May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, which means it is a good time to check up on your building’s Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). This is especially true if you have people in your building who suffer from asthma or other respiratory ailments. As the temperatures begin to rise, it is worth examining whether there is a link between extreme heat and indoor air quality.
Does Air Quality Get Worse with Heat?
Heat waves and high temperatures, especially when partnered with still and stagnant air, most definitely cause a decrease in air quality. Pollutants in this highly heated atmosphere combine with airborne nitrogen oxide emissions to create smog, a cooked-down blend of ozone and airborne pollutants.
Smog is far from the only culprit. Hotter weather means more plants in bloom and more pollen in the air. It also means a much more conducive environment for mold and mildew growth. That means extra biological contaminants in the air. All of these are factors that can cause a degradation of indoor air quality.
Does the Weather Affect Indoor Air Quality?
Heat is established as making outdoor air quality worse, but what effect does that have on the air in your buildings? The higher the concentration of contaminants in the outside air, the more of them will find their way into your building. At this time of year and over the summer, it is essential to make sure that your HVAC filtration systems are fully maintained and able to handle the increased load.
In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes the increasing frequency of wildfires and other extreme weather events, which, among other things, can cause overloaded systems, power outages, and massive spikes in airborne particulates. As these events increase in frequency and severity, being prepared for them will be vital.
Can Indoor Thermal Conditions Affect IAQ?
As temperatures rise, humidity usually increases with them. Biological contaminants such as mold, mildew, bacteria, and viruses tend to be incubators causing diminished indoor air quality as they and their spores enter the air. Issues with temperature control are a commonly encountered cause of poor IAQ in commercial buildings.
When Should You Worry About Indoor Air Quality?
You should be wary of the following symptoms among your building’s occupants: headaches, increased fatigue, nasal congestion, dizziness, dizzy spells, nausea, or irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. In some more extreme cases, the breathable contaminants can even cause respiratory illness or cancer. Unfortunately, these are common symptoms for a wide variety of ailments, which can make identifying air quality-based reactions significantly harder.
Concerned About Your Building’s Air Quality? Contact Henick-Lane
For more than five decades, Henick-Lane has earned a reputation as expert in commercial HVAC services and providing IAQ solutions. Call our expert staff today at (718) 786-7277 or contact us online and schedule an indoor air quality assessment.