As a facility manager, indoor air quality (IAQ) may not be at the forefront of your mind. Air pollution is something we correlate with outdoor air, not indoor air. However, indoor air pollution is real and can be a hazard for many inside the facility. You must promote clean air to keep your facility happy, healthy, and operating smoothly. How do you know when the air quality is poor? Identifying popular indoor air pollutants and understanding how to combat them is one of the first steps you will need to take. After all, you cannot fight a problem if you do not know what the problem looks like. Here, we are focusing on the six most common threats to IAQ and how you can decrease poor indoor air quality in your facility.
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality at Your Facility
It is easy to see indoor air quality with an out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude. While that may be an unconscious thought, it simply is not the mindset to have. Making a conscious effort to increase IAQ will not only help your cleaning efforts, but it will also impact those inside the facility. Indoor air quality is crucial to maintain good health and a happy life. When the IAQ is low, numerous different factors are hurt. Health risks and productivity follow the same trends as your IAQ. If the IAQ decreases, so will people’s health and productivity.
Understanding how to make your facility’s indoor air quality safe and clean is vital. When it comes to IAQ, you cannot be ignorant. Taking proactive measures to fight against poor IAQ should be one of your top priorities as a facility manager. However, before you can prevent the air quality from declining, you must understand what causes poor IAQ.
The 6 Most Common Threats to IAQ
While this is not a comprehensive list, these are some of the most common elements that create negative air quality.
1. Poor Ventilation
When you have poor indoor air quality, proper ventilation is essential. Without it, the polluted air will continue to circulate throughout the facility. Without ventilation, harmful particles can accumulate on surfaces. When this happens, people with respiratory issues, like asthma or allergies, will have heightened symptoms. Fresh air is always a great option to keep health risks to a minimum. If your facility allows it, and the weather permits, opening windows can let fresh air in and help those inside remain healthy. There are also further steps you can take to encourage ventilation like installing an air filtration machine to keep air moving.
Do You know the pesky particles that accumulate on surfaces? They are one of the leading causes of poor indoor air quality. Dust is made up of all kinds of particles. The small particles gather together from hair to fibers and must be removed. However, dust does not just accumulate on surfaces. Dust can float along in the air until it finds a place to settle. Dust contamination devices are a great solution to help manage dust inside your facility.
Humidity is a tricky subject. It seems like something to avoid; however, it is necessary in trace amounts. People can experience dry skin, sore throats, and scratchy eyes without it. A facility with too much humidity can produce unwanted bacterial growth. Ensuring your facility has an adequate humidity level is good, but it can cause mold and fungi to grow when it gets too high. Your humidity level depends on the climate and is created through leaks or trapped water. Dehumidifiers can reduce humidity, while humidifiers can increase humidity. Depending on your facility, investing in one of these devices may help prevent biological growth or dry air.
4. Mold and Fungi
Initial mold spots will not immediately cause health problems, but when it grows or the spores travel, it can be a severe cause for concern. Even if the mold in your facility is small, you should take proactive steps to keep it from spreading. It is also essential to make sure that the mold spot was not a product of mold elsewhere. Mold is a leading cause of allergies and respiratory problems. Reducing the amount of humidity to a healthy level and increasing ventilation is one way to combat mold and fungi growth.
5. Carbon Monoxide
This is arguably one of the most dangerous factors on this list. Furnaces, and other fuel-burning appliances, emit this gas. When people are exposed to this gas, they can get carbon monoxide poisoning. Even worse, death is known to be a common result of carbon monoxide exposure. Suppose the health of those within your facility is your top priority. In that case, it is best practice to install a carbon monoxide detector so you can easily monitor gas levels and prevent health risks.
6. Everyday Chemicals
Whether we know it or not, we use chemicals frequently throughout the day. Air fresheners, cleaning products, paint, and flooring finishes all have harmful chemicals that can be released into the air. In your facility, chemicals, lead in some paints, and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) may be inescapable. However, reducing the number of chemicals and obtaining proper ventilation can help limit the negative effects of these elements.
Do You Know What’s in Your Air?
The factors that affect indoor air quality can seem to be endless. While it may be overwhelming, evaluating IAQ and focusing on a few specific areas of improvement can make positive IAQ in your facility a realistic, obtainable goal. Indifference will only lead to health problems that can negatively impact productivity. By utilizing systems and devices that can increase poor indoor air quality, you will be taking steps toward prioritizing health. Want to learn more about IAQ, common factors that affect it, and steps you can take to promote pure air? Download our Ultimate Guide to Indoor Air Quality today!