While air in your home might be protected by air purification systems, you can still get exposed to airborne impurities at the office. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most Americans spend 90% of their time indoors of which many spend most of their working hours in an office. Sometimes, indoor environments tend to have higher levels of pollutants as compared to outdoors.
Despite the majority of air quality at your workplace being affected by the building management’s actions, there are still some things you can do to improve the air quality in your office.
Why Office Buildings have Air Circulation Problems
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The quality of air in your workplace goes beyond just you being there. According to studies, one of the most important factors affecting the quality of indoor air is the frequency with which the air inside is being replaced by the air outside. For this reason, pollutants that are present in an enclosed space only build up and gets more concentrated thus becoming more harmful.
While the current standard air circulation rate is 15 cfm (cubic feet per minute) per occupant, older buildings still use the 5 cfm per person meaning air quality could be severe.
Common Pollutants Found in Office Buildings
Generally, the pollutants found in your work place are the same as the ones you might find as home. However, the difference might be the concentration levels and for different reasons. The quality of air in your workplace might differ from that at home because of factors you can’t control. These may include a work process emitting gases or other pollutants or a smokers’ lounge.
If your office is in a new building, the quality of air might be affected by the build-up of volatile organic compounds that are given off by paper supplies, cleaning materials, office furniture or carpeting.
Why you Might Need an Air Purifier at Work
Office buildings can quite easily turn into incubators for diseases through the spreading of viral or bacterial infections through the HVAC system. A good example of this is the Legionnaires Disease outbreak of 1976 in Philadelphia where contaminated water spread a bacterial infection through the AC system resulting in the death of 29 people.
Sick building syndrome is an insidious illness that researchers have identified linking it to office buildings. Some of the symptoms include difficulty in concentration, fatigue, headache, throat or nose irritation, dry cough, sensitivity to odours, allergies and flu-like symptoms among many others.
Basic Steps to Improving the Quality of Air in Your Workplace
First and foremost, if your job entails you being confined in a single indoor space for most of the day then you may have your personal air purifier at work for even more protection. In addition, you can frequently take out the garbage and immediately clean up spills. Since air circulation is very essential, ensure that you do not block the HVAC vents since you need that air circulating.
Another way if you’re the one managing the office is getting an air purifier for large office. This way you get to ensure everyone gets high quality air.
Here are Ways you can Use an Air Purifier in the Office
Pick the least noisy model
One of the thing you should consider when getting an air purifier for your office is the level of noise it will produce. Keep I mind that a consistent humming noise will not only annoy you but also your workmates. For this reason, you should look for a unit that silent and if that is not possible then get something that is as close to silent as possible.
If it’s possible to lock your door then do it
If you have a space or an office that allows you to close your do then do so. The main purpose for doing so is to restrict the flow of air which will in turn keep new contaminants from getting into your working space. Meanwhile, your air purifier will have ample time clean the air around you and keeping it that way.
However, not everyone has the luxury of having a private office, so closing your door is just one more way to optimize the quality of air surrounding you.
Get something that will eliminate pathogens
Getting sick because your co-worker has a virus is one of the biggest health you encounter at the office. For this reason, it is a good idea to get yourself an air purifier that can eliminate pathogens.
Remember that using an air purifier is one of the best ways you can keep yourself healthy thus preventing exposure to airborne diseases. There are a plethora of manufacturers making office air purifiers so it shouldn’t be hard getting yourself one that suits your needs.
Pick the best location
Ensure that your air purifier has a few feet of clear space around it since it needs breathing space. The main reason for this is for it to have unobstructed air circulation. Additionally, purifiers come in a wide array of sizes thus be sure to use the right size for the room where you’re going to put it.
Avoid turning it off
If you are using your air purifier for office cubicle, tray not to switch it off especially if you have any health condition such as asthma and allergies as well as other respiratory illnesses. Since new models of air purifiers are energy efficient, make sure that you eave yours on throughout the day.
Avoid ozone generators and ionic air cleaners
All thanks to the massive lawsuit filed against Sharper Image for deceptive marketing claims about their ionic air cleaners, now plenty of people know that ionic air cleaners are not only ineffective but potentially harmful as well. Almost all ionic air cleaners emit ozone, a harmful lung irritant that can potentially trigger asthma attacks and allergies.
It is better to be safe than to be sorry, so stick with HEPA air purifiers which offer safe and effective filtration and are recommended by medical specialists.
Change filters regularly
Ensure that you carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintaining your office air purifier. Generally, carbon and HEPA filters need annual replacing. If your office air purifier has washable filters, make sure that you clean them at least once every ten days.
Remember that air purifier filters hold the key to peaceful breathing. Therefore, avoid letting them get clogged with contaminants as this will effectively render your office air purifier useless.
Point the flow of clean air towards your breathing area
When using an air purifier in your bedroom then it shouldn’t matter which way it is pointed. However, if you’re sitting in a large and enclosed office then you should always make sure that your air purifier points the flow of clean air towards your face. This will help create a pocket of clean air around you thus giving you maximum results.
Features of an Air Purifier
A good number of office room air purifiers use a fan to suck in air for filtration. However, the machines that don’t have a fan run more quietly but might work poorly according to several tests done.
Air purifiers feature a set of controls that permit you to set the purifier to run a few hours before you reach the office or to turn it off automatically.
When an air purifier is clogged, it fails to work sufficiently. Therefore, this feature alerts you when the filter needs replacing or the unit needs to be cleaned.
Number of speeds
This feature allows your unit to adjust to your air cleaning needs. It is higher when its prime pollen time and lower when you’re working and you need some quiet.
In some office air purifier models, the machine automatically adjusts the fan speed according to the level of dust or dirt in the air.
This feature makes it easy for you to move the air purifier from one end of the office to another.
A remote control allows you to comfortable adjust the settings of your office air purifier from across the room.
Benefits of Office Air Purifiers
Most room air purifiers weigh between 10 and 20 pounds. They also have a handle and stand on a tale or on the floor. Heavier models are equipped with wheels to help with portability.
A good number of air purifiers have a HEPA filter which helps capture even the smallest particles. Remember that most of these filters need to be replaced on an annual basis. This might be an expense that approaches the cost of the air purifier. Lucky for you however, there are a few model that come with cleanable HEPA filters.
While smells can’t be seen they can still create an unpleasant vibe especially in an office setting. Luckily, office air purifiers are built to eliminate such odors.
Buy one today!
Now that we have shown you how to make the most out of your office air purifier, go get yourself one and start living a healthier life.