You might think of your commercial HVAC system as simply space heating and cooling, but did you know the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) of your property could be a risk for Sick Building Syndrome. It is, in fact, a real phenomenon.
In this blog, we’ll review what it is, how serious it can get, the power you have to address it and the tools at your disposal. Don’t worry. The Energy Savers Commercial team is here to help solve and prevent these issues.
Sick Building Syndrome: Is This for Real?
Various symptoms which affect occupants of the same building describe Sick Building Syndrom. It increases absences due to sickness and decreases worker productivity. So prevalent, it’s now regarded as a major occupational hazard.
It’s easy to understand why this confounds so many people. Easily overlooked as cold, flu or allergy symptoms, workers experience headaches, dizziness, nausea, eye, nose or throat irritation, dry cough, fatigue and difficulty in concentration. The majority of these mild complaints resolve soon after leaving the building.
In the most extreme cases of sick building syndrome, however, chest pain, edema, nosebleeds, cancers, pregnancy issues including miscarriages, Legionnaires’ disease, pneumonia and occupational asthma have occurred.
How to Combat Sick Building Syndrome
First, consider the air occupants breathe. Legionnaires’ disease, for instance, is often traced to the contamination of cooling towers with Legionella organisms. The same organism is responsible for Pontiac fever.
Legionnaires’ commonly strikes middle-aged and elderly adults whereas young healthy adults are more likely to contract Pontiac fever. You may have a humidifier installed within your HVAC system to address dry air indoors.
While in the south we’re typically focused on the abundance of humidity and dehumidifiers for air conditioning, dry air contributes to static electricity. While annoying to people, static electricity is often a real concern in industrial, office and other commercial areas.
Breathing in microorganisms from water droplets are known to cause various respiratory infections, asthma and allergies.
Schedule Commercial HVAC Service
In addition to the benefits to the energy-efficiency of your heating and cooling, it’s important to clean all the components.
When your technician cleans drain lines and condensate pans, for example, it reduces the chance of the type of contaminants which breed in stagnant water. Commercial HVAC technicians also commonly discover insect, bird and rodent droppings.
These biological pollutants are guilty of symptoms like fever, chills, coughs and allergic reactions.
Change Your Air Filters
Air filter maintenance is good for two reasons. First, clean air filters allow maximum airflow through your heating and cooling systems. Clogged filters, however, strain your equipment and prematurely age it. Second, when pollutants like pollen, dander, bacteria, viruses, fungi and mold continue to circulate through the air ducts, the same problems repeatedly surface.
Indoor Air Quality and Sick Building Syndrome
Remember when Grandma encouraged you to “air out the house?” Imagine the same concept twenty steps farther. In many commercial settings, ventilation is key.
During the 1970s, building codes responded to the oil embargo with more airtight structures. This effort to increase energy efficiency also reduced ventilation to inadequate levels to maintain the health and comfort of occupants.
In response to the new ventilation levels of 5 cfm/person, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers revised standards to a minimum outdoor airflow of 15 cfm/person, or 20 cfm/person for office spaces and 60 cfm/person where smoking is allowed.
Commercial Ventilation System
If you suspect ventilation is a problem, ask our commercial team to weigh in. They can perform various tests to determine, along with the building’s construction and history, where improvements are most impactful.
Rid Your Commercial Property of Sick Building Syndrome with the Energy Savers Commercial Team
Since 1977, Energy Savers has helped home and commercial property owners and managers achieve ultimate heating efficiency and comfort for residential and commercial properties.
We also service and repair all brands of HVAC equipment and provide air quality solutions for commercial, industrial and residential sites.
If you would like to schedule a tune-up or repair for your heating and air system, please call us. We offer free estimates and when you are ready to upgrade to a new energy-efficient system, we also offer installation and finance options.
Energy Savers provides quality customer service and energy-efficient commercial HVAC products in and around Columbus, Georgia as well as Opelika and Auburn, Alabama. To send “sick building syndrome” packing, call us for HVAC and indoor air quality help today.