Indoor air quality has never been more important. So, if you want better IAQ in the buildings you own or manage, you need to take control. Here are five ways to help you get better indoor air quality.
5 Steps to Better IAQ
1. Understand the Indoor Environment
As the COVID-19 pandemic grew in early 2020, the science was unclear as to how this deadly virus spread. However, studies later proved that the coronavirus spread, in part, by airborne transmission. Research also pointed to the fact that airborne viruses stay suspended in the air for hours at a time. It was also confirmed that the virus can survive on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for up to three days. Both air airborne and surface threats of SARS-CoV-2 impact the health of building occupants. Therefore, businesses must take steps to disinfect surfaces and clean HVAC systems. Proper air filtration not only limits harmful pathogens but also allergens such as dust and pollen as well as volatile organic compounds. Removing these particulates leads to better IAQ.
2. Categorize Your IAQ Needs
Because industries vary they face different IAQ challenges. This is important for facilities managers to understand in order to eliminate harmful particulates. As a part of the United States Clean Air Act, the EPA identifies six main pollutants requiring elimination. These include:
- Particulate matter
- Ground-level ozone
- Carbon monoxide
- Sulfur oxides
- Nitrogen oxides
Managers and building engineers must identify these pollutants in their facilities and take appropriate action to eliminate them for better indoor air quality. Proper air filtration is a way to reduce, not just chemical pollutants, but bacteria, fungi, mold, pollen, and viruses.
3. Identify Contamination Risk Sources
To eliminate contaminants, you must find their source. This allows managers to devise the right action plan. As the COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of letting up, this becomes even more critical. However, viruses are not the only thing preventing better IAQ. Other issues remain as well. These include:
The presence of certain pollutants depends on the industry, but also location. Therefore, no one-size-fits-all solution or remediation plan exists. VOCs may pose a larger problem for some, but not others.
Common sources for VOCs include, but are not limited to:
- Paint and varnishes
- Vinyl flooring
- Composite wood
- Building materials
- Upholstery, carpeting, and drapes
- Copy machines
- Cleaning products
Depending on the industry, soot, dust, smoke, and dirt may also affect the indoor air quality of a facility. Course pollutants are between 0.1 and 2.5 micrometers while particles may be as fine as 0.1 micrometers. These ultra fine particles can lead to health conditions such as heart attacks and respiratory diseases including lung cancer.
4. HVAC Hygiene Assessment
One way to gain better IAQ is with a complete HVAC assessment. The assessment provides insight into the impact of the HVAC system and leads to better IAQ. When HVAC systems get dirty over time performance drops. This leads to more maintenance calls and higher energy costs. It also reduces the system’s effectiveness in removing harmful pathogens. An assessment includes a visual inspection, the collection of samples from within the AHU, and performance testing. A detailed report follows which gives managers the information they need to make improvements. Regular inspection and monitoring leads to better indoor air quality.
5. Monitor Particles and Other Parameters
Because particulate matter poses such great health risks, monitoring is important to controlling their levels. For example, a program like IAQ Guard is an effective way to track environmental conditions and get better IAQ. The system provides real-time IAQ data on temperature, relative humidity, total volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, CO2, and other gasses. In short, this data helps facilities managers establish standards for indoor air quality and keep building occupants safe.
Get Better IAQ Today
We provide services to improve IAQ, reduce energy costs and the risk of virus spreads. Contact Pure Air Control Services today. Call 1-800-422-7873 or email us here.