Indoor air quality (IAQ) is the subject of much attention these days; whether at home, in the workplace or at school, the air quality of the indoor environment can profoundly affect the health, comfort and productivity of occupants. Estimates by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggest that people spend 90% of their time indoors, which justifies the reason for the growing concern over IAQ.
What is Indoor Air Quality?
Indoor air quality can be affected if the air contains dust, objectionable odors, chemical contaminants, dampness or mold. Related to this are the physical characteristics of the air: the amount of air movement, its temperature and its humidity. According to the EPA, some things you can do to improve the air quality in your commercial or school building include:
- Do not block air vents or grilles.
- Comply with the office and building smoking policy.
- Water and maintain office plants properly.
- Dispose of garbage promptly and properly.
- Place office furniture, partitions, and equipment with air circulation, temperature control, and pollutant removal functions of the HVAC system in mind.
- Avoid bringing products into the building that could release harmful or bothersome odors or contaminants.
- Coordinate with building management in instances when responsibility for design, operation and maintenance of the HVAC system is shared.
- Work with the building owner or manager to ensure use of only necessary and appropriate pest control practices, and non-chemical methods where possible.
Poor IAQ may develop when not enough fresh air is introduced to reduce contaminant concentrations. The HVAC system must not only control contaminants, it must also provide a comfortable environment.
How Air Filters Impact Indoor Air Quality
Did you realize that you can improve indoor air quality by simply performing regular HVAC maintenance tasks, like cleaning your air filter?
The use of air filters can trap some of the air pollutants such as dust, pollen, mold, smoke, debris, and bacteria. They are used to reduce the number of particles that reach the wet coils potentially leading to equipment failure. For example, since dust can serve as food to grow mold, it can greatly reduce the efficiency of the unit. Plus, a clean filter can also keep air ducts cleaner.
Filters have a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating that specifies the size of air particles they can trap. The higher the MERV rating, the more particles trapped… resulting in cleaner air. If anyone in the building has airborne allergies, upgrading the filter can help to ease these symptoms.
How Does IAQ Affect Productivity?
Most of us are aware the indoor air quality can affect our health. Studies have shown that communicable diseases like the common cold, influenza and tuberculosis spread more efficiently in poorly ventilated buildings.
But did you know that IAQ can also affect productivity?
The inside air can have up to five times more pollution than our outdoor air; this poor indoor air quality (IAQ) has been tied to unproductive symptoms like headaches, tiredness, trouble staying focused, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs.
Recent research also suggests that a school’s physical environment also can play a major role in academic performance, health outcomes, as well as teacher and staff productivity and retention.
Serving All Your HVAC and Indoor Air Quality Needs
Indoor air quality is a major contributing factor to employee and student health and productivity. And at Point Bay Fuel, we take the comfort of our clients very seriously. With top-rated customer service and 24/7 emergency maintenance, we are the most reliable heating and air conditioning company around.
Give us a call at (732) 349-5059 with any questions and to learn more.