The Dangers of Poor Office Air Quality
Indoor air quality is an important consideration for everybody who manages or works in an office environment. You can have contaminated air without realizing it. This guide describes the things you need to know about your office air quality and what you can do to improve it.
What Affects the Indoor Air Quality of Your Office
Contaminants can enter the air of your office environment from several sources. Those contaminants aren’t always bothersome or dangerous to start with, but they can accumulate over time.
That accumulation is especially of concern if your office is an airtight one. In fact, if there’s no way for the office to get rid of the excess C02, then just the act of many people breathing can contaminate the air.
Where Office Air Contaminants Come From
Contaminants can come from inside the office as well as outside of it. Some of the most common sources of air contamination include:
- Dust from electronics, especially printers or copy machines
- Dust people bring in with them from outside
- Vapors from chemical cleaning products
- Particles from building materials such as fiberglass
- Microorganisms growing in damp areas, such as office kitchens
In addition, odors from more common things like perfumes or cigarette smoke can leak from skin and clothing into the air. Another major source of poor air quality in an office is the HVAC system. Air contamination can occur if the heating and cooling equipment is dirty, in disrepair, poorly designed, or never maintained.
What Happens When People Breath Contaminated Office Air
Poor indoor air quality can affect people in several ways. Some of the effects of poor air quality are hard to identify and might not affect the patient’s everyday life, while other effects can represent serious health risks.
With such a wide range, it’s not easy to give a definitive list of all the possible problems that can occur. However, some of the effects of poor office air quality include:
- Tiredness and lethargy
- Coughing and increased respiratory issues
- Headaches and discomfort
- Increased allergy attacks
- Increased instances of cold and flu-like symptoms
Some of the more serious complications from poor air quality can include respiratory diseases and other illnesses. Some contaminants can contribute to cancer as well. The more serious effects will depend on precisely what contaminants are in the air.
What You Can Do About Office Air Quality
Your office’s indoor air quality can be improved in several ways. You can contribute to better air quality whether you own the office building, manage it, or just work in it.
Small and Intermediate Solutions for Office Air Quality
You can eliminate many sources of air contaminants by keeping the office clean and dry. Normal cleaning methods should suffice:
- Keep floors vacuumed
- Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter
- Use microfiber cloths to pick up dust
- Mop hard surfaces regularly
- Keep sinks dry
- Keep surfaces clean
- Use floor mats to keep people from tracking in dust
In addition, introducing adequate office ventilation can help circulate the air and remove contaminated air. You can also deal with a lot of contaminants by controlling the humidity in the office.
Many contaminants, especially microorganisms, like a humid environment. Proper air-conditioning or a dehumidifier can help control the humidity, which can keep many contaminants from forming and thriving.
Professional Solutions for Office Air Quality
Air testing can help you discover exactly what’s floating around in the air of your office. In addition, you may want to consider a full revamping of your HVAC system if the system is contributing to your poor air quality.
Just as importantly, you should listen to any complaints. If a visitor or one of your staff complains about feeling ill whenever they’re in the building, then take the complaint seriously. Poor air quality affects everyone differently.
At C.B. Lucas Heating & Air Conditioning, we offer HVAC services as well as several systems that are specifically designed to improve air quality. If you’re concerned about the air quality in your office or need a professional to look over your HVAC system, contact us immediately.