Looking for ways to improve ventilation in your building? You’re not alone. Ventilation has become a hot topic in the past two years, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In March 2022, the federal government released an updated plan for improving indoor air quality. These new guidelines, known as the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, emphasize the need for upgraded ventilation systems and improved air quality standards as we continue to make our way through the pandemic.
But beyond managing the spread of Covid, ventilation plays an important role in keeping all your occupants and staff healthy. Proper building ventilation also reduces the risk of other concerns like asthma and allergies. Here are 5 simple ways to start breathing easier at work.
#1: Schedule an HVAC inspection & change your filters
Consult with your HVAC specialist about scheduling regular maintenance. Consider upgrading your HVAC filters to at least a MERV-13 rating or the highest rating compatible with your system. The goal is to trap particles, including viruses, mold, pollen and bacteria, while still allowing air to circulate freely throughout the building.
#2: Adjust your HVAC settings to improve building ventilation
The new EPA guidelines recommend running your HVAC fan and bathroom exhaust fans continuously to draw fresh air from outside through the building while it’s occupied. Make sure your HVAC isn’t just recirculating the indoor air. Some buildings may also benefit from running air through the system for 1-2 hours before the building opens and after it closes.
#3: Open the windows (with caution)
Opening the windows may provide good ventilation, but it can also introduce pollutants like dust, pollen, wildfire smoke and exhaust. If you’re planning on opening the windows, be mindful of any occupants or employees who suffer from asthma or seasonal allergies. Ask your cleaning team to keep an eye out for extra dust on window panes or other surfaces too.
Be aware that open windows can also increase energy bills and strain your HVAC system during hot or cold weather.
#4: Turn your ceiling fan on (but don’t forget to dust)
Ceiling fans are an excellent way to improve air circulation, but they also collect dirt, dust, spider webs and pollen. Talk to your cleaning team about scheduling a regular high-dusting service – especially if you’re leaving the windows open. The CDC recommends setting your ceiling fans on low speed, in the reverse-flow direction to draw air up toward the ceiling.
#5: Add portable HEPA air purifiers
High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) purifiers have become an in-demand item in many workplaces. These units pull air through the filter and trap common contaminants (including viruses). While HEPA filtration units aren’t a replacement for other ventilation measures, they are a great supplement to your overall air quality improvement plan.
If you’re using portable air purifiers, make sure to choose the right size units for your space. Position the units so that they are not blowing directly across one person’s workspace to another workspace. This will help minimize the risk of spreading germs.
Is improving your building’s ventilation on your to-do list?
We can help! We offer holistic cleaning services that prioritize your health and safety concerns. You’ll get a personalized cleaning plan and expert help with selecting and sourcing supplies like upgraded HVAC filters, HEPA air purifiers and non-toxic disinfectants. Schedule a cleaning consultation with us today and tell us how we can support your goals!