CMS Nextech offers HVAC services to help with indoor air quality. CMS is experienced with all brands and models, making even the toughest jobs able to be tackled. We can evaluate your needs to ensure the best air quality possible. Continue reading below for more information about indoor air quality.
Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a term that refers to an ecosystem of products and strategies that improve the composition of air in a building. A big step in attaining healthy IAQ comes in the controlling of widespread indoor pollutants to reduce the risk of health concerns.
The exchange of indoor and outdoor air can eliminate particles and pollutants in the air, which is why I believe it’s critical for property owners to consider how they can increase the healthiness of their office buildings.
The installation and maintenance of filters is a building’s first line of defense against poor air quality and increasing the health of a building’s IAQ system. In filtration, there are minimum efficiency reporting value ratings. Known as “MERV ratings,” these are an industry standard that measures the efficiency of a filter’s ability to clean the air. A MERV rating is a simple way to identify how much particulate matter and contaminants could be caught by the filter.
The higher the MERV value, the better able the filter is to catch dust and any other airborne pollutants. Filters with a rating of MERV 16 or below are considered to be HVAC-system-grade filters for residential and commercial use. MERV 17 and above are filters often used in operating rooms, laboratories and other areas where clean air is imperative.
Humidification — adding water to the air — also plays an important part in IAQ. Ideal indoor humidity is often related to the outdoor temperature. In cold weather, the humidity drops inside, and indoor air that isn’t humid enough can manifest in a number of ways: air that never seems warm enough, static electricity, dry skin and hair and even respiratory effects.
There are two main types of humidifiers that I’ve found are regularly employed in buildings: fan-powered or bypass humidification. A fan-powered humidifier is more versatile, can be mounted almost anywhere and doesn’t require any additional ductwork. That being said, they also have more moving parts that can break over time, and they must be plugged in to function, which uses electricity.
Alternatively, there’s bypass humidification, which uses the natural airflow of the building’s HVAC system to humidify the air and requires little to no maintenance. The constraint surrounding a bypass system is the space required for ductwork and proper installation.
Dehumidification — taking the water out of the air — can improve air quality by inhibiting the growth of mold and dust mites. Of course, dehumidification is most often thought of with regard to maintaining comfortable temperatures within a building.
A dehumidifier can be standalone or tied directly into an HVAC system. It can be bypassed into an HVAC system so that moisture is removed from the air, and that air can be circulated and returned to the building or circulated within a specific room.
In the case of IAQ, some dehumidification isn’t heating, cooling or treating the air, but simply removing humidity. In an HVAC system, an air conditioner removes heat from the house and brings stale air outside while removing humidity.
4. Heat Recovery Ventilators And Energy Recovery Ventilators
In today’s new construction, energy efficiency is a top priority. Buildings are heavily insulated and wrapped in sheathing to ensure they’re weatherproof and air leakage is kept to a minimum. While minimizing heat transfer between the outside and inside maintains the high-efficiency level of the house, it can negatively impact air quality. The reason for this is that buildings and homes have a level of natural airflow that circulates, which can positively impact IAQ. But when a building is “airtight,” air transfer, which brings fresh air in from outside, can’t happen unless the windows or doors are left open.
Two similar solutions for ventilating today’s more energy-efficient buildings are heat-recovery ventilators and energy-recovery ventilators. HRV is a ventilator that heats incoming fresh air while exchanging it with outgoing indoor air. ERV catches the humidity in the air and keeps it inside the house, while at the same time exhausting it and replacing it with fresh air.
5. UV Lights And UV Air Purifiers
Mold and mildew grow in cool, dark, damp places. UV lights and UV air purifiers target this type of potential contaminant to IAQ. An air conditioning coil is cool and damp, with moisture running off and draining.
While UV light and UV air purifiers are two similar options, they’re each designed to do separate things. UV air purifiers can be placed inside ductwork; they work with the reflective nature of ductwork and can neutralize viruses and bacteria that are in the air. UV light, on the other hand, is a preventative measure. UV air purifiers function as part of the air-cleansing process.
Explore your options.
Air pollution is a mix of different elements. IAQ is dependent upon the different chemicals and items installed or stored in a building. There are different concerns to keep in mind, and even small items like hairspray or candles all impact IAQ.
When there’s a limited amount of air exchange in a building, contaminants can build up. Exploring the options that are available for cleaning your office’s air is key to ensuring you have high-quality indoor air. To get started, ensure you’re asking and consulting with your HVAC technician. This can be a great way to learn more about the variety of products available to you. For example, I’ve seen many IAQ manufacturers that are teaming up with HVAC manufacturers to either implement IAQ products directly in their HVAC systems or as an add-on product. Licensed contractors who are part of a manufacturer’s network could also be a great resource for customers looking for more information on IAQ.