As a business owner, you’re likely concerned with the health of your company but not might consider how much indoor air quality impacts you and your employees. Practically no matter where your company is located, it’s susceptible to pollution from the outside, such as industrial byproducts, motor vehicle emissions, and construction activity. We don’t often stop to consider how those can stealthily creep inside, and, that means it could have adverse consequences on you and your employees.
Although strides are underway to make outdoor, and thereby indoor, air quality better, we still must deal with existing conditions. In fact, the problem is so large, that the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that indoor air quality might be as much as 2 to 5 times worse than outdoors.
Why Indoor Air Quality Matters to Your Business
Even though the Clean Air Act was enacted more than fifty years ago, and many technological advances have been made since, work spaces are still plagued by poor air quality. One such example can be found in the prevalence of volatile organic compounds, or, VOCs. These are gasses which are emitted from liquids and solids alike, traveling through the air and eventually finding their way into your lungs.
The quality of indoor air inside offices, schools, and other workplaces is important not only for workers’ comfort but also for their health. Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) has been tied to symptoms like headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Also, some specific diseases have been linked to specific air contaminants or indoor environments, like asthma with damp indoor environments. —Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Common commercial cleaning products, office equipment and electronics, carpet, furniture, upholstery, and more all produce VOCs. Improving your business’ indoor air quality is quite important because it has a direct impact on your and your employees’ productivity. Poor indoor air quality can cause itching, coughing, watery eyes, headaches, dizziness, ear infections, skin rashes, throat irritation, and even nausea, vomiting, and other health conditions.
The good news is, you can take preventative steps to improve the indoor air quality in your business. Here are five steps you can take:
- Install the right filters. This can’t be emphasized enough because it is so important. Many business owners go for the least expensive filters, which seems to make a lot of financial sense, but, it is actually the opposite. While you don’t necessarily need the most expensive, you do need to regularly change your filters and use the most effective ones.
- Clean your air ducts. To keep you and your employees comfortable and in good health, your air ducts ought to be cleaned periodically. This will also have the added benefit of using less power, which will in-turn, lower your utility bill.
- Use green cleaners. Harsh chemicals just aren’t necessary to clean. Instead, use green cleaners and you’ll avoid more of those volatile organic compounds.
- Don’t mask odors. Forgo trying to mask odors, because these too, release VOCs, and, your HVAC system will distribute them throughout your business.
Lastly, you ought to have your HVAC system regularly maintained. Not only will this improve indoor air quality, it will help to keep costs down, and help prevent big, unexpected expenses. You’ll know about potential issues and be able to address them proactively.