Your building's air conditioner does more than just maintain a comfortable temperature for its occupants. This system also plays a critical role in keeping the air fresh and safe for everyone in the building. When air quality issues appear, they're often the result of failures in the HVAC system that may go unaddressed because the problem's source is not immediately apparent.
Ensuring that the workers in your building have safe, clean air to breathe is an essential part of building maintenance and repair. Learning to recognize these three common office air quality issues will help you to understand when there's a problem with your HVAC system so you can schedule repairs as soon as possible.
1. Excessive Humidity
One of the critical roles of your building's HVAC system is controlling moisture levels. Humidity is more than just a comfort concern, however. High levels of humidity can promote mold growth, impact your bottom line by encouraging colder thermostat settings, and lead to a less healthy overall environment. Excessive moisture in an air-conditioned structure almost always indicates an HVAC issue.
Commercial structures can suffer from many of the same failures as residential buildings, including clogged condensate lines or failed drainage systems. Improper air handler sizing can also contribute by blowing too much air over evaporator coils, which prevents proper condensation and drainage. A thorough inspection by a professional will help you to find and repair the underlying moisture source.
2. Moldy Odors
Unsurprisingly, moldy odors are usually a good sign that you've got mold growth in your ventilation ductwork. Unfortunately, mold can propagate even if you don't notice excessively high humidity levels in your office. In some cases, mold can form during periods when the HVAC system is not running, such as weekends or times when the building is unoccupied.
Repairing this problem may require extensive duct cleaning, but you'll also need to identify why mold could grow in the first place. Once you've found and repaired the source of the moisture, you may want to consider additional mold remediation options, such as applying a mold inhibitor to your HVAC components and ductwork.
3. Pollutants or Allergens
Are employees in your office sneezing as soon as they step into the building? If so, that's a good indication that your HVAC system isn't providing adequate filtration. Sound HVAC systems should improve indoor air quality, so never write off evidence that your HVAC system might be making things worse.
In some cases, you may be able to resolve this problem with an accelerated maintenance schedule. Old filters can stop your air conditioner from filtering allergens and pollutants, for example. Other possibilities include ductwork leaks allowing unfiltered air into the system or filters that aren't sufficient for your building's air handling needs.
If you notice an air quality issue in your office, it's critical to contact a commercial AC repair technician to immediately locate and repair the problem. Not only will your building occupants breathe easier, but you'll also ensure your HVAC is running at peak efficiency.