Indoor air quality is one of the most important elements for a facility manager to consider. Air pollution does not just occur outside, but can be prevalent in your own facility. Neglecting inside air can lead to health, productivity, and maintenance problems. When it comes to air quality, it is important to make safe and efficient steps to ensure it is clean.
Why Dust Particles and Particulates Matter
Often, you will hear dust particles and particulate matter used interchangeably. Particulate matter is clearly defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a mixture of solid or liquid particles that are suspended in the air. When a particulate matter is smaller than 10 micrometers, it becomes small enough to inhale and can be harmful to the body. Particulate matter can vary in size and composition, but regardless of its nature, particulate matter can greatly decrease indoor air quality. Dust particles are an accumulation of finer particles like skin, hair, pollen, and fibers. Dust is always a factor and should be closely monitored to keep it from severely impacting indoor air quality.
Air quality has the power to affect major areas of our life and our facility. When the indoor air quality is poor, it can be detrimental to a person’s health and productivity and a facility’s HVAC system.
Indoor air quality can play a substantial role in a person’s health. When the air quality is poor, it can bring short-term health problems like headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and eye, throat, and nose irritation. Those with allergies and asthma can experience difficulty breathing and may have allergic reactions. However, poor indoor air quality can produce even greater health concerns such as respiratory and cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, cancer, and other long-term health conditions. For pregnant women and young children, it could cause developmental problems.
Wear and Tear on HVAC
While health is the primary concern with poor indoor air quality, the effects it can have on your HVAC system can have a pricey cost. When particulate matter and dust particles are not regulated, they can build up in your HVAC filters and clog your ducts. When this happens, your heat transfer is greatly hindered. If it goes for a long period of time without the proper maintenance, it will reduce your system’s performance and it may shorten its lifespan.
Another risk of poor air quality is the effects it has on those working within your facility. In fact, the EPA estimates that billions of dollars are lost every year due to the effects of poor air quality in the workplace. Healthy individuals can grow to experience absenteeism and low levels of productivity, resulting in higher operational costs. This does not even take into account the health effects of poor air quality on workers.
Circumstances That Cause Lower Air Quality
Now we understand some of the major effects of poor air quality. But what causes poor air quality? Normal day-to-day activities, both within and outside of our control, play a role in creating particulate matter and dust particles.
When dusting and cleaning are not routine tasks, the effects on your indoor air quality are much greater than you can see. When dusting is not frequent, the dust particles will accumulate and affect those with allergies and asthma. Microfiber cloth is the ideal dusting tool because it will trap the dust particles instead of kicking it back up into the air like feather dusters do. It is also important to note that hard surfaces are not the only areas where dust accumulates. Carpet, upholstered furniture, and rugs also need to be cleaned to ensure proper indoor air quality.
This probably does not come as a surprise, but if your facility is undergoing a renovation of any kind, it will negatively affect your indoor air quality. Power tools and equipment produce fumes full of carbon monoxide and other tasks create dust and debris. If there is a way to contain the construction project into an isolated area, it will decrease how far the particulate matter and dust particles will travel. When there is no plan in place, a construction site can have devastating results on your indoor air quality.
Some factors that affect indoor air quality are outside of our control. When they occur, you need to know how to combat its effects. One of these things is seasonal changes. During the spring months, temperatures and humidity rise, bringing excess pollen and dust with it. Summer heat creates a breeding ground for mold and carries into the fall season as plants begin to decay. During the winter, humidity plunges and heating systems roar, making the air dry. It is under these conditions that respiratory conditions are common. Making sure that your facility’s HVAC system is balanced and can combat poor air quality in every season is critical to the health of its occupants.
Day-to-Day Actions That Cause Extra Particulate Creation
In reality, most day-to-day activities and routines can create dust particles and particulate matter. Certain cleaning products, air fresheners, and space heaters can all emit pollutants into the air, decreasing its quality. If your facility has a kitchen, it is likely a source of air pollutants. When oil, fat, and other ingredients are heated, it can emit harmful particles. When a kitchen is not properly ventilated, it can cause new health problems and preexisting conditions to increase.
What You Can Do To Minimize These Risks
Improving ventilation is a crucial part of improving your facility’s air quality. Opening windows and doors to allow outside air into the building can reduce the number of indoor pollutants by moving them outside. Weather, outdoor air quality, and temperature can quickly prevent you from being able to open doors and windows for ventilation.
It is also important to ensure that your facility follows and prioritizes a cleaning routine to eliminate any dust particles. By implementing a quality cleaning routine and proper ventilation, your facility can obtain better air quality. Dusting and vacuuming can help remove any dust particles from surfaces.
Get Equipment That Can Help Maintain Good Air Quality
While ventilation and routine cleanings are great steps towards increasing indoor air quality, they will not remove every harmful particle. Utilizing proper commercial equipment can easily help you obtain good air quality for your facility. HEPA filtration cleaners can capture 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns or larger in size, making it a sure way to eliminate harmful particulate matter and dust particles. Choosing a powerful air purifier can be the most effective way to ensure clean air.
Better Your Facilities Air Quality
Our Ultimate Guide to Indoor Air Quality will go in-depth about the importance of good air quality and the risks associated with poor air quality. With this guide, you will be able to learn practical ways you can reduce harmful particles and equipment that can help you in the process. To help ensure the health and happiness of your facility’s occupants, check out our guide today!