IAQ News

Clean Air Month Raises Indoor Air Quality Awareness

Clean Air Month is celebrated each May. It originally began as Clean Air Week sponsored by the American Lung Association (ALA) in 1972. The original intention to bring awareness to the connection between clean air and respiratory health remains unchanged. In 1994 the campaign was expanded to a whole month! Why Air Quality is Important The condition of the air affects the health and well-being of all living things. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reports that air pollution kills more than 6 million people a year worldwide. About one third of these deaths are from cardio pulmonary ailments such as chronic respiratory disease, lung cancer and stroke! The quality of outside air varies depending on a myriad of external factors like industrialization and prevailing weather conditions. This can make it hard from people to avoid certain pollutants while outdoors. However, the indoor environment is more easily controlled. Therefore, it has better air quality, right? Well, yes and no. Clean Air Month also brings focus to indoor air quality (IAQ). Consider that humans spend 90% of our ...
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/ IAQ Learning Institute

HVAC Deferred Maintenance Costs More in the Long Run

HVAC deferred maintenance is a serious problem that often goes overlooked. Building owners or managers think they are saving money. But in reality, the hidden costs of HVAC deferred maintenance compound over time. The Domino Effect HVAC deferred maintenance impacts building operations and occupant safety. When one area of the HVAC gets compromised other areas begin to get knocked down too. Let’s take a look at how these key areas create a chain reaction that leads to higher operating costs. Indoor Air Quality Suffers The main function of the HVAC system is to exchange air in a building and regulate comfort. Filters are responsible for keeping the air clean. If filters are not regularly changed they become clogged. This restricts airflow and static pressure. So, particulates then get into the unit. This happens through gaps in the filter housing or worse, holes in the cabinet. Particulates build up on the inside components like the walls, blower motor housing, drain pan and especially the coils. When coils get dirty airflow and static pressure are again compromised. So, it ...
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/ IAQ Learning Institute

Minimize Asthma and Allergy Triggers Within the Built Environment

Buildings are havens for asthma and allergy triggers. This article will take a look at how to identify and minimize their impact to occupants. Everybody knows how outdoor air affects seasonal allergies. But what about indoor air quality? Even with the most rigorous housekeeping allergy triggers still thrive indoors. Asthma and allergies affect more than 60 million people in the United States. Allergy triggers cause symptoms like irritated eyes, runny noses and headaches to full blown asthma attacks in those who are sensitive. Let’s explore some common allergens and where to find them. Asthma & Allergy Triggers There are many different kinds of allergens. It’s important to have knowledge of their origin and prevalence to reduce their impact. Common Indoor Allergens
  • Pollen Grains
  • Plant Fibers
  • Mold Spores
  • Nuisance Dust
  • Skin Cells
  • Animal Hair/Dander
  • Insect Detritus
  • Synthetic Fibers/Fiberglass
  • Chemicals/Dyes
There are two basic sources of indoor allergens: Airborne and Surface. Surface materials that are actively growing mold are a serious concern. Let’s take a closer look at how they get in and where they are most ...
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Birds Affect HVAC Systems and Human Health

Breathing dust or water droplets containing contaminated bird droppings can lead to several diseases, including a pulmonary disease called Cryptococcosis. Birds affect HVAC systems and equipment in many ways. Some ways are obvious. Others? Not so much. Let’s take a look at how birds affect HVAC systems from a mechanical and building health standpoint. HVAC units located on a roof (RTUs) are most likely affected by birds. Much like other rooftop equipment they weather the elements year round. RTUs are the perfect place for birds to roost and even nest. A frequent population of birds wreaks havoc on RTUs and leads to health issues for occupants. Birds Affect HVAC Equipment There are a variety of birds that cause HVAC problems. Some birds like geese are migratory. Other birds like house sparrows, pigeons and starlings make rooftops their homes everywhere. Of these, Pigeons are the biggest problem. This is because of their large, social populations. Aside from being a general nuisance, birds affect HVAC equipment in specific ways. Filters & Coils Bird debris and fecal matter degrades air ...
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Healthy School Environments Recognized

Each April the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) focuses on the importance of the educational indoor air quality(IAQ) with National Healthy Schools Day. National Healthy Schools Day was founded in 2002 by the Healthy Schools Network. Its main purpose is to raise awareness about the important roles IAQ  and indoor environmental quality (IEQ) play in successful educational outcomes. The EPA supports the event along with many other agencies and organizations. This year National Healthy Schools Day was on April 2. But generally, the entire month of April is a launchpad to put healthy school environments in the spotlight. Showcasing IAQ in schools is important because many education facilities face challenges when it comes to ensuring healthy school environments. Schools often face budget shortfalls and are forced to defer regular maintenance. So, buildings fall into a state of disrepair. When not addressed promptly IAQ issues can quickly escalate with a negative impact on students and staff. What the EPA Says The EPA cites, “Evidence from schools and office building studies demonstrate that various environmental conditions are closely ...
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