According to the Environmental Protection Agency, or the EPA, the average American spends 93% of their life indoors, which breaks down to 87% indoors and 6% in automobiles. With this in mind, the air quality of our indoor environments plays a huge role in our health and wellbeing.
Some individuals may be more susceptible to the negative health effects associated with poor indoor air quality so it is important to provide them with a safe indoor environment. Short-term exposure can lead to minor irritations whereas long-term exposure can result in more severe diseases.
In this blog post, we’ll talk about the impact of indoor air quality, why it’s important, and ways to improve it within your facility.
How Indoor Air Quality Affects Us
The impact of indoor air quality is important for several reasons:
- The concentration of some pollutants is often 2 to 5 times higher indoors than outdoors.
- Those who are more susceptible to the effects of pollution, such as the very young, older adults, and individuals with compromised immune systems, tend to spend even more time indoors than the average person.
- Indoor concentrations of some pollutants have increased in recent decades due to energy-efficient building construction and increased use of synthetic building materials, furnishings, personal care products, pesticides, and household cleaners.1
The health effects that can occur as a result of poor indoor air quality include:
- Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat
- Headaches, dizziness, and fatigue
- Respiratory diseases
- Heart disease
Children have a higher risk of developing the negative health effects of poor indoor air quality due to their continuously developing bodies and the amount of time they spend in schools. Children with asthma are also at risk of asthma exacerbation and asthma attacks. Adults, too, can develop adult-onset asthma. The risks of asthma can result from exposure to allergens in the air such as dust mites, pests, pet dander, mold, and secondhand smoke.2
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality
To help improve your facility’s indoor air quality, we recommend:
- Keeping your facility clean
- Changing your HVAC filters
- Source control
- Allowing fresh air in
To start, a clean facility can significantly reduce the amount of allergens in the air. Consider decluttering unnecessary items and especially items that have not been used in the past six months or longer. Carpets and rugs should also be vacuumed at least once a week as they are top sources for collecting dust, dirt, and soils.
Next, HVAC, also known as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, filters should ideally be replaced every 90 days, but must still be checked at least once a month. These filters help to keep indoor air clean and help reduce the spread of disease in settings where people frequently come and go. Dirty air filters will reduce its effectiveness and won’t be able to capture as many contaminants.
The EPA states that an effective way to improve indoor air quality is to eliminate individual sources of pollution or to reduce their emissions. For example, sources that contain asbestos can be sealed or enclosed, and gas stoves can be adjusted to decrease their emissions. This method is considered to be more cost-effective than increasing ventilation.3
Lastly, allowing fresh air in your facility is a simple and quick way to improve indoor air quality. Fresh air generally has higher levels of oxygen and can dilute polluted or stale indoor air. If weather permits, simply open up your facility’s windows and allow fresh air to start circulating.
To learn more about the types of pollutants and whether they come from indoor or outdoor sources, click here to view our free resource.
Aside from our usual cleaning services, Commercial Cleaning Corporation also offers HVAC filter replacement as part of our handyman services. Our trained technicians can solve maintenance issues quickly and efficiently to maintain business productivity and help you avoid any inconveniences. If you would like a thorough facility cleaning to supplement the HVAC filter replacement, let us know by filling out this form and we’ll set you up for a free consultation or walkthrough.