Stop the Sneeze! Allergy Season Tips to Help Your Tenants
Every year, allergy season settles in and makes some of your tenants miserable with sneezing, coughing, and watery eyes. And every year, allergy sufferers in your building hope there’s something that can be done at the building level to bring some relief. This year, try some of the following tips to reduce the allergens in your commercial building and make the environment more pleasant for the people who help support you with their rent.
Change HVAC system filters frequently. As air circulates through the HVAC system, it passes through the filters where dust, pollen, mold, fibers, and other potential allergy-causing particulates. Change the filters in your HVAC system frequently during allergy season to make sure the air moving through the system is as clean as possible. Monthly changes are usually recommended, but if the air inside your commercial building tends to have a lot of allergens in it, you may need to change the filters more often.
Put in better HVAC filters. Along with frequent air filter changes, your indoor air quality could be improved this allergy season by installing better-quality air filters. Check the filters’ MERV ratings (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value). This number represents filter efficiency, which higher numbers indicating more efficient filters that can remove smaller particulates. Standard MERV numbers span a range from 1 to 16, though there are specialized filters that carry MERV ratings between 17 and 20. Remember that higher MERV filters can be very thick and dense and may require specialized mountings. They can also interfere with airflow in your HVAC system. Consult with your HVAC professional to find the right MERV filter for your needs.
Install air cleaners or purifiers. Air cleaners and purifiers are the types of specialized equipment that typically use high MERV filters. These devices are often used in environments where air quality is critical, such as medical facilities, computer clean rooms, and some types of manufacturing settings. Even if you don’t need near-perfect air quality, a lower-performance air cleaner or purifier can still be sufficient to remove large amounts of allergens from your indoor air this allergy season.
Increase ventilation. Ventilation provides a steady circulation of air between the indoor and outdoor environment, bring in fresh air and removing stale air and the allergens it contains. If possible, open doors and windows to increase ventilation. Use fans to increase air circulation and make sure that ventilation fans are used in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry areas, or other indoor locations where moisture and particulates are produced. Be careful that you don’t make things worse inside by pulling in more pollen or other allergens.
Clean the HVAC system. Make sure the indoor and outdoor components of your HVAC system are cleaned to be as free of potential allergens as possible. For the indoor components, clean away dust or other accumulated material. At the outdoor unit, clean away any mud, sticks, leaves, grass, dirt, or other substances that have built up around the unit, or that have gotten inside it. Make sure vegetation is trimmed away to leave plenty of open space on all sides of the outdoor unit. Consider having the ductwork checked and cleaned as well, especially if it’s obvious that there is dirt or other material inside the ducts. This can include a thorough cleaning of all supply vents and return registers and the duct areas immediately inside them. Since it’s easy for material to fall into floor vents, they should be given particular attention.
Remove sources of allergens. Regularly remove sources of allergens, such as trash or accumulated debris. Have the indoor areas cleaned regularly, including dusting of shelves, desktops, and other flat surfaces.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information on reducing allergens in your building this allergy season, or to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!
Photo Credit: “Nita/Pexels”