Is our indoor air clean? It’s a question that all of us should be asking ourselves regularly, especially since the Canadian weather makes us spend most of our time indoors. Unfortunately, since we can’t see the air, people simply don’t pay attention to indoor air quality until health issues, or a major incident, happens.
Luckily, there are signs that can tell us that something is wrong with the air we’re breathing and allow us to act.
Before we dive into the signs of poor air quality, I believe it’s important to clarify what this means. By definition, indoor air is considered to be poor quality when there is presence of pollutants, such as:
Any of these pollutants can be found in the air regularly, but they become toxic at high levels.
If you’ve been noticing that some areas of your building are unusually cold or hot, it could be a sign that the ventilation system (HVAC) is not working properly. In this case, it’s necessary to check the ventilation system to find the problem. Some of the most common are:
Lastly, if your HVAC system has incorrectly-sized ducts (whether they’re too big or too small) it has to work harder to circulate the air, resulting in hot and cold spots and a shorter life span for your ventilation system.
If you’ve noticed unpleasant smells and don’t know where they’re coming from, it could be your indoor air. Bad smells could be a sign of stagnant air and it is a clear sign that your HVAC system needs your attention. Usually with proper cleaning of the air ducts, the air will be clean and odourless again.
This could be trickier, since not everyone will develop symptoms due to poor air quality. However, if there are a significant number of building occupants being vocal about experiencing symptoms while being in the building, you should be alert because it could be a sign of a phenomenon known as sick building syndrome.
Some of the symptoms include :
Managers should pay special attention to this if occupants report that the symptoms go away after leaving the building, or when they’re away after longer periods of time. This could also mean that there could be a mild presence of carbon monoxide in the air. In this case, it’s important to ensure the CO2 meter is working properly..
At home, if you have trouble getting a good night of rest, it could be due to air pollution. Several studies have found a link between air quality, both indoors and outdoors, and sleep quality. Once again, giving your HVAC system a look and ensuring it’s working properly might be the answer to finally having a good sleep.
Indoor air quality has an impact on our health and well-being that many of us underestimate. If you’re noticing any of these signs at home or at your building, don’t wait until a major incident occurs. By having a health and safety plan that includes air quality preventive measures, you can tackle any health threat on time and have the peace of mind that you’re breathing clean air.
If you need help testing your air quality, Gasonic offers air quality equipment rental needed to monitor indoor air quality, and support from experts that will provide you with a solution suitable for your needs. Contact us to book a free assessment.
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