What Are You Sealing?When we discuss sealing a home, we generally refer to sealing a “thermal envelope.” Thermal envelopes refer to everything that separates the thermostat-controlled air inside your home from the fluctuating temperatures outside. Thermal envelopes consist of doors, windows, insulation and anything else that keeps air where it belongs.
Why Seal Your Home?Two words: air leaks. It’s one thing to catch energy efficiency issues by listening for strange sounds coming from your HVAC system or feeling too cold despite your thermostat setting. But air leaks are invisible energy sappers, and you may not notice them until you receive a higher-than-usual utility bill. Air leaks don’t just involve your controlled air leaving the home; they also involve outdoor air entering the home. Some homeowners rely on air leaks to ventilate the home and keep air moving. While ventilation is crucial to indoor air quality, relying on air leaks is not an effective way to ventilate. When outdoor air enters your home, it’s not just bringing in a breeze; it’s drawing in cooler temperatures, hazardous particles and even unwanted moisture. Such leaks can contribute to poor indoor air quality and can also reduce the structure’s durability. By sealing air leaks, you prepare your home for a season of improved energy efficiency. When air leaks allow cool air into the home, your heating system experiences increased strain as it attempts to compensate for the invasion of outdoor air. This forces your system to work harder, hiking up utility costs and potentially reducing your system’s lifespan. Sealing leaks also improves indoor air quality and ensures that you enjoy all the comfort your HVAC system supplies.
How Do You Seal Your Home?Sealing your home takes some planning, supplies and free time. First, you’ll need to hunt down which areas of your thermal envelope need the most attention. Aside from feeling around your home for drafts, look for dirt and dust around windows and doors where leaks may have also pushed in some particles. Inside your home, look for cracks and gaps around baseboards, outlets and the like. Outside, look for areas where two types of building materials meet, such as exterior corners and around faucets. On the professional side, home energy audits can also catch air leaks. Around windows with cracks in the caulking, simply apply a fresh layer of caulk. You may need to replace poorly installed or old windows with more efficient windows if caulk doesn’t fix the air leak. Place weatherstripping along door frames where doors don’t fit snugly. Spend extra time looking for potential leaks in your attic and garage. Unfinished areas of the home often allow unwanted air into the finished living space. Look for gaps around plumbing pipes and outlet boxes. Use caulk or expanding foam to seal those leaks. Attic entry hatches also often need a layer of weatherstripping to keep the area sealed. Finally, it may be worth your while to roll blanket insulation into your attic floor if there isn’t insulation there already. While you’ll surely enjoy being outside in the cooler weather for a time, your home will quickly become an escape from the cold of winter. For reliable comfort and efficiency, take time to seal your home before the cold fronts hit. To further prepare for an energy-efficient heating season, call Air Specialty at 251-545-3337.
The indoor air quality (IAQ) of your commercial property in Daphne, Alabama, can impact the comfort, health, and productivity of your employees. Poor IAQ causes discomfort, fatigue, and several other health conditions that decrease productivity levels in the workplace. Take measures to ensure proper humidity control, air purification, ventilation, and regular HVAC maintenance to improve indoor air quality and boost workplace productivity.
Factors Affecting Indoor Air Quality
The most common factors affecting indoor air quality are temperature, air circulation, humidity, and pollution. Problems arise when the indoor air is either too hot or cold. You may also run into trouble if the air is too moist or dry. Lack of ventilation makes the air stale, and drafty buildings allow polluted air from outside to come in, which makes it difficult to control the indoor environment.
Pollution in the indoor environment can come from dust particles, chemical pollutants, or biological contaminants like bacteria and mold. Often, contaminants from boilers and chimneys sneak into the building. Microbes from stagnant water while dirt and dampness become airborne and pollute the indoor air.
Office equipment such as printers, computers, and photocopiers can also cause air pollution. If your workplace is undergoing maintenance, repairs, renovation, cleaning, painting, or pest control, the IAQ could suffer.
Even your coworkers cause some indoor air pollution through the natural biological process of respiration and perspiration. Sometimes, people bring in other contaminants like perfumes, deodorants, air fresheners, and dog dander on their clothing.
Problems Associated with Poor Indoor Air Quality
Many people in Alabama spend a substantial amount of time indoors working in an office or other commercial establishment. Indoor air is often more polluted than the outside air, so it’s of particular concern to employers whose employees spend a lot of time inside.
Indoor pollutants increase the risk of illness and have a negative impact on the productivity of the occupants. Some of the common health problems caused by poor IAQ include cold, flu, headache, fatigue, sinusitis, and eye and nose irritation. Presence of allergens like dust particles, pollens, animal dander, smoke, and mold spores can trigger allergic reactions such as sneezing, runny nose, and even difficulty breathing in occupants that are sensitive to these allergens.
Impact of Indoor Air Quality on Workplace Productivity
When employees don’t feel comfortable at work and are not in good health, their productivity suffers. Health issues in employees cause an increase in medical leaves and absenteeism, bringing down the number of productive hours in an organization.
Circulation of clean and healthy air is more likely to keep the occupants happy and energetic. This helps employees make fewer errors and improves the quality of their work.
Sometimes, the temperature and humidity levels alone can make the workers form a positive or negative perception about the quality of the building and business. Perception has a direct bearing on the employees’ mood, which in turn, reflects in their performance.
In addition to employees, poor indoor air quality also impacts other occupants of a building, such as customers, clients, guests, and patrons. An indoor environment that causes discomfort and dissatisfaction to occupants can mean a substantial fall in revenue.
Tips for Maintaining Good Indoor Air Quality
Separate any sources of pollution from the workspace. If it’s not possible to totally isolate the source, keep it away from direct air intakes. Prevent the outside contaminants from construction, combustion, and other activities from entering the building as much as possible.
Proper ventilation is essential to let the polluted, stale air out and bring in an adequate supply of fresh air. Ensure that the design and capacity of your HVAC system match the building’s size and number of occupants. Air supply and return vents should be at the correct locations for easy and efficient supply of air to occupants. Make sure that the workspace design and layout allows adequate air circulation.
Use filtration and purification products to clean the indoor air. Use a high-quality HVAC filter and replace it regularly. Our team can help install UV lamps and air cleaners and check your indoor humidity level. If the humidity is high, a dehumidifier can help reduce the moisture content of the air.
In order to maintain good IAQ and workplace productivity, it’s crucial to schedule routine inspections and maintenance of your commercial HVAC system. Our experienced team at Air Specialty is available at your service 24/7. Call us at 251-545-3337.