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The Most Common Sources Of IAQ Issues


Owning and managing a commercial property ensures one thing: every day will bring a new issue to light. Some days are filled with events that need immediate attention – a clogged toilet. Still others are felt with simple routines – changing furnace filters.

Some we recognize as important; they fall to the top of our lists. Others we forget about until they become a larger problem.

Indoor air quality often falls into the latter.

In most cases, maintenance and engineering managers understand the need for doing things to improve IAQ, but the reality of it comes down to timing. With only eight hours in the day, emergencies come first. Properly diagnosing IAQ issues and reviewing the most likely causes of these problems takes time. Understanding guidelines and discovering where things need to change takes determination. And on many days, time and determination are redirected elsewhere.

But that doesn’t make the problems go away.

Diagnostic technology – air quality monitors, thermal imaging systems, etc – can help you learn where your largest issues lie. And in a lot of cases, they fall into one of several areas. Common sources of IAQ issues include:

Air Supply Intakes

There are many ways your air supply intakes can cause problems to fester. They may simply not be receiving an adequate level of air volume. They are often a favorite place for birds, which can lead to taking in contaminated air.

Sub-Roof and Below-Grade Areas

These areas are often forgotten and can allow problems to build quickly. They are often subjected to moisture, which leads to biological growth. Crawl spaces can fill with water and allow it to puddle indefinitely, which is a breeding ground for allergens that can cause respiratory distress.

Storage Areas

These rooms are often closed to the rest of the building, but often harbor the most dangerous chemicals and equipment. Cleaning and other maintenance items – cleaners, paint supplies, even oil and gasoline are often stored, which can evaporate and release toxic vapors and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air supply.

HVAC Ducts

Ductwork is subjected to daily use. It provides heated and cooled air to all parts of the facility. It also takes in air supply often contaminated from the sources mentioned above. As this process occurs again and again over time, moisture, water, debris, chemicals and other materials can land on the ductwork and begin to fester. Biological growth can stick on many different substances, adhere to duct walls, loosen with the heating and cooling process, then enter the air supply.

Ensuring clean air and a healthy environment within your building can be as easy asking your professional HVAC maintenance provider to inspect and give a report based on your current building standards. Having the professionals write up list of services or items that can improve your indoor air quality, can give you the means to addressing the problems, one at a time if needed to keep on budget.

How safe is your indoor air quality?

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