Maintaining high indoor air quality (IAQ) is essential to the health, safety, comfort and productivity of a building’s workforce so it’s important to get it right with a two pronged attack that targets potential pollutants at source and provides for adequate building ventilation.
Not an exact science
Lots of factors contribute to the effective management of IAQ including good building design, a detailed understanding of potential pollutants and regular filter changes. It’s far from an exact science but at CFP we come across some common mistakes which we thought you might find useful.
1. Using the wrong filters
The air filter products you use should take into account factors including the activities undertaken at the premises, working hours, building and HVAC system design and of course cost. Using the wrong filter can make the system sluggish and therefore expensive to run and ensuring you’re using the most efficient filter product can save up to 35% pa in energy consumption.
CFP supplies an extensive range of air filter products and offers FREE site surveys – find out more by calling us on 0161 406 5050.
2. Failure to have (or stick to) an air filter cleaning and maintenance programme
Because the process of air filtration is virtually invisible, its upkeep is often forgotten in the face of more physically obvious issues. However, failure to take preventative filter maintenance seriously means storing up problems for the future. Poor maintenance, like using the wrong equipment, can have a significant impact on air flow rates and the effectiveness of your HVAC system.
Make sure filters are changed at correct intervals. Both too often and not often enough can have serious implications for the quality of indoor air and costs!
CFP provides professional air filter management services including automated filter replacement reminders – call us on 0161 406 5050 to find out more.
3. Making it a ‘them and us’ issue
While the buck stops with the building control or facilities management team, it’s important to engage with a building’s occupants and take any complaints they make seriously, remembering that some people are more susceptible to contaminants than others and what could be interpreted as a ‘moan’ could in fact be an early warning of something more serious.
A good way to engage with a building’s occupants is to enlist their help in maintaining a happy, healthy physical environment for them to work in. It can help to explain the ‘why’ as much as the ‘what’. Here are a couple of examples:
What they can do: Only smoke in designated outside areas.
Why they should do it: It’s common knowledge that it’s against the law to smoke inside the workplace but it’s also important not to smoke too near to building inlets in order to avoid pollutants being drawn into the building’s air supply.
What they can do: Don’t block air vents with office furniture
Why they should do it: A building’s HVAC system balances air coming in to and leaving a building – covering vents hinders air flow making it less efficient and effective.
What they can do: Store food properly.
Why they should do it? Because it attracts pests and if left unrefrigerated, will start to rot and smell. Refrigerators and dining areas should be cleaned regularly.
4. Poor record-keeping
It is vital to record problems with IAQ – however large or small – because not only will it help you diagnose their cause, it will help identify any patterns which point to a more fundamental problem.
Keeping adequate records is also essential to demonstrate that you are complying with relevant UK Building Regulations.
5. Reluctance to seek expert help
Most problems around IAQ can be dealt in the first instance by an experienced in-house FM team but there are lots of occasions (when the issue is especially complex or baffling or you simply don’t have the in-house resources available) when seeking the help of an air filter specialist can save time getting to the root of the problem and reduce the expense incurred in remedying it.
CFP can meet all your air filter product management needs – call us on 0161 406 5050 to speak to our friendly experts.