Why is Indoor Air Quality Worse During the Summer Months?

Most of us look forward to the warmer months of the year due to the fact that we can enjoy a breath of fresh air. If this is indeed the case, why is air quality worse in the summer? The answers to this question may surprise you. In fact, several studies have found that indoor air can be between two to five times more polluted than exterior conditions. There are even some cases when the concentration of airborne pollutants can be up to 100 times more concentrated when compared to an outdoor environment. Understandably, this can be a major cause for concern. So, how does heat affect air quality? Let us take a look at some of the reasons behind these observations as well as what businesses can do to improve the air quality within the office during the summer months.

Keeping Cool: Not Always a Wise Option

Why is air quality worse in the summer? And how does heat affect air quality? Technology can often come into play. One of the modern conveniences which we have all come to take for granted in central air conditioning. This is often used within commercial locations to keep employees cool when the temperatures outside begin to rise. Unfortunately, such a strategy can come at a price.

When windows are shut, climate control systems have no other choice but to recirculate the air that is already present. If pollutants exist, they will simply be spread around the associated area. This is one of the main reasons why those who suffer from allergies will often exhibit more severe symptoms over the summer months.

The Perception of Poor Air Quality Upon Employees

A recent survey conducted by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has found that no fewer than 70 percent of office professionals now believe that lower air quality standards within their workplace is having a negative impact upon their overall health. Not only is this disturbing from a long-term point of view, but workers are also likely to be less productive. When productivity levels fall, senior staff and entry-level employees will both suffer.

Natural Allergens to Consider

We should also remember that substances such as pollen, mould and smog tend to proliferate during the summer months, which dramatically contributes to air quality being worse in summer. In the event that windows are open in order to increase circulation within an office, these pollutants can easily enter. This is particularly the case in terms of pollen. Those who are sensitive can experience issues with their eyes, nose and throat.

This brings us to an important point. Is it possible to achieve better indoor air quality? What steps do the professionals recommend and how can these be implemented into your normal office schedule? Let us now delve into these questions in greater detail.

Why is Indoor Air Quality Worse in the Summer? Let's Clear the Air

Perhaps the most powerful recommendation involves adopting a regular housekeeping schedule; even if this signifies obtaining the assistance of a third-party firm. Not only will this help to minimise the amount of dust found in the air, but it can also be used to reduce the levels of pollen and mould that might be present on upholstery and within carpets. If these substances are allowed to remain, there is no doubt that employees will experience negative health effects.

We mentioned the notion of air filters earlier in this article. Once again, these can and will become clogged if not maintained on a regular basis. Check to ensure all filters are functioning normally and free from any blockages. If you happen to notice a clog, the filter should be thoroughly cleaned or replaced (depending upon the type as well as the manufacturer's recommendations). Non-functional filters will allow particulate matter such as dust and pollen to settle within the air ducts; further jeopardising the health of your workers. As a general rule of thumb, all filters should be inspected and replaced every six to 12 months.

Ventilation Concerns

How does heat affect air quality? Another common factor involves vents that are blocked by boxes, furniture or other materials. This will dramatically reduce the airflow within an enclosed workspace and once again, workers may suffer as a result. Be sure to confirm that all air vents are free from obstructions and functioning properly.

Additional Steps to Take

Be sure to maintain relatively low levels of humidity (between 30 and 50 p\er cent). This will help to mitigate the effects of dust mites, mould, pollen, and other pollutants. Also, immediately clean up any spills (these can contribute to moisture content and they are perfect breeding grounds for mould).

While we cannot stress the importance of cleaning enough, it is also wise to place some plants around the office such as aloe. Not only do these organisms produce oxygen, but they are naturally capable of cleansing the air of any toxins.

How does temperature affect air quality? The change in air quality in the summer months may be the result of failing to recognise existing factors. So, be sure to schedule an air quality assessment at least once every year. These professionals will be able to identify any hazards present and provide the most targeted recommendations.

A clean environment is a healthy and productive environment. This is why it is wise to contact the professionals at Air Quality Plan. We will be quite pleased to schedule a consultation in order to address any issues that may be present, and answer any question regarding air quality being worse in the summer months, or how heat can affect air quality. Visit our Enquiries page here for all of our contact information. We look forward to hearing from you!

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