We spend most of our time indoors either at work, school, or home. When we’re not at those places, many of us spend time in movie theaters, restaurants, gyms, churches, and commercial buildings. In short, we spend 90 percent of our lives inside. If you ask the question, Why monitor indoor air quality? That’s the reason, but there’s more to it than that.
Indoor Air Quality and Your Health
Many of us believe outside air pollution is a severe problem. It is, of course, but unless you live alongside a freeway or next to a manufacturing plant, pollutants get diluted by the sheer volume of air. While outside air pollution is a health risk in many areas of the country and the world, it’s the air pollution inside that you breathe most.
If you spend time in a building with an HVAC system, you breathe recycled air. That’s fine if the filter on the system is effective in trapping pollutants. However, if it is not then indoor air quality (IAQ) suffers. IAQ encompasses all of the environmental factors in a building that affect the health of building occupants. But not just health. IAQ affects your comfort at home and your performance at work too.
Poor IAQ can aggravate allergies and asthma. It can also lead to more missed days of work, loss of productivity, and lower morale. In schools, the cognitive impairment caused by poor air quality leads to lower test scores. For these reasons, monitoring IAQ conditions helps businesses maintain safe work environments. This has even more importance in light of the ongoing COVID pandemic.
Health Risks of Poor IAQ
As mentioned above, we spend most of our time indoors where we breathe around 3,000 gallons of air each day. Along with that air comes tiny particles that include things such as fungus, bacteria, dust, and infectious aerosols. Breathing in these particles irritates the lining of the nose and throat and triggers allergies and asthma symptoms. Our bodies try to expel these particles by coughing and sneezing. However, with long-term exposure, particulates penetrate deep into the respiratory system. This can lead to chronic lung and heart conditions.
Indoor air pollution carries significant health risks for inhabitants. Workers and other building occupants who spend time in buildings with poor IAQ remain at risk for both short- and long-term health issues. The same is true for homes and residential buildings too.
Short-Term Health Issues
Short-term symptoms include:
- Eye, nose, and throat irritation
Long-Term Health Issues
Long-term symptoms include:
- Lung cancer
- Systemic hypertension
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),
- Legionnaires’ disease
Indoor Air Quality Monitoring Explained
Monitoring indoor air quality is an effective way to maintain healthy indoor conditions. For example, a system like IAQ Guard 2.0 uses sensors placed throughout the building to monitor environmental conditions. A remote team monitors these conditions which allows them to act fast to changes affecting IAQ.
IAQ Guard tracks the following:
- Temperature and relative humidity
- Carbon dioxide (CO2)
- Dew point (DP)
- Formaldehyde (HCHO)
- Total volatile organic compounds (TVOC)
IAQ monitoring also tracks particulate matter, the mixture of solids and liquid droplets in the air. Particulate matter, or PM, is measured in micrometers. For example, PM10 inhalable particles are ten micrometers or smaller. This includes dust and mold. A PM2.5 includes metals and organic compounds 2.5 micrometers or smaller. Lastly, PM1.0 includes ultrafine particles like dust.
Benefits of IAQ Monitoring
For homeowners, IAQ monitoring keeps families safe from exposure to harmful particulates. IAQ monitoring gives business owners and building managers the data they need to correct issues before they turn into health risks. In addition to creating a healthier environment, indoor air quality monitoring targets other goals of facilities managers. It assists them with IAQ and mold complaints and investigations and ensures that HVAC systems are performing optimally. It also assures building occupants that their health matters to managers and owners.
Why Monitor Indoor Air Quality? Learn More
Why monitor indoor air quality? Because IAQ monitoring safeguards the conditions of schools, hospitals, assisted living facilities, and more. Monitoring, along with devices such as portable air purifiers, enhances air quality and improves the health of building occupants. To learn more about how IAQ Guard 2.0 protects homes and businesses, contact WTI | Pure Air Control Services at 1-800-422-7873.