How to Improve Your Building’s Indoor Air Quality

Improve Your Building's Indoor Air Quality

It isn’t a secret that your building is making you and your employees catch the seasonal flu. However, at this point, with the pandemic right on our heels, it might seem that we have a bigger fish to fry. Or do we? 

There was much ado over how poor and dismal the quality of air circulating inside most buildings are, in both corporate and residential circumstances, as far back as the 80s. This was after employees and tenants on a global scale experienced severe headaches, runny noses, and chills– essentially feeling like coming down with the flu– all while spending some time within the building’s walls. The funny thing is that as soon as these people stepped out of the building to get some air, their flu-like symptoms seemed to have magically disappeared. Not long after, several investigations and reports launched by governing bodies and health organizations all over the world have yielded conclusions about how the state of the air indoors is causing these pains to build inhabitants and occupants, thus, making them feel sick.

And in 1986, the World Health Organization coined the term ‘sick building syndrome’ (SBS) to identify this set of symptoms that are inducing discomfort to many individuals bound inside buildings and other closed spaces for long periods of time. These symptoms come in a wide range and are akin to the flu: headaches, dizziness, sneezing, and other allergy-like indications, runny nose, difficulty in breathing, body aches, fatigue, a feeling of nausea, irritability, fever, and chills. 

According to various studies, SBS can be traced to inadequate and/or inappropriate cleaning practices, and, up until the dawn of the pandemic, has afflicted many to silent suffering. Now, with the fish being bigger to fry, there is a much greater emphasis placed on SBS especially as more and more offices adapting to COVID-19 are ensuring proper protocols and safety guidelines to gradually make their way back to the physical setting. Addressing the concerns of SBS plays a crucial part in creating a cleaner environment conducive to both work and living.

Taking note of these effective tips in fixing your office air quality ensures a safer workplace and a healthier set of employees:

Start by getting rid of pollutant sources.

Neutralizing pollutants in closed spaces is a very effective and economical means to improve the indoor air quality of any building. Think of nipping the bud before it grows to sprout harmful effects. Doing so is not only cheap and easy to do, it is also under reasonable means. Having an office janitorial cleaning company do routine cleaning for your office is imperative. If your budget permits, employing an extra layer of protection through commercial cleaning services is highly advised especially during this pandemic. Regular garbage disposal also helps a great deal in improving the air you breathe inside the office. 

Acting immediately on cleaning liquid spills goes a long way, as prolonged aerial exposure of these spills can cultivate the growth of molds and mildew inside the workplace, which would be a much pressing concern to tend to. In the pantry, a simple deed of storing food properly can prevent pollutants.

The most common sources of indoor pollutants that are a little bit harder to deal with include asbestos, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde from pressed wood products, lead, secondhand smoke, pesticides, and heaters. Relieving your building of these elements may involve a deeper look into your building’s history, materials used, and ventilation system.

Pay special attention to your building’s ventilation system.

If we’re talking about improving indoor air attributes, we might as well dig a little deeper into one of the most important aspects of a building that has anything to do with air: the ventilation system.

Past reports have linked poor indoor air quality to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, so it would only be wise to take a look at the state of your building’s ventilation.

Here, make sure that the air vents are not blocked by furniture or other items that could restrict proper air circulation and further catalyze health concerns. On a regular basis, see to it that inspection of air ducts and cleaning and maintenance of air filters is conducted. Replace air filters every 6-12 months, or whenever dust and other debris have started accumulating behind the filters as not doing so puts you and your employees at a higher health risk. 

If possible, open the windows and let the fresh air in. This also contributes to good air circulation and helps flush the poor air out.

Invest in air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and office plants.

Once you have worked on eradicating possible causes of poor indoor air, you can now divert your focus on keeping the air inside your space clean.

It is highly recommended to use excellent air purifiers, as well as dehumidifiers to maintain office humidity between 30 and 50 percent, which is the optimum level to keep mold and other allergens at bay. It is also a good idea to put indoor plants at various spots in the office, which not only add a decorative touch to your office but also take in toxins and produce additional oxygen. 

Bacteria hotspots in the office should be taken care of with utmost priority. Desks, keyboards, and mouses, mugs, door handles, as well as the photocopy machine are known office areas susceptible to bacteria, germs, and pathogens. Diligently wiping and cleaning these areas with the use of microfiber cloth reduces the spread of bacteria. 

Seek air quality testing.

Keeping your air clean is a lot of work, but to ensure that your efforts are not for naught, reaching out to experts who can perform air quality testing is not such a bad idea. Everything from humidity levels to airflow, to ventilation, even odors, leaks, and mold growth will be thoroughly examined so that you will know what to focus on to boost the condition of the air inside your office. 

Sick building syndrome has been around for quite a while. At the size of the pandemic, it may seem smaller, but truth be told, this illness can be as tough as COVID-19. Sure, it is not as deadly, but its effects on the body still concern most of us. By nailing down the appropriate protocols and following the above tips to ensure sound health for everyone inside the office, you will be hitting two birds in one stone.