Is Your Home Or Office Sick? What To Know About Sick Building Syndrome
Palm Air AC|02 May 2016
Do you ever feel like your home or office is making you sick? Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) describes a situation in which the people who occupy a building experience acute health- or comfort-related effects that have been linked to the time spent in the building.
Causes of Sick Building Syndrome
- Outside pollutants, such as those from automobile exhaust, plumbing vents and building exhausts (kitchen and bathrooms), can enter buildings through improperly placed AC intake vents, windows and other openings. Combustion byproducts, radon, formaldehyde, asbestos, dust and lead paint can also enter a building through these means.
- Indoor pollutants are often found in buildings through the use of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are commonly found in adhesives, upholstery, carpeting, copy machines, manufactured wood products, pesticides, cleaning agents, environmental tobacco smoke, respirable particulate matter, combustion byproducts from the stove, fireplace or unvented space heaters. Aerosol sprays and fragrances in personal beauty care and cleaning products can also contribute to indoor air pollution that can cause Sick Building Syndrome.
- Contaminants that breed in standing or stagnant water in humidifiers, drainpipes and air ducts such as pollen, bacteria, viruses, fungus and mold also contribute to SBS. Water may also collect on ceiling tiles, insulation, carpets and upholstery and lead to these contaminants.
- Insect and bird droppings can circulate throughout buildings via the AC system and spread sickness in the form of fever, chills, cough, chest tightness, muscle aches, allergic reactions and even Legionnaire’s disease.
- Poor design and construction of ventilation systems in office buildings in an effort to maximize usable space has led to reduced ventilation rates in buildings. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) set ventilation standards to a minimum outdoor airflow rate of 15 cfm per person, 20 cfm per person in office spaces and 60 cfm per person in smoking lounges in an effort to have acceptable indoor air quality with a minimum energy consumption.
Other Causes of Sick Building Syndrome:
- Electromagnetic radiation from microwaves, televisions, and computers ionizes the air.
- Poor or lack of indoor lighting, bad acoustics, poor ergonomics, excessive humidity, and even psychological factors like excessive work stress/dissatisfaction, poor interpersonal relationships and communication can increase chances for Sick Building Syndrome
How to Prevent Sick Building Syndrome
Be sure all ventilation in the building is designed to meet ventilation standards as outlined by ASHRAE. Maintenance and repair of all heating, ventilation, air conditioning and ductwork should be performed regularly and immediately if something seems not right in the building. Replace any water-stained elements in the building as well. Also, change the air filter in the air conditioning system every month to ensure that outdoor air pollutants are contained and only high-quality air enters the building.
Prevent Sick Building Syndrome by Calling Palm Air
Contact Palm Air AC, located in Boca Raton, for all of your heating, ventilation and air conditioning needs, including HVAC maintenance, repair and air duct cleaning, to ensure that your home or office does not come down with a case of Sick Building Syndrome.
Your local HVAC experts at Palm Air AC, located in Boca Raton and serving Boynton Beach, Wellington, Weston, and more south Florida cities in Broward and Palm Beach counties, are here to help!
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