Everyone In Your Building Sick? It May Be Sick Building Syndrome
If you own an office, apartment complex, etc., and everyone is complaining they are sick at the same time, it may be due to sick building syndrome. This can be caused by many things, such as poor ventilation, and bad indoor air quality.
If your HVAC system does not properly ventilate, it can cause sick building syndrome. It can also cause this syndrome if it does not adequately distribute air to different areas of the building. The amount of air that is needed throughout your building depends on the type of equipment, size of the area, and how many people occupy the area.
You should contact an HVAC technician to come to the building and redistribute the air as needed. He or she will make sure the system filter is clean, and replace it if necessary. The technician will likely suggest you use a high quality filter, and will make sure it is the correct size, and seated properly in the filter rack.
He or she will also check closed outdoor air intakes, and make adjustments and repairs as needed. The contractor will check the exhaust fans, and provide other maintenance to the system. You should also never store chemicals near the HVAC equipment, such as cleaners, paints, etc.
Indoor Air Quality
The quality of the air inside your building can also cause sick building syndrome. One culprit is mold, which can grow anywhere that is damp. If your duct work is lined with fiberglass, dirt is trapped in the fibers, and once moisture is added from the air conditioning system, mold starts to grow. When the HVAC system turns on and air flows into your building, mold spores come along with it.
If you have new carpet installed in your building, it can cause outgassing, which is emitting toxic fumes in the air. This is because chemicals and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are used to manufacture carpet fibers, adhesives, and the carpet backing.
If you have employees that smoke near an intake air vent, the chemicals from the smoke can be carried into your building. The same thing can happen if your building has a parking garage beneath it. Fumes from the vehicles can come through the air take vents.
Some systems of sick building syndrome may include headaches, nausea, eye irritation, fatigue, and more. Take time to check the HVAC unit, using a company like Enright and Sons, as well as the air quality to ensure no one gets sick.