How Indoor Air Quality Can Impact Our Health.

With hay fever in full flow by now for many, it’s clear that the air around us has the power to impact our health.

But sometimes, and especially indoors, it can do so without immediate symptoms and, in the bustle of our everyday work lives, we don’t always realise that our air quality is doing us harm. Let’s find out what we mean by this!

Why is indoor air quality important?

It’s up to both the employer and the employee to stay alert and monitor how indoor air quality can impact our health in the workplace. Why? Because poor indoor air quality can cause breathing problems, headaches, eye and skin irritations, nausea, dizziness and fatigue as well as negatively affecting ones mental health.

According to studies, the level of indoor pollutants is usually two to five times higher than that of outdoor levels. In some cases, indoor pollutants can be 100 times more damaging than outdoor equivalents.

Poor quality air from sources such as dirty air vents or filters can affect your health negatively in several ways, immediately and in the long term. We recommend you spend 2 minutes refreshing yourself on how often you should clean or change air filters. It could save a life.

If employees are coping with a decline in health, it can often be hard to pinpoint why. So, it’s time to get aware of how IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) can affect us, and take steps to improve it.

How to improve indoor air quality.

There are various factor the we feel are crucial for businesses to understand if they are to get on top of their indoor air quality.

Employers need to know – what factors contribute to IAQ:

  • Indoor air can be dangerous when it contains carbon monoxide, ozone, radon, asbestos, VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and other dangerous gases.

 

Some of the common causes of a reduction in IAQ:

  • Poorly maintained HVAC systems.
  • Mould problems, mainly from flooding or leaks.
  • Outdoor pollutants coming into the building.
  • Cleaning chemicals and sanitary products.
  • Mechanical equipment.
  • Painting and renovations such as new carpets and furniture.

Important things to consider when looking at your indoor air quality.

When you look into your workplace and attempt to monitor how indoor air quality can impact our health, put on your Detective Hat and consider these crucial things:

  • Check the HVAC system is working correctly.
  • Consider the air movement pathways in your building and make sure that things such as furniture are not blocking any air vents or that outdoor units (condensers) are not covered by debris such as leaves and dirt.
  • Think about the building’s air pressure – keeping air pressure slightly positive prevents outdoor air from entering.
  • Check the building’s temperature. The comfort range is 18-22°C. We recommend the slightly cooler temperature if you are trying to save money or your energy bills!
  • Compare the pattern of complaints. If multiple employees are reporting something from the same location, or at the same time of day, check it out!
  • Investigate work processes that could emit air contaminants.

Crucial things for employees to know!

It’s important to understand that every one of us can create, or contribute to, indoor air quality hazards. Employees need to know how to avoid contributing to indoor air pollution if a business is to combat this annoyance once and for all.

Do your part to keep hazards reduced by considering these things:

  • Don’t wear too much perfume or cologne.
  • Don’t smoke or vape indoors.
  • Don’t block air vents.
  • Dispose of food waste and rubbish the right way. Do you know how strong a banana peel can be?
  • Let your supervisor know about potential air-quality issues or if you are starting to feel physically or mentally unwell.

Finding the right solution to solve your indoor air quality problems.

How do you ensure that your employees are provided with enough clean air at a comfortable temperature to be both productive and healthy, whilst using the least amount of energy possible?

This is where an MVHR (Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery Unit) working in tandem with air conditioning can play such an effective role. There are various types of ventilation systems in buildings viable for improving IAQ, but MVHR is definitely the most efficient.

MVHRs are specifically designed to deliver fresh air to a building whilst simultaneously extracting stale air in the most energy-efficient way. They do this using advanced heat recovery technology.

As stale air is extracted from a building, up to 80% of the temperature of the outgoing air is recovered and transferred to the incoming fresh air, keeping the building at a comfortable temperature and helping reduce overall energy costs. Click the link if you would like to find out all there is to know about MVHR systems!

Discover 5 other reasons why you should invest in ventilation installation.

More than just a breath of fresh air.

When you consider that 90% of business operating costs are staff-related, applying small changes to the working environment can either help or hinder business growth and success.

We’ve already seen various health implications associated with poor indoor air quality, ranging from respiratory problems to discomfort and even time off work.

It has been estimated that businesses can achieve an 11% increase in productivity thanks to the reduction of airborne pollutants and the delivery of fresh air to workstations.

But it’s not just about productivity. At the end of the day, businesses have a duty of care to look after their employees and ensure they are working in an environment that doesn’t adversely impact their health.

Using the correct MVHR system means that moisture, humidity and temperature are always kept in balance to deliver a comfortable internal environment that reduces the likelihood of employees suffering from airborne illnesses.

With many new buildings designed to be airtight to help improve energy efficiency, the idea of installing more technology that is constantly running can be seen as counterproductive.

However, because MVHR units recover the heat or cooling that would normally be lost as part of the ventilation process, energy wastage is in fact reduced in airtight buildings and an estimated 30% can be saved on heating or cooling bills.

Couple this with an MVHR system’s thermal efficiency of 95% and you can save an additional 30% on overall running costs, deliver excellent energy efficiency, and provide a healthy environment for your building occupants.

Leave your indoor air quality testing to the experts.

Although it’s crucially important to know how indoor air quality can impact our health and how managers and employees can help with indoor air quality issues, if you’re unsure whether your indoor air quality is up to par, contact us immediately. At Mid-Tech Services, we are award-winning specialists at recommending, installing, and maintaining equipment that can improve your safety, comfort and indoor air quality.

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