Your HVAC System and Indoor Air Quality

Published On: March 11, 20230 Comments on Your HVAC System and Indoor Air QualityTags: Last Updated: January 26, 20245.1 min read

Your building’s health is determined to a large extent by its indoor air quality. Enhancing indoor air quality benefits your productivity and bottom line in addition to the health of your building’s residents. We’ll briefly discuss the importance of indoor air quality and the challenges you face before moving on to some strategies you may use to improve it.

kid with allergy

The term “indoor air quality” (IAQ) refers specifically to how temperature, humidity, and other comparable variables affect people’s health, comfort, and productivity. A thorough guide on indoor air quality was developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) in collaboration with architects, building owners and managers, and technicians.

ASHRAE identifies nine root causes of poor indoor air quality.

  1. Building construction and design
  2. The building has not been commissioned, i.e.., tested, to determine if it functions for its tenants.
  3. Interior contaminant sources
  4. Dirty, dusty and clogged and damp ventilation systems,
  5. Equipment, and activities that increase indoor contamination
  6. Inadequate ventilation rates,
  7. Poor filtration and air cleaning,
  8. Moisture in the building enclosure, and
  9. Poor outdoor air quality

How to recognize that your HVAC system is detrimental to your indoor air quality

  • Air-conditioned rooms feel very humid, like a refrigerator

Cooling the air and preserving a comfortable humidity level for people are the two basic goals of air conditioning systems. Unfortunately, a lot of air conditioning systems are just temperature-based; when the unit is huge, the target temperature is attained quickly, but there isn’t enough time for humidity to be efficiently eliminated.

  • The temperature of the air varies dramatically

There is yet another element that could be uncomfortable, and it has an impact on both heating and cooling systems, especially when they are big. Temperature fluctuations shouldn’t happen often, but they can happen if heating and cooling equipment is set to be larger than necessary.

  • Air is blowing at abnormally high speeds

The effects of humidity and velocity, as well as the temperature itself, on thermal perception are very significant. In other words, air that flows too quickly can be as uncomfortable as air that is too cold. Unreasonably large fans or high air duct pressure are frequently to blame for drafty indoor conditions. When a fan or other motor-driven device’s maximum output is not needed, electrical devices known as variable frequency drives (VFDs) can ramp down the speed of the motor. Because both high air pressure and speed waste energy, using VFDs in ventilation systems allows for greater control of airflow while also saving a lot of money.

girl with allergy

Building-related illnesses (BRI) and sick building syndrome (SBS)

The term “Sick Building Syndrome” (SBS) refers to a condition when building occupants endure health problems in direct proportion to the amount of time they spend indoors. SBS is used to describe inhabitants’ poor general health, including things like allergies and migraines, rather than any particular diseases. Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) symptoms have been in the news a lot lately. No, the structure itself isn’t unhealthy; rather, it’s the potential for individuals to become ill as a result of it.

It refers to acute symptoms that people have in a particular location and which go away when they leave. Some of the symptoms that come to mind are exhaustion, headaches, breathing issues, or irritated skin, eyes, nose, and throat. Where there is insufficient ventilation, significant levels of indoor pollution, and unfavorable temperatures, they frequently occur. Individuals with building-related illnesses (BRI) may have comparable symptoms and improve after leaving the contaminated area.

What might be in my air?

You must be aware of your obstacles if you want to improve your indoor air quality. Most indoor air pollutants are divided into three categories: biological (such as bacteria, mold, and viruses such the coronavirus/COVID-19), chemical (such as emissions from the outside environment and off-gassing from interior sources), and particles like dust and smoke.

How can I make my indoor air quality better?

Various contaminants call for different approaches. Testing for indoor air quality (IAQ) identifies the exact pollutants and chemicals you are exposed to. Starting with indoor air quality testing is the most straightforward and complete strategy. A few HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) companies. Many factors, such as humidity, the presence of dangerous substances or microorganisms, a lack of fresh air, and insufficient temperatures, might have an impact on SBS. Yet, ineffective HVAC performance is frequently a common factor. Certain HVAC companies, like AC repair Olathe are equipped with the necessary tools, have the necessary knowledge, and can carry out these tests. To learn more, speak with a HVAC contractor near you.

Can my HVAC system improve my indoor air quality?

Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system can reduce and possibly even get rid of several common air pollutants, including the coronavirus/COVID-19. While commercially available indoor air quality testing may not be able to identify viruses, you can still capture and neutralize them utilizing disinfection methods like plasma and UV.

While designing and installing a new system, HVAC specialists have a variety of objectives.

  • Do an indoor air quality (IAQ) test to find the sources of the pollution.
  • Put into action the test results’ suggestions:
  • Eliminate the causes of indoor contamination.
  • Rule out moist building enclosures and unclean or damp ventilation systems.
  • Make use of your HVAC system to enhance the quality of the air within your home.

Why indoor quality air matters

If you’ve been following along, we’ve already gone into great detail on why indoor air quality is important. In case you missed it, let’s quickly summarize:

  • Increased performance and productivity,
  • Decreased turnover and absenteeism,
  • Improved returns on investments (ROI), and
  • Improved triple bottom line are all benefits of good indoor air quality. It also
  • Improves occupant health and experience in the area.

On the other hand, poor indoor air quality compromises the health and comfort of building occupants and reduces performance and productivity. It also invariably decreases occupancy and rents, increases the likelihood of legal action, fines, and negative press, and burdens economies with billions of dollars in medical expenses and lost wages.

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