The ABCs Every Business Should Know About Air Quality
As employees return to the office, improving indoor air quality is essential. Having clean air protects people from respiratory conditions and illnesses such as COVID-19. Plus, it can help those with allergies breathe easier. Here is everything you should know about indoor air quality.
Why Is Proper Indoor Air Quality Essential?
Having clean air can keep workers safe. Researchers link low air quality to decreased overall physical and mental health. It can cause headaches, fatigue and trouble concentrating. Also, some conditions — such as damp indoor environments — can lead to asthma. Long-term exposure to asbestos and radon may cause cancer after many years.
Along with your physical health, air pollution can impact your mental health. The symptoms of fatigue can lower your overall mood. Also, some research links poor air quality to depression, anxiety and neurological disorders.
Terms to Know
When discussing indoor air quality, there is specific terminology you may come across. First, it’s helpful to know how you can measure air quality.
It focuses on health, comfort and safety. Suppose the air has particulate matter, chemical pollutants or volatile organic compounds. All these could pose health concerns. Another important factor is humidity, which you should keep at a lower percentage. The air must also be safe for it to be of good quality. One way to check this is by looking at carbon monoxide levels.
Here are a few more terms to pay attention to:
- Disinfection: eliminates viruses, bacteria and microbes in the air
- Filtration: uses a barrier to capture particles
- HEPA Filter: efficiently remove pollen, mold, bacteria, dust and airborne particles
- Humidity: measures the water vapor levels in your air
- MERV: values that describe how well a filter captures particulates
What Causes Poor Indoor Air Quality
To help combat the issues of poor indoor air quality, you should know how it starts. Many factors can influence it. These include inadequate ventilation, lack of temperature control, inconsistent humidity or remodeling projects.
Each aspect can limit the amount of fresh air entering the office. For example, dust can enter from construction projects. Also, contaminants from paint or sealing materials can pollute your air.
Here are a few more reasons for poor indoor air quality:
- Mold growth
- Harsh chemicals
- Emissions from your stove
How to Increase Indoor Air Quality
You can make sure you know what causes poor indoor air quality. Here are a few tips to keep your office safe.
Swap Your HVAC Filters
Your heating and cooling system can remove common pollutants. One way to bring in fresh air is to change your HVAC filters. Over time, they can fill up with dust and become less efficient. This then causes the unhealthy particles to remain in the air. Also, with a less efficient system, your unit can start to break down and lead to costly repairs.
Check the Quality of Other Filters
Remember that your AC isn’t the only thing keeping the air clean. Check the filters in other appliances, such as vacuum cleaners and breakroom vents. You want to clean and or replace these regularly. When cleaning, remove trapped dust and hair. Also, inspect them for any missing parts. If you notice any cracks, get these fixed to increase the appliance’s life span.
Inspect Your Air Ducts
Air ducts help distribute cool and warm air throughout the building. Although, if someone didn’t correctly install them, they could leak contaminants. Over time, dust and dander can accumulate inside the ducts. These then reduce the space’s overall air quality.
Have your ducts regularly serviced and inspected to ensure fresh air is circulating the office. Plus, you can switch to renewable energy sources like solar to improve your air quality.
Keep Your Carpets Clean
Rugs create a cushiony feeling under your feet but can trap dust and other harmful particles. That’s why it’s essential to clean your carpets regularly. Also, consider installing hardwood flooring in high-traffic areas of the office. This material is durable and provides a beautiful appearance.
What to Know About Indoor Air Quality
To keep employees healthy and productive, quality indoor air is essential. Lack of proper ventilation and inconsistent humidity can cause issues. Therefore, following these tips is critical to keep your building’s air fresh.
Author Bio: Jane works as the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she covers environmental news and sustainable living tips.