We spend 80% more time indoors than out of doors and indoor air pollution is one of the top environmental risks to public health. Improving your building’s indoor air quality has many benefits, from improving health and comfort to increasing productivity.
Having your indoor air quality tested on a regular basis helps you to stay on top of the situation and know exactly where you stand when it comes to your employee health and well-being. Air quality experts that offer environmental consulting have the right tools and methods to measure air quality.
They will test factors such as mold and mildew growth, ventilation, levels of humidity, carbon dioxide emissions and quantify allergens such as dust mites. If you know the sources of poor air quality, you have a chance to control them and reduce risks to health.
1. Schedule regular cleaning and maintenance
Regular dusting, vacuuming, and sanitizing is essential to keep the air as fresh and clean as possible. Dust is often a major culprit that builds up quickly in offices and it is a common source of allergens.
Many allergens and pollutants are trapped in carpets and they need vacuuming at least once or twice a week with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter.
Opting for hard-surface flooring instead of carpeting can help to cut down on allergens. Scheduling regular professional cleaning is often one of the best ways to stay on top of dust and other pollutants.
2. Check air filters
If you have a forced-air heating system, be certain to change the filters regularly. Check and replace office air filters every two months or so and industrial ones more frequently. When they are dirty, they recycle VOCs and dust into the air.
3. Make sure air vents aren’t blocked
Blocked air vents prevent proper air circulation. Make sure they are free of dust and other particles and are not blocked by any furniture or equipment.
4. Avoid excess moisture
Any excess moisture that occurs when you fail to deal with leaks supports the growth of mold and mildew which can lead to severe health risks. Keep an eye out for culprits, such as water-stained ceilings, which can become sources of mold.
5. Maintain a healthy humidity level
A humidity level of between 30-50% helps to keep common allergens such as dust mites and mold under control. You can lower humidity levels by using a modern HVAC system or a dehumidifier. If you have an older HVAC system, it is possible to get it retrofitted to help boost ventilation.
6. Install indoor air quality sensors
Indoor air quality depends on the concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs cause a number of symptoms, such as eye irritation, headaches etc.
In high concentrations, they can even cause cancers and respiratory diseases when exposure is long term. Integrating indoor air quality sensors into the HVAC system of the building means the system is alerted when indoor air quality reaches unhealthy levels.
7. Add indoor plants
Placing indoor plants in an office improves the air quality. They add a pleasing, calming touch as well as absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen.
8. Use fresh air where possible
Opening up office windows and letting in fresh air is preferable to using the AC system at all times. If the weather permits, keep windows and doors open to keep air circulating.
As a result of the improvement in indoor air quality, everybody will be able to breathe more easily. It isn’t just good for the building but for everyone’s health, well-being and productivity too.