How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Did you know poor IAQ or indoor air quality can affect the health of your occupants and visitors? Keeping the air in your facility clean is vital to occupant comfort and health. Find out how to remove viruses, mold, dust, and other air pollutants in this article.

Did you know poor IAQ, or the indoor air quality, can affect the health of your occupants and visitors? Keeping the air in your facility clean is vital to occupant comfort and health. Find out how to remove viruses, mold, dust, and other air pollutants in this article by learning how you can improve indoor air quality at your business’s facility.

What are the Downsides of Poor Air Quality?

IAQ, or the indoor air quality of your building, has a big impact on your occupants. Poor indoor air quality can create discomfort and illness amount the people in your building. Sometimes it can even lead to health issues that seemingly have no direct cause, meaning that fresh air is crucial for the well- being of everyone in your facility.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) refers to this as “sick building syndrome,” which is used to describe situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building. There are numerous causes for sick building syndrome including chemical and biological contaminants, but inadequate ventilation and poor air quality are notable sources of discomfort for many.

These symptoms typically include, but are not limited to: 

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Irritation of nose, throat, and eyes
  • Respiratory diseases

Depending on the type of facility you manage, this can create several issues.

Poor IAQ in schools can create long and short-term health effects for students and staff, which can affect their performance. Students that are affected by poor air quality may have reduced attendance, comfort, and performance. Given how students attend school with the primary purpose of learning, poor air quality can inhibit their growth and development in the classroom.

For businesses, employees can also be affected by poor indoor air quality which can cost tens of billions of dollars each year because of reduced worker productivity and illnesses. Poor air quality can also be detrimental to the well-being and experience of customers who visit your facility.

Up until recently, improving indoor air quality wasn’t a high priority for many businesses. However, as COVID-19 surged, more people realized the importance of clean air since illnesses including COVID, the flu, and the common cold are spread through the air.

While COVID-19 has been around since 2019, removing the virus (SARS-CoV-2), and other contaminants, like dust, allergens, and other illness-causing germs is still as important as ever.

If there is one concept that will last well past the current COVID-19 surge, it is the importance of improving indoor air quality. Before we tell you how to improve your building’s indoor air quality, let’s review:

What is Indoor Air Quality?

Indoor air quality refers to the number of pollutants inside and around the outside of your facility. The air outside of your facility contributes to the quality of air inside your facility because ventilation systems allow air to pass into your building. If there are high levels of air pollution outside of your building, your indoor pollutant levels will also likely be high.

What Are the Most Common Air Pollutants? 

There are many pollutants that linger in the air that we breathe every day. Some of the indoor pollutants that cause poor indoor air quality include:

  • Bacteria, Mold, and Viruses
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Dirt and Dust, Including Dust Mites
  • Building Materials
  • Outdoor Sources (such as tobacco products, etc.)
Poor indoor air quality impacts concentration and performance.

Poor indoor air quality impacts concentration and performance, among many other factors for an individual’s well-being and performance. Allergens, like mold, can cause musty odors and are linked to health issues like headaches, allergic reactions, and respiratory discomfort.

In this article, we’ll explain the benefits of using an air purifying system to help you understand if it might be a good indoor air quality solution for your facility.

How Can You Improve Indoor Air Quality?

The best way to improve indoor air quality is to reduce the number of pollutants that are present in the air.

While this can be done in several ways, some of the most popular include:

  • Increase ventilation. There are several ways to accomplish this including opening windows and doors to create natural ventilation allowing fresh air into your building.
  • Have your building’s HVAC (Increased Filtration and Purification Technologies) systems inspected to ensure it is operating properly. Make repairs and upgrades if needed.
  • Check and clean or replace air filters.
  • Clean and maintain your facility on a regular basis, reducing the build up of dust.
  • Invest in portable air purifying technology.

While there are several ways to improve indoor air quality, the most flexible, versatile, and economical option is through the use of a portable air purifier.

