Businesses often overlook indoor air quality. Why is that? Did you know that the pollutants indoors are oftentimes up to 10x higher than concentrations that are found outdoors? Indoor air pollutants have been found to have a negative impact on both customers and employees. (Source: UN Health Programme) These impacts not only negatively affect their health, but also their cognitive abilities. Studies done at Harvard have shown that employees in cleaner indoor air quality environments perform better than those who have more polluted indoor air. They are also shown to be healthier, more reliable employees. What causes poor indoor air quality? Primarily, VOCs (volatile organic compounds) tend to be the main culprits who are contributing to poor indoor air quality. These compounds are found in a variety of things, including:
-Air Fresheners, Perfumes, and Colognes
-Paint, Lacquers, Stains & Finishes
These items are found in every single office (and home) environment. Fortunately, there are multiple ways we can combat poor indoor air quality and their effects on employees and customers.
You want your business to be a safe place for your employees and your customers.
How can I improve poor indoor air quality?
There are a variety of ways we can seek to improve our indoor air quality- at work and at home!
The first step is having the air quality in your building or home tested and analyzed. This will give you the best picture into what is causing poor indoor air quality, and the best ways to remedy the situation. Here are some common solutions to improving your indoor air quality at work and at home! They range from simple DIY to seeking the assistance of a professional.
Simply put, the more fresh, outdoor air that you can circulate indoors, the more the indoor air quality can improve. This is because oftentimes the indoor air is constantly recirculated within the building, contributing to prolonged poor air quality. With no ventilation, the poor air quality will just continue to worsen over time.
The solution to improve ventilation can be simple or complex- depending on your needs. At home, this is easy when it’s a nice spring day and you can open all of the windows. However, this solution oftentimes is not practical in poor weather conditions, in large buildings, or even for a long period of time.
Ventilation can be improved with whole-building solutions such as large fans. It might also be a good idea to have your duct work inspected to be sure that air is flowing freely throughout your home or work environment. Poor airflow will also contribute to poor indoor air quality.
Simple improvements, such as using exhaust fans, increasing air flow within the building, and utilizing open doors and windows as much as possible will all help improve the air quality.n
Air Filtration and Air Purification
Luckily there are numerous solutions to improving your air filtration. Simply changing your HVAC filter is one of the most important (and easiest!) ways we can improve our indoor air quality. Be sure to ask about what type of filter is best suited for your home or work environment. Factors such as pre-existing health conditions, work environment, age of the home, and more can be important influences on the kind of filter your HVAC professional would suggest.
There are also air filtration and purification remedies that will significantly improve your indoor air quality. Box-store single-room purifiers are an immediate solution, but often require continual maintenance and their performance is significantly reduced over time because of wear and tear. A lot of people and businesses look to whole-building or whole-home solutions that are maintenance free. We recommend an iWave air purification system that is maintenance free, and proven by reputable studies to significantly reduce pollutants, allergens, viruses, and more.
A simple way to have a positive impact on your indoor air quality is to clean on a regular basis. It sounds easy enough, but there are a few things that are overlooked by a lot of people when they complete their routine cleaning. Area rugs, carpet, drapes, and furniture are significant contributors to poor indoor air quality because of VOCs built up in the fabric. In addition to providing a nice place for VOCs, they also tend to absorb other pollutants such as allergens and dust.
Another way we can improve our indoor air quality through cleaning is to use “green” cleaning products. Whether you are purchasing them for yourself or utilizing a cleaning service, do some research on the products that are used to clean your indoor environment.
An ideal humidity indoors is a significant factor in the quality of your indoor air. An improperly humidified environment helps to spread indoor air pollutants, viruses, and more. Bacteria and other poor air quality factors thrive in environments that are either too low in humidity or too high in humidity. This is why it’s important to seek the guidance of a professional to ensure your humidity levels are ideal for your health and environment. There are various factors that contribute to poor humidity – such as an HVAC system that is not the proper size, poor ventilation, and more. Having a system that monitors these levels for you is the easiest way that you can improve the air quality in your home or business. You can read another quick summary on humidity and your health here.
What are the first steps in improving my indoor air quality?
If you are a business owner, we recommend reaching out to your HVAC company of choice to open the lines of communication so that you can start to seek the best solutions to improving your indoor air quality. The first step is to identify your problem areas and then create a plan that will solve these issues for you directly. Each building and home is unique, and we can help you figure out the right solution to give you the most improvement in your air quality based on your needs and budget.
If you are an employee, we recommend reaching out to your facility manager in order to inquire about the status of your indoor air quality.
If you are a homeowner or renter, we recommend utilizing some of the methods we have spoken about here. As always, we are happy to give you expert guidance on which solutions will be best for you.
Reach out to us anytime for help on improving your indoor air quality at home or at work! Call Outstanding Heating and Cooling at 937-439-4696, contact us here, or find us on social media and send us a message!