The thing about air (and odors) is you can’t SEE them. But if you’ve walked into your office or conference room during the first cold week of the year and you can SMELL the heat, something’s up and it’s more than the thermostat. Often that smell is created as dust and dander, which have settled in the ductwork or on the heat exchange, are stirred up. As the heat comes on early in the cool months, this debris is burned off and moved into the living spaces of your work area. Simple steps like replacing the filter may alleviate the problem. Either way, getting a professional to provide a full diagnosis is your best course of action.
Depending on your tolerance for “talking about dirt” that explanation may satisfy you. Bear in mind that dirty heat exchangers and duct work can be cleaned and maintained to create a more healthy and comfortable indoor environment. This step may very well have the added benefit of improving the efficiency of your HVAC system and reducing some operational costs.
Indoor Air Quality
According to the EPA’s Science Advisory Board, indoor air pollution is among the top 5 environmental risks to public health. The results of poor IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) can be elusive. For people with respiratory weakness, the effects can show up very quickly, while for others it may take years of slow exposure. For those with a respiratory weakness, some evidence of a problem in IAQ can include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Often these can be alleviated with simple over-the-counter treatment and are often short-term. Other people may suffer much longer-term effects.
For many commercial spaces such as hospitality, apartments, nursing homes and restaurants, pest issues can be part of the problem. Among pest management professionals, it’s widely understood that dander and debris from mice, rats and cockroaches can trigger asthma attacks. All the more reason to maintain a clean system.
Solving vs. Treating
Regardless of where you go today or tomorrow, you’re going to breathe there. Since walking around with your own air supply would be absolutely crazy, let’s consider a more realistic option. Instead of treating the symptoms let’s solve the problem. While there is no single step to resolving or preventing poor IAQ, a strong component to assuring you and your employees are working in the healthiest environment available is a well-designed Preventative Maintenance program. As professionals, we study the findings of organizations like American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). In fact, this organization’s recommendations are often adopted as part of building codes.
Now that winter has settled in, your indoor air quality is more important than ever!
Contact Triton Mechanical and receive a full evaluation of your HVAC system.