As the weather turns cooler, many of us will be spending more time indoors. While a cozy, heated building may provide a respite from harsh winter temperatures, indoor air quality can be a cause for concern if it isn’t monitored and treated correctly.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the average American spends about 90 percent of his or her time indoors, where the concentration of some pollutants is 2 to 5 times higher than outside. This means it is important to maintain high indoor air quality, especially for elderly individuals or those with cardiovascular or respiratory diseases.
The worst pollutants of indoor air include:
- Fire and combustion. Burning materials indoors—such as tobacco, wood and coal—can release combustion byproducts such as carbon monoxide and tiny pieces of particulate matter into the air.
- Household chemicals. Commonly used household chemicals, such as cleaning supplies, paints, and insecticides, can release irritating or even toxic fumes into the air.
- Building materials. Depending on a building’s construction materials and its age, various degrading materials may introduce pollutants into the indoor environment. These include asbestos fibers and chemical off-gassing from pressed wood products.
- Pets. Unfortunately, furry friends can be a cause of indoor air pollutants through releasing dander and allergens into the indoor air.
- Outdoor sources. If air is not filtered or exchanged properly, outdoor air pollutants can enter a building through ventilation systems or open doors and windows. These contaminants include smoke, pollen, dust and soils.
In addition to pollutants, infectious diseases such as influenza, tuberculosis and SARS can also be spread through HVAC systems that are not configured or monitored properly. It is likely that COVID-19 can be spread this way as well. It is critical to keep HVAC systems updated in order to maintain safe indoor air quality.
Life Balance Technologies helps hospitals and other companies easily analyze air quality conditions and effectively manage their HVAC systems. By streamlining the process for compliance, auditing, and reporting, we help reduce costs and save lives.