If you live in a state with a particularly humid climate, such as California, then you will already be aware of the issues that humidity brings to the home. As Americans, most of us are lucky to have such warm weather and sunshine without much in the way of harsh winters. Our HVAC systems (which are composed of our heating, ventilation, and air conditioner units) are usually on full, circulating cool air and dry air around the property to keep us comfortable. In warmer climates, the furnace may be used a lot less frequently throughout the year, whereas the air conditioning units are on constantly.
How does this affect you if you are an employee or even an employer? Well, let’s have a look first at the way things are usually and work from there.
A Nice, Cool Office
For those who ordinarily work in large commercial buildings, the indoor air quality is usually dictated by a climate control hub either in a corner of the building or even off-site. Unseen by many, there is a lot of work that goes into keeping the huge HVAC units working to optimum efficiency. The air conditioning is usually the point of focus‚Äì‚Äìwhilst in the home you are advised to consider replacing your filters every two to three months, a commercial-sized HVAC filter needs constant attention.
With so many people in the building and a much greater area to cover, there is no doubt a much bigger number of HVAC appliances in use. With so much more usage, there are a lot more small particles in the air that the units are filtering out. Replacing these with new filters happens on a regular basis in the workplace, as employers have the mandate to ensure their team members are working in a comfortable, and safe, environment.
On The Flip Side
The goal for all employers, and thus HVAC appliances, are to keep the indoor air quality temperate (i.e. not too warm nor cold) and dry. During the winter months, in colder climates, water that is not heated by the furnace can freeze in the pipes, leading to cracks and leaks. It’s important to winterize the pipework to avoid structural damage, and before it leads to issues with moisture in the air.
To that end, a humid environment creates substantial problems for any structure and leads to more severe health issues. When moisture (from such leaks) is heated into the air as humidity, this can create mold, which releases tiny particles that attack the respiratory system. Furthermore, humidity is a breeding ground for viruses and harmful bacteria. When there are so many people under one roof breathing the same harmful air, this leads to an outbreak of the same illness, which is why these safety issues become a major concern.
When The Office Is The Home
As the Covid-19 pandemic forced the majority of workers in the United States to set up their offices in the home, it has become evident that the HVAC systems are not quite as robust as we would like them to be. Since homeowners usually spend much of their time outside of the home but have now had to stay there for most of the summer, the indoor air quality has no doubt been altered to keep them cool. With more usage comes the potential for more problems, and a need for more maintenance.
If you or your boss has had to send all the office workers home, then you’ll have no doubt implemented enterprise software solutions that help keep employees safe and healthy. However, ensuring they continue to have clean air is not quite so obvious. It is worth reminding everyone to stay on top of their HVAC systems and to replace filters as often as needed. The last thing anyone wants is to be ill at home when they are already quarantining at home to prevent being ill.