The fresh air is good for us, but many of us don’t receive the amount of outdoor air our lungs and souls crave -- this is especially true as temperatures continue to fall. Indeed, in the U.S., we spend the vast majority of our time indoors throughout the year. And now, as winter settles in, we’ll spend even less time outside than we did during the spring, summer, and fall. While the advent of modern shelter and indoor heating allows us to stay warm all season long, there are some potential downsides to staying inside for extended periods of time. Namely, the air we breathe inside homes, apartments, and businesses can quickly become stale and riddled with pollutants. While it would be great to let some fresh air inside, the freezing temperatures are certainly not welcome. The question remains then: how can you ensure that the air you breathe indoors remains dynamic and contaminant-free for prolonged stays?
Let’s go over several ways to ensure better indoor air quality (IAQ) at your place of residence, business, or both.
You’ll have a hard time determining just how clean (or unclean) your indoor air is without some hard data. This is where indoor air quality meters come in handy. Investing in a modern IAQ monitoring system is essential for proper facility maintenance. Since the air we breathe is invisible, we need to rely on specialized sensors to let us know whether or not it’s optimized for occupant health and safety. As their name suggests, IAQ monitors keep track of various air quality parameters, such as concentration of pollutants (particulate matter), CO2 levels, traces of carbon monoxide, temperature and humidity levels, and more. Best of all, these monitors can also analyze this data, make automated adjustments, and suggest measures to improve overall IAQ. Think of your IAQ monitor(s) as your first line of defense against poor air quality.
As important as it is to remain aware of your facility’s current IAQ readings, this information is ultimately moot if you’re not prepared to do anything about it. To truly achieve cleaner air, you must invest in a high-quality air purification system for your building. The best air purifiers deliver a multi-layered response to indoor air pollution, greatly mitigating the amount of contaminants in the air for a given amount of space. The AirBOX indoor air purification system, for instance, deploys an activated carbon shield, antimicrobial filter, and certified HEPA filter to eliminate odors, inhibit the growth and transmission of microbes, and remove particular matter of 0.3 microns in size and larger. This American-made purification solution achieves 99.99% effectiveness against COVID pathogens and odors. Other air purifiers may use electrostatic air filters, UV-C light technology, etc. to keep the air inside a room as clean as possible. The unique specs, condition, and needs of your facility will determine which air purification and filtration solutions are best-suited for you.
You won’t want to start opening doors and windows in the middle of winter to improve air circulation, of course. That said, there are other ways to thoroughly ventilate your space, and they should also be taken into account. One way to introduce fresh outdoor air inside your facility without letting the cold air in is by optimizing mechanical ventilation via outdoor air intakes. The performance of this mechanical ventilation is especially important in kitchens and other facilities that produce high levels of heat, steam, smoke, etc. Investing in periodic HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) maintenance will help you keep these systems in check. This brand of building maintenance includes tasks such as:
Cleaning dirt and dust from components
Checking for dents and damage
Measuring noise levels
Adjusting belts and other components
Flushing heat exchangers
Calibrating automated systems
Tightening electrical connections
The pollutants that may be found inside your building don’t linger in the air forever -- eventually, they will land on surfaces and potentially recirculate. If you don’t regularly clean surfaces inside your building, then your overall IAQ will suffer. Soft, porous materials (i.e., fabric, carpeting) absorb contaminants more easily than hard, non-porous materials, though all surfaces require regular cleaning and disinfection to maintain a safe and healthy interior. It’s important to note, however, that some cleaning solutions can also contribute to indoor air pollution, which is why it’s important to invest in green cleaning solutions that contain no VOCs or other harmful airborne components.
Source control refers to efforts that eliminate potential sources of pollution and/or reduce their emissions. Source control measures may be deployed to remediate or seal toxic materials such as asbestos or adjust the level of harmful emissions from equipment like gas stoves. Generally speaking, source control is a more cost-effective way to maintain good IAQ than improving ventilation, since the latter often increases energy output. Still, both methods are worth consideration for improving IAQ.
The more you know about IAQ, the more control you’ll have. Some of the leading sources in these matters include the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These organizations offer advice and standardizations for IAQ to help homeowners, tenants, and business owners achieve a higher standard of air quality inside their walls -- their websites have also become useful resources for understanding ways to promote air disinfection for coronavirus as we all face this ongoing pandemic.
As our time indoors increases throughout the cold season, indoor air quality must continue to be addressed. At The Budd Group, our experts have the knowledge and tools to help our clients achieve cleaner air, no matter their specific needs or challenges. Let us help you breathe easier this winter with air quality monitoring, purification, HVAC, inspection, maintenance, repair, and compliance services. To learn more about our services and everything else that we do for our clients, give us a call today at 800-221-8158!
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