Indoor Office Air Quality
Working in an office environment is often more pleasant than working outdoors, especially during the heat of summer or the frigid temperatures of winter. But that doesn’t mean that an office environment is without its concerns. One of the most common challenges is maintaining excellent air quality.
Factors that can negatively impact indoor office air quality:
You can thank mites, cockroaches, animals, and even humans for contributing to the dust that constantly accumulates in your office. In fact, dust is one of the main concerns that commercial buildings have to tackle when it comes to maintaining indoor air quality. Dust can quickly become a nuisance. It requires constant attention and care to combat it. Depending upon the characteristics of your local area, that can be more or less difficult. It’s important to note that dust contributes to allergies, asthma, and other health conditions. Long-term exposure can be quite harmful. You should always try to keep the dust in your office under control.
You know that mold levels tend to rise with rain, but it isn’t limited to nature trails and other outdoor spaces. Mold can develop behind walls, under carpeting, and in crawlspaces or vents. You won’t always see mold, but it can still affect you. That’s especially true for people with allergies or asthma. Moist, humid air provides an optimal breeding ground for mold. Keeping mold from spreading in the first place is far easier than removing it. Your office can be tested for mold to ensure that it isn’t a current hazard.
Building materials, office equipment; furniture, wall and floor coverings, upholstery, and virtually every commercially manufactured item in your workplace emit chemical pollutants. They include polybrominated biphenyl (PBB), polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), polyurethane, formaldehyde, and VOCs.
Even if you or your employees do not smoke inside the building, cigarette smoke can linger on the smoker’s skin and clothes. That’s why when a smoker enters the office, you could smell it right away. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4000 chemical compounds, most of which are highly toxic and detrimental to the respiratory system.
How should we improve office air quality?
Keep your workplace clean
A clean workplace has lower levels of mold, dust, allergens, and contaminants that could spread through the air. Consider using eco-friendly cleaning products that do not release harsh chemical compounds into the air.
Use air-cleaning devices
Having commercial-grade equipment in your disposition, such as air scrubbers, dehumidifiers, and air purifiers are a great way to keep your IAQ at good levels and prevent the need to hire professionals.
Change HVAC filters regularly
HVAC systems should be cleaned regularly. Be sure to change the filters from time to time to prevent dust and other air pollutants from circulating back to your indoor air. Clogged filters can interrupt airflow and speed up the build-up of pollutants in enclosed spaces.
Observe proper ventilation
Whenever possible, turn of your HVAC system and open the windows to allow outdoor air to enter the building. Be sure to keep air vents unblocked. Placing furniture, storage boxes, chairs, or cabinets in front air vents will disrupt air circulation, causing your workplace to feel stuffy. Indoor plants are also a great addition to your office. They are not only refreshing to the eyes but can also help promote your indoor air quality by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen into the air.
Conduct regular air tests
Performing an indoor air testing will provide you with the right information and insights to make your IAQ improvement plan more directed and efficient. Air quality tests include checking humidity levels, airflow, ventilation, mold growth, odors, and water damage.