Helpful Tips to Prevent Poor Indoor Air Quality in Office Buildings
Office workers spend a significant portion of their day working inside. If the indoor air quality (IAQ) of their office environment is poor, they are often in a position where they cannot get away from it. Employees, supervisors and building owners have little choice but to take steps to prevent poor IAQ and improve the overall atmosphere in the office. Following are some of the causes of poor IAQ and useful ways to prevent the issue and make the air your employees breathe cleaner, fresher and more healthy.
Sources of Poor Indoor Air Quality
In an office environment, many common objects and activities can cause poor indoor air quality. Daily tasks and standard office equipment can also contribute. Common sources of poor IAQ include:
- Pollen and other irritants brought in from the outdoors.
- Dust, paper fragments and other particles produced by office supplies.
- Inadequate cleaning that leaves dust, dirt and other materials behind.
- Dirt, dust or other particulates created by indoor construction or renovation.
- Odors created by equipment, cleaning supplies, trash or work-related processes.
- Odors infiltrating the office space from other areas, such as nearby construction zones, neighboring offices, road resurfacing, burning or vehicle exhaust.
- Perfumes, colognes or cosmetics worn by employees.
- Tobacco smoke or tobacco odors and residues on employees’ clothing.
- Mold, bacterial growth or other biological sources caused by dampness or moisture.
Preventing Poor Indoor Air Quality
Techniques for preventing poor IAQ range from the relatively simple to more complex technical solutions. Here are some of the most common and effective ways to reduce poor IAQ and ensure cleaner air in your office environment.
Practice Source Control
Source control means identifying and eliminating sources of poor indoor air quality at their source. If conditions that cause poor IAQ are not allowed to develop, then indoor air quality will remain at a higher level. If there have been complaints about odors, reduced IAQ or similar problems, locate the source of the complaint and remove it. Get rid of trash or other material that could create unpleasant odors. Clean up any areas of mold or other materials that could reduce IAQ. Replace strong-smelling cleaning supplies with cleaners that have milder odors. Make sure cleaning products and related materials are stored properly and in sealed containers. Establish and enforce policies on smoking, wearing perfume or cologne, or the use of air fresheners or similar items by individual employees.
Have Preventive HVAC Maintenance Performed
Contact your HVAC expert for a thorough system inspection and preventive maintenance tune-up. This will not only make your heating and cooling system run better, but will also help reduce any issues that could affect indoor air quality.
Change HVAC System Air Filters
The air filters in your heating and cooling system are a vital component of indoor air quality, so make sure they are checked and changed regularly. They remove particulates and other material as the air in your HVAC system circulates through them. Filters should be checked at least monthly and changed when they get dirty. If you are in an environment where there are usually more contaminants in the air, filters may need to be checked and changed more often.
Install ventilation equipment that increases the amount of air circulation between the indoor and outdoor environment. Ventilators bring in fresh outdoor air while removing stale indoor air.
Install Air Filtration and Cleaning Equipment
Air filtration and cleaning systems are designed to add even higher levels of filtration to your indoor air, removing more particulates and material than your HVAC system can. High-quality filters are available to meet most IAQ needs.
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