What are Portable Air Purifiers and Why are they a Flexible Option for Commercial Buildings?

Portable air purifiers are commercial air purification systems that operate separately from your facility’s HVAC system. These purifiers filter the air in a certain area of your facility and complete multiple air changes per hour.

A portable air purifier can either be wall-mounted, recessed into the wall, or standing. The Fellowes Air Purifier provides flexibility to install units in locations that are most convenient while not occupying a large amount of space.

Fellowes Aeramax Pro Air Purifier

Some of these systems have features that are easy to use and can provide your occupants and visitors with clean air, faster. These features include:

  • Multiple Layers of Filtration
  • Smart Technology
  • Easy Movement

Multiple Layers of Filtration

There are commercial air purifiers that use multiple layers of filtration to remove as much of the air pollutants from an area as possible. The different filters work together to remove different kinds of particles from the air, like odors and VOCs.

Smart Technology

Some units have smart technology that will allow the purification system to run most efficiently. This smart technology uses a sensor to sense when people are in the area and will adjust fan speeds to best clean the air while conserving energy and extending the filter life. There are also settings that accommodate the need for quiet fan speeds and will emit less noise when the room is occupied.

The air purifier may even have the capability to show you the percentage of particles being filtered out of the air and the quality of the air in the room.

Many commercial air purifiers are built to be run 24/7 without affecting the effectiveness of the system. Because of this, you can rest assured that your air is being cleaned consistently.

Easy Movement

Another feature of portable air purifiers that makes them a good option for cleaning the air in your facility is that they can be moved easily. If you notice that an area is being used less, you can move the equipment from a low-traffic area to a higher trafficked one.

What are the Drawbacks of Commercial Portable Air Purifiers?

Though portable air purifiers are a great air cleaning solution, their size affects the amount of space they’re effective in. Each commercial air purifier has a maximum space recommendation that will allow the air purifier to achieve 3-5 air changes per hour. It’s important to note that you may need more than one device to clean the air in your entire facility.

By putting a system in a room that is too large, you may not be able to remove pollutants from your air. This means that you will need multiple portable air purification systems to efficiently clean the air throughout your building.

What Businesses Can Benefit from Commercial Portable Air Purifiers?

Now that you understand how you can improve indoor air quality, you may be wondering what types of facilities are most applicable for their use. All types of businesses, whether they are large or small, and no matter what types of services they provide, can benefit.

Imperial Dade has had success with the Fellowes Aeramax Pro® line of portable air purifying devices, which is a great option for cleaning the air in your facility to create a safer environment.

In fact, one of our customers purchased the Fellowes Aeramax Pro ® purifiers to help them improve the quality of air in their school. They were looking for ways to ensure that their students were coming into a safe and healthy building as they returned to school after the summer.

Many of the students have medical issues that are related to allergies and asthma, which are triggered when there are higher levels of pollution in the building. They chose to implement portable air purifiers throughout their school because of the company’s experience with air purifying technology and the purifiers are inexpensive to run.

Improved indoor air quality in schools has been shown to improve attendance, enhancing focus, and making students more comfortable. With the addition of portable air purifiers, schools can ensure the air their students are breathing is clean and safe.

Improved indoor air quality in schools has been shown to improve attendance.

Final Thoughts

By learning how you can improve indoor air quality at your facility and implementing improvements that lower the amount of contaminants in the air, everyone in your facility will be more comfortable.

If you’re interested in improving your facility’s indoor air quality, an Imperial Dade Specialist can help you decide on the best air purification system for your building. Our specialists will assess your specific needs, building size, and budget to match you with the system that will be most effective. In addition, Imperial Dade also offers a complete line of cleaning products and janitorial equipment to help your facility clean.

Reach out to an Imperial Dade specialist today! Visit our website for a location near you.

Best Odor Control Practices for Carpets, Restrooms, Dumpsters, and More

Controlling odors in and around a facility is a common problem for most cleaning professionals. Odors can lurk in many places: carpets, restrooms, dumpsters, and more. The best way to eliminate odors is to understand the cause of the smell. Once you identify the problem, consult this list of solutions to control the offending odors.

