Signs of Poor Air Quality in Your Commercial Building

Signs of Poor Air Quality in Your Commercial Building

Modern commercial buildings are designed to be airtight so you can retain heat, conserve energy, and minimize ongoing costs. Since this also restricts natural air flow, your Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system works to ensure a constant supply of clean air throughout your building. This also removes air pollutants, such as:

  • Bacteria and viruses
  • Dust and dust mites
  • Gasses and fumes
  • Lingering cleaning products
  • Paper fibers, vapors, and inorganic gasses from printers and copiers
  • Pollen and spores
  • Unpleasant odors

But when your HVAC system starts to malfunction, the air quality in your commercial building will drop dramatically. This can have a serious impact on the health of your workers, leading to poor productivity and an increase in absences due to sickness. And since most commercial employees spend around 40 hours a week inside, you need to be able to identify and repair HVAC problems right away.

Here are the major signs of poor indoor air quality you can monitor to help you maintain optimal health in your commercial building.

Coughing, sneezing, allergies, and other symptoms

The most obvious sign of poor air quality is an increase in respiratory symptoms. An unusual amount of coughing, sneezing, breathing difficulties, and allergic reactions suggests that your commercial building is full of airborne pollutants that aren’t being removed. The longer you wait to improve ventilation, the worse these problems will become.

But respiratory problems aren’t the only health implication of poor air quality. You and your employees might also experience:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Forgetfulness
  • Headaches and nausea
  • Irritability
  • Irritated eyes, nose, and throat
  • Poor concentration

These symptoms seriously interfere with the ability to work at full capacity, leading to delays, insubstantial work output, and poor decisions that affect your success. And while industrial buildings like warehouses and factories don’t see much public foot traffic, retail, leisure, and health businesses do. That means poor air quality will also impact your customers, potentially causing them to favor your competitors.

Dry or irritated skin

Although respiratory or performance issues are a consequence of poor air quality, they can also be caused by a wide range of other factors. So if they increase gradually, it can be easy to dismiss them as the result of changing seasons or an increased workload. But visual changes such as redness in the skin or eczema are much harder to miss.

Your skin is in constant contact with the air around you. When there’s a high level of airborne contaminants in your commercial building, they accumulate on the surface of your skin and are absorbed by your hair follicles. This causes the skin to become dry or irritated.

Skin conditions that aren’t the result of a known health problem suggest that your industrial or commercial HVAC system isn’t properly ventilating your building. Malfunctioning HVAC systems can also spread dust, bacteria, and other harmful substances, making the situation worse. If your business is located near Kansas City, MO, contact DMC Service today for commercial or industrial heating, ventilation, and air conditioning repair. 

Dust build-up

Even though your HVAC system will remove airborne dust, much will still accumulate on indoor surfaces. This is generally cleared as part of the daily cleaning routine.

But if you notice an increase in dust build-up, or your cleaning team is dusting more frequently, it’s a sign that airborne dust is settling rather than being ventilated out. That means your HVAC system isn’t performing correctly, and that your indoor air quality is worsening.

Uneven temperatures across the building

As well as clearing polluted air, HVAC systems provide air conditioning to heat or cool the building. This should lead to a reasonably even temperature throughout each room.

As you move through your commercial building, be conscious of any changes in temperature. If certain areas are noticeably warmer or colder than others, it means that your HVAC system is also failing to filter out and replace polluted air.

Unpleasant odors

Smells from cleaning chemicals, office furnishings, food, or other people are common in all commercial buildings. But your HVAC system should filter these out before they start interfering with the health or productivity of your staff.

Lingering smells, however, are a sign of inefficient ventilation, and by extension poor air quality. These can be caused by:

  • Mold, mildew, or pollen build-in within HVAC ductwork
  • Odors being drawn in from outside due to leaky ducts or poor connections
  • Odors coming in from other buildings that aren’t being ventilated out

Hiding unpleasant smells with odor eliminators also introduces additional pollutants into the air that your malfunctioning ventilator won’t remove. The only way to permanently expel these odors is with professional HVAC cleaning and maintenance.

Causes of poor air quality in an industrial or commercial building

Pollutants can enter your building through open windows, clinging to foot traffic, or as the result of using products and chemicals. But a functioning HVAC system draws out polluted air and replaces it with clean, filtered air from outside. If it’s failing to do so, there are three main reasons why:

  • The filters need replacing: you should change the filters in your HVAC system every 90 days. If you don’t, the build-up of air pollutants will block the filter, preventing it from ventilating your building.
  • The ductwork needs cleaning: HVAC ductwork should be cleaned every three to five years. Doing so requires specialized equipment, so contact DMC Service for industrial or commercial HVAC cleaning near Kansas City, MO.
  • The system hasn’t been upgraded: HVAC systems are installed to meet the needs of their building. If changes are made to the layout or new rooms are added, your old system won’t be equipped to ventilate rooms effectively.

Restore outstanding indoor air quality with DMC Service

When a commercial building needs ventilating and the HVAC system isn’t doing the job, many people simply open a window. This not only fails to fix the core problem, but also risks inviting further outdoor toxins inside, particularly in populated areas.

To keep your workers and customers safe with the highest quality air, contact DMC Service for HVAC maintenance and repair near Kansas City, MO. We perform a full diagnosis of your HVAC system, and resolve any issues keeping you from achieving optimal health and productivity.

karen and team member

Founded in 2004, DMC Service, Inc. is proud of our decades-plus service to the Kansas City Metro and beyond. Based out of Olathe, we are a 100% woman-owned business with Karen Crnkovich at the helm as President and “Chief Hand-Shaker.” Karen leads the DMC Service team with unwavering passion and enthusiasm to fulfill our purpose: To keep people comfortable, safe and healthy.