5 Ways to Improve your office’s indoor air quality (IAQ) During the COVID-19 Scenario

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5 Ways to Improve your office’s indoor air quality (IAQ) During the COVID-19 Scenario

Do you feel concerned about your office’s indoor air quality (IAQ)?

In such cases, you should look for the below signs:

  • lingering odors
  • excessive humidity
  • stale and stuffy air
  • molds appearing in damp spots
  • health issues like fatigue, headaches, nausea, skin problems or respiratory illness

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Amid the coronavirus outbreak, indoor air quality in offices has become the spotlight as more and more buildings focus on improving air quality. Many office buildings have significant air pollution sources since they are inadequately ventilated.

The COVID-19 virus can be transmitted from human to human through close contact and through tiny airborne droplets expelled into the air by a cough, sneeze, or simply by talking.

This problem will persist when you have an enclosed space and limited ability to socially distance at workplaces. Every commercial infrastructure should focus on doing the following:

  • modifying occupant behavior
  • improving the indoor environment

To improve indoor air quality, every facility team should create a safe and healthy work environment. According to the guidance provided by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), workplaces should manage their IAQ during the pandemic.

These guidelines are recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reveals that aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the air within office environments are possible and may likely cause risk to individuals if the spaces don’t have proper ventilation.

As the formal statement of ASHRAE, “ Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the air is sufficiently likely that airborne exposure to the virus should be controlled. Changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems, can reduce airborne exposures.”

The apparent question every employee should ask is: Are your facilities ready for occupancy as per the ASHRAE guidelines?

Modern buildings have efficient HVAC systems that control the airflow through space. They are charged with adequately conditioning the air occupant comfort and allowing proper functioning of equipment like computers.

Thus, HVAC systems are vital in controlling the bacteria present in the air that can have an impact on the potential spread of contaminants. Before you join your office, consider the following checklist:

  • inspect, replace and clean filters daily
  • ventilate your facility properly
  • control adequate temperature and humidity
  • install environmental sensors
  • conduct regular health checks
  • Regular housekeeping is a must!

Air filtration cannot be neglected, especially during this situation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Rating Value) rating of 13 at a minimum. It is a standard method for classifying filters.

The older HVAC systems with MERV 7 or MERV 11 cannot provide sufficient filtration. However, the MERV rating increases the load on the HVAC system and adds extra energy penalties.

Filters should be cleaned and replaced regularly to avoid clogging and get rid of dust, vapors, bacteria, fungi, and other contaminants that can trigger health problems.

Pro tip: Opt for HEPA filters with MERV values between 17-20 to effectively capture harmful particles.

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  • Allow fresh air to enter

Adequate ventilation at the workplace can keep the virus at bay. It simply controls the spread of the virus and dilutes airborne contaminants.

As per the CDC, offices should enable natural ventilation to increase outdoor air dilution of indoor air by opening windows if possible. There are many offices wherein natural ventilation may not be possible. Such places have a fixed window and doors for fire, security, and entry doors that need to be closed appropriately as per local codes.

Find ways to bring in natural air rather than relying on your HVAC system.

  • Maintain indoor humidity

Dry, cool air revolving in the workspace can create the highest risk for airborne transfer of COVID-19.

Experts have recommended maintaining indoor humidity between 40-60% to limit the spread of the virus. There has been no study on the specific indoor temperature at this point.

However, temperature and humidity are closely linked, and it’s essential to monitor both to manage the optimal environment at offices. Try to maintain a balance between the two to limit transmission.

  • Deploy IAQ sensors

These sensors will help you detect the environmental conditions in specific areas of your company. It has an unparalleled ability to monitor and measure IAQ in real-time.

Along with this, it can simultaneously find values for humidity, temperature, CO2, equivalent volatile organic compounds (VOCs), light levels, sound, and occupancy, giving you all necessary information about your environmental quality.

On the other hand, systems environmental fusion sensors will help monitor congestion on the floor and alert employees when readings exceed predefined limits. This is a smart alternative to help offices deliver a safe and healthy work environment.

  • Frequent facility health checks

Looking at the current situation, daily HVAC system check-ups and regular housekeeping should be a priority. It’s essential to conduct a routine health check if the HVAC fans and air ducts are operational.

Inspect the IAQ levels and filters using these sensors as you start your day. It’s important to check if your exhaust fans and ducts are functioning efficiently. Blocked fans and ducts are a risk in areas of congestion like your conference or restrooms.

Despite the current situation, checking indoor air quality should be a norm to ensure the utmost safety of your facility.

The main rule is to create the best possible environment for our employees. In short, building inspection and HVAC maintenance are necessary to manage COVID-19. Ensure your daily housekeeping regime includes strict inspection of the building and premises to mitigate the problems associated with indoor air quality.

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For building inspection:

  • Undergo thorough visual inspection of the entire building along with maintenance, storage, and mechanical areas to prevent all sources of contamination.
  • Look for the source of pollution outside that is likely impacting your ventilation system or water leakage, causing water to get into the building or the HVAC system.
  • Be careful if you’re using any cleaning products inside the building. Make sure it’s properly sealed and stored.
  • Consider using low-odor cleaning products.
  • Identify signs of moisture to prevent mold and mildew growth.
  • Investigate areas damaged by water immediately.
  • Pay heed to a musty smell revolving in the room.
  • Ask for a professional and qualified professional to inspect and maintain your HVAC.

For HVAC maintenance:

Air conditioning repairs

  • Check if all your performing systems are operational to reduce the chances of mold growth and prevent clogging.
  • Opt for advanced designed systems that enable adequate ventilation to prevent contaminants from entering into the building.
  • Clean the dust build up on the equipment and ductwork to prevent toxic particles from circulating throughout the building.
  • Conduct commercial air conditioning repairs and tune-ups to improve equipment performance and reduce humidity.
  • Discover ventilation design issues by relocating intakes, adding makeup air, or moving ductwork.

uct commercial air conditioning repairs and tune

  • Use humidity control devices to keep moisture at safe levels.

Researchers have speculated that both droplets and aerosols generated from non-violent and violent expirations of SARS-CoV-2-infected people may be responsible for the airborne transmission of COVID-19 disease.

However, these droplets could make their way into your HVAC system and impact the indoor air quality.

Remember this:

Always inspect the design, performance, and condition of your HVAC system.

Rely on experts who are familiar with your product, HVAC system, and the process. Kindly contact Vital AC Solutions anytime to know more about our services, including emergency commercial air conditioning repair or other services in Broward County and Palm Beach County in Florida and surrounding areas.



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