Heating and cooling systems act as the lungs of the buildings where we work. They take air in and breathe air out through the air vents. When working properly, your system will protect your employees from indoor air pollution; however, if ducts are dirty, they can cause some serious health issues for occupants in the workplace.
Given the major role of the work environment in our daily lives, ensuring proper air quality and ventilation is of utmost importance for the health of your co-workers.
Indoor air quality in the workplace is the subject of much attention these days, and for good reason. The air quality of our indoor environments can greatly affect health, comfort and productivity of co-workers.
Sick building syndrome is a condition affecting workers in many industries. Symptoms are typically marked by headaches and respiratory problems that are attributed to unhealthy or stressful factors in the working environment, such as poor ventilation. Studies show that 1 out of 4 buildings in the US are classified as “sick buildings.” If 25% of the workforce has symptoms such as watering eyes, hoarseness, headaches, dry, itchy skin, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, chronic fatigue, mental fogginess or cancer – the building may be labeled a “sick building”.
Causes of sick building syndrome include inadequate ventilation. Historically, building ventilation standards in the US have prioritized energy conservation over proper outdoor ventilation, allowing for conditions that are found to be inadequate to maintain the health and comfort of building occupants. Malfunctioning heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems (HVAC systems) also increase indoor air pollution in the home or office.
Some symptoms of Indoor Air Pollution in Tulsa, OK
Symptoms can include headaches, fatigue, nausea or irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. Allergy and asthma sufferers, as well as older adults, tend to be more susceptible to the negative effects of inadequate indoor air quality, but anyone can be affected.
Common contributors to poor indoor air quality:
- Chemicals used indoors
- Volatile organic compounds
- Poor ventilation
- Particulates from dirt and dust created in the work environment.
- Particulates from dirt and dust bring brought in from outdoors.
What can you do?
1. Smoke-Free Environment
Most companies today do not allow smoking within their buildings or even along the perimeters of the building. This has resulted in massively cutting down exposure to secondhand smoke and reducing harmful air pollution indoors. Cigarette smoke contains more than 3,000 chemicals, and research shows that secondhand smoke increases a person’s risk of asthma, cancer and other diseases. If smoking is allowed in the facility then these chemicals get pulled into the HVAC system and re-circulated 5 to 8 times per day.
2. Mold Inspection
Mold is a type of fungus consisting of small organisms that can be found almost anywhere. In small amounts mold spores are typically harmless, but when they come in contact with a damp spot they can start to grow, get released into the air and become easy to inhale. The type of symptoms and their severity depend on the types of mold present and the extent of exposure. However, children, seniors and those with preexisting conditions can be at risk for major complications. To reduce the chances of, mold have all cooling coils inspected on a quarterly basis for mold growth and cleaned if necessary.
3. Clean Air Ducts
We similarly recommend coil cleaning and air duct cleaning as very beneficial for buildings when done correctly, especially when evaluated by professionals like Tulsa Air Duct Services LLC. Not only do clean air ducts help reduce symptoms from indoor air pollution, but they can also increase energy efficiency by reducing the amount of energy required to filter the indoor air and maintain desired temperatures.
Have your place of business air ducts inspected once a year and cleaned as needed by a Duct Cleaning Company in Tulsa. When it comes hiring and air duct cleaning company, be sure to look for the NADCA certification, an indicator that the company is being held to the highest of industry standards.
Breathing quality indoor air in critical for your employee’s good health. With all the time people spend working indoors it’s important to know the symptoms of poor indoor air quality and the steps to combat the negative health effects associated with it.