvements with a commercial HVAC contractor by your side. Your contractor can improve your IAQ with the following tasks:
- Inspecting your ventilation system: Does your ventilation system carry healthy air throughout your building? Is it the right size for your building’s HVAC needs? Your contractor can examine your system to ensure it transports quality air through the air vents and air filters.
- Maintaining your HVAC system: Routine HVAC maintenance helps your system produce healthy air for your building’s occupants. When they perform this type of maintenance, your contractor cleans and repairs system components to make sure they don’t develop mold, mildew, dust, or other pollutants that could harm your employees and visitors.
- Monitoring outdoor air quality: Your HVAC system interacts with the outside air supply through its outdoor unit. Your contractor can monitor this interaction and determine how it’s affecting your IAQ during maintenance visits.
These tasks greatly enhance your IAQ by detecting potential problems before they affect it. However, there are a few things you and your staff can do without your contractor’s help to boost your office’s indoor air quality, including:
- Checking your office’s temperatures: Check your thermostat to ensure it’s set at the appropriate temperature for every zone in your building. If temperatures are too warm, they could promote the growth of contaminants like mold and bacteria. If they’re too cold, they could irritate occupants’ eyes and sinuses and make employees feel too chilly to focus on work.
- Spacing out equipment and furniture: The way you arrange your office’s furniture and equipment affects your IAQ. If you surround heat-generating equipment with lots of furniture, that could increase your building’s heat and humidity levels.
- Cleaning pollutant pathways: Pollutants often build up on walls and in stairwells and elevator shafts, among other places. Have your facility’s cleaning staff clean and disinfect these spaces frequently to prevent contaminants from spreading.
Can A&G Services Improve Your Office’s IAQ?
Yes, we can. We provide a wide range of mechanical services for commercial offices, including indoor air quality services. We’re air quality experts who can examine your HVAC system and determine whether it’s generating good IAQ for your office environment. We understand that your office space has its own unique needs, so we customize our IAQ services to suit its design.
Have you ever had your office’s IAQ assessed? If you think your office could use a closer look, reach out to us today. We offer indoor air quality services alongside our HVAC preventative maintenance plans. If we discover that your HVAC system isn’t providing the best indoor air quality for your building, we’ll find the source of the problem and develop a solution.