CARPETS

  • Carpet odor stemming from a food source, vomit, or urine should be approached with a carpet sanitizer.
  • Using an extractor to kill the odor source is recommended. If you can still smell the odor after thoroughly rinsing the carpet, follow up with an enzyme product.
  • After extracting the carpet, use a carpet fan, not a box fan. It dries carpet faster. Be sure your carpet is dry in 24 hours, or there is a risk of mold bloom.
  • Pet odors can linger in carpets. Enzymatic digesters will get to the source, killing the odor and not just covering it up.

RESTROOMS

  • In restrooms, urine is often the source of odor. Disinfectants will not impact urine that has dried. If urine odor is present, use an enzyme. If you are using an enzyme, do not use a disinfectant in the same area. Disinfectants destroy the enzymes before they are able to digest the bacteria. 
  • Check the floor drains, a common source of the odor. If the trap in a floor drain dries out, it will emit sewer gas. Use a drain cleaner, enzyme, or water to keep drains odor-free.
  • Don’t forget to clean often missed spots. The base of toilets, under urinals, urinal throats, partitions, and walls are often overlooked. Ceilings should be cleaned once or twice a year.
  • While it doesn’t replace a good cleaning program, adding an air care unit to help with transient odors will add to a pleasant restroom experience.

OTHER BUILDING LOCATIONS

  • Janitor closets can omit odors. Keep a tidy closet! After use, rinse mops with clean water and hang to dry. Empty and rinse mop buckets.  Clean, empty, and air out recovery tanks on equipment.
  • Inadequate ventilation can be cause challenges. If possible, open windows or clean air vents to improve air quality
  • Is the odor coming from the dumpster area or wastebaskets? There are several products made specifically for this application.

If you need more information on a specific odor or area, please contact your Imperial Dade Sales Consultant. A good daily cleaning routine will keep odor problems to a minimum! Visit our website to find a location near you.

Maintaining Optimal Indoor Air Quality in the Age of COVID-19

Earlier this year, when COVID-19 first started to spread across the country, scientists knew very little about the emerging pathogen. As infections began to rise, experts went about to determine how exactly the disease was spreading. One aspect of transmission that became highly evident was the virus’s ability to spread so effectively in indoor environments.

As research continued and the potential for airborne transmission was realized, concerns arose in the business community on how to safely and effectively manage indoor air quality to protect the health of building occupants.

Coronavirus and the Indoor Workplace

As the threat of indoor air contamination was better understood, the CDC set up guidelines to help businesses modify indoor workspaces in an effort to reduce transmission.

Through the help of these guidelines, it is possible to safely reopen an office or indoor work environment at reduced capacity. Please note that this information is subject to change dependent on a region’s transmission rates.

The Importance of Ventilation and Filtration

One aspect of reducing indoor transmission of COVID-19 is the need for adequate ventilation and filtration. Businesses should consult with their HVAC contractor to ensure that air conditioners, heating systems, and ventilation fans are thoroughly cleaned and operating at maximum effectiveness.

Businesses should also review the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) of all air filtration units operating at their facilities. The higher a MERV rating, the better potential for a filter to remove virus particles from the air. According to the CDC, MERV ≥13 filters are efficient at capturing airborne viruses and removing them from circulating air.

To ensure employees’ health and safety, business owners must make certain all the necessary measures are taken to thoroughly inspect and correct potential ventilation problems for an indoor workspace. This protocol, combined with social distancing measures and the frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces should help reduce the potential for viral contamination and spread in an office environment.

For over 85 years, Imperial Dade has been a leader in the distribution facilities maintenance supplies, chemicals, and cleaning equipment. For professional help in combatting the spread of COVID-19, you can count on Imperial Dade to offer both outstanding customer service and high-quality product solutions for your business. For more information about our products and consultative services, visit our website for a location near you.