Your HVAC system might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you consider potential dangers that could affect your building and its occupants. Although they can be devastating, many companies have plans in place for terrorist attacks and natural disasters. Companies fail to recognize the more probable threat of indoor air quality problems (IAQ) such as accidental chemical or biological contamination spreading through the HVAC system.
You can avoid many IAQ hazards by planning ahead and maintaining your HVAC system regularly.
What IAQ contaminants could your HVAC unit spread to your building?
Your HVAC system circulates air through the building and can spread many kinds of contaminants.
- Viruses, bacteria
- Mildew and mold
- Buildings are contaminated with chemicals and fumes
- VOCs are released from many modern building materials
- Carbon monoxide
- Refrigerant gas
The most dangerous IAQ threats are biological agents. If you don’t maintain your HVAC system, they will almost certainly be present.
VIRUSES and BACTERIA can lead to colds, but also more serious diseases like measles or influenza, as well as other illnesses such bacteria, Legionella, and, most recently, Covid-19.
MOLD and MILDEW can cause respiratory problems in asthmatics and people with allergies. They can also lead to skin conditions. A building’s ventilation system can allow microorganisms to grow, which can lead to a serious illness known as “humidifier fever.”
Although less frequent, IAQ hazards such as asbestos and CARBON MONOXIDE contamination can be deadly. The refrigerant that is released from your air conditioner system can cause severe skin damage, frostbite, and blindness, as well as death.
IAQ contaminants can get into the environment.
There are many ways contaminants can enter your system:
- Poor maintenance and negligence of your heating, air conditioner, and ventilation systems
- Droppings of rodents, mice, and other pests
- Chemical spillages inside the building can pose a serious threat to laboratories and factories.
- The surrounding environment may contain airborne contaminants, such as those from an accident on the road or rail, a plant malfunction, fire, or other causes.
- Natural disasters
- Yes, even terrorist or criminal activity.
The steps to get rid of HVAC contamination
How can you protect your building and its occupants from so many possible threats?
There are simple ways to prevent your HVAC system from contaminating. You can reduce IAQ risks and avoid many dangers by planning properly for your HVAC system.
Maintenance of HVAC systems
Regular cleaning and preventative maintenance is the best solution. An HVAC professional will maintain your HVAC system by cleaning it regularly, changing filters, cleaning ducts and grates, and calibrating gas leak detection devices and controls. These simple steps will prevent the spread and accumulation of chemical and biological contaminants in your system.
Higher efficiency filters are used to prevent contamination from spreading by trapping particles in the ventilation system and keeping them out.
IAQ testing can be used to monitor contaminant levels
Monitors equipped with audible and visual alarms can be installed to warn you of high levels of VOCs and carbon monoxide in the air.
Review ventilation design
Ventilation design controls air flow in your space. The right design can remove microbes, VOCs, and other pollutants to improve indoor air quality. Ask your HVAC contractor about how your ventilation system can be designed to contain toxic chemicals in case they are accidentally released.
Prioritize vulnerable occupants
Think about who lives in your building and where the most vulnerable people are. Children and seniors are especially vulnerable to contaminants. Pay attention to ventilation design and maintenance.
Automate your life
You should ensure that your building automation system can shut down any ventilation systems or parts of them in the event of an infectious disease or chemical contamination.
HVAC security is important.
You should identify areas where your system is vulnerable to deliberate attack and take measures to protect them. You can restrict access to the roof or any air intake. Avoid air intakes below ground level wherever possible. You should secure any HVAC equipment located in your building.
We don’t like to think about all the possible dangers that we may face. So we neglect to prepare for them. What number of people worry about their safety in a plane accident, but fail to use a seatbelt in a car? These small acts, such as buckling up in the back, are what keep us safe and help prevent disasters.
It is important to keep your building free from HVAC contamination. You can improve your building’s IAQ by putting in place safeguards and planning to minimize damage in case of an emergency. The most important steps are the ones you take every day, like cleaning and maintaining your system with the help of professionals like ac services Arlington. These steps not only protect your building’s occupants against illness and discomfort but also provide you with the security that you are protected from IAQ threats.
Are you interested in finding out how investing in preventative maintenance service contracts can help keep your building safe and save money? Then call us today.
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