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Althoff Industries, Inc. Blog

Indoor Air Quality Problems That Can Affect Offices


Indoor air quality for offices is a major concern today because of the ongoing pandemic and its effects on businesses around the world. Although the worst of the pandemic appears to be behind us, it has altered the way people think of air quality inside offices and brought more focus to the general ways to identify and combat low commercial indoor air quality.

We work extensively with commercial indoor air quality in Bolingbrook, IL and throughout Chicagoland, and we’ve been doing so since 1962. We handle indoor air quality (IAQ) for all types of commercial and industrial facilities. Office spaces are frequently overlooked when it comes to IAQ. We’re going to look at how the IAQ in your office can drop and the different sources behind it.

The Sources of Low IAQ in Offices

Three factors combine to create indoor air quality issues in office spaces:

  • Poorly designed or maintained ventilation systems that are necessary for replacing stale indoor air with fresh air
  • Indoor sources of pollution from office products, furnishings, building materials, and more
  • Building design that doesn’t allow for effective ventilation or a building that was not designed with its current use in mind

There are solutions to all of these problems that involve jobs such as installing air purification and air filtration systems and redesigning the HVAC system for better ventilation. 

Indoor Pollutant Sources

Perhaps the most difficult IAQ source to combat is the pollutants that come from within the office itself. You can’t simply get rid of many of the most basic parts of your office because they create pollutants. 

To give you an idea of the extent of the problem, here are common sources of indoor pollutants found in many offices:

  • Fire-retardant materials that release asbestos
  • Paints, copy machines, and adhesives
  • Environmental tobacco smoke
  • Pressed wood products that create formaldehyde
  • Carpet and office furniture that release volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Chemicals coming from cleaning materials and cleaning activities
  • Air fresheners, which also produce VOCs
  • Water-damaged walls, ceilings, carpets, and ventilation systems can create biological contaminants

Improper Ventilation

People often misunderstand the use of the HVAC system as only responsible for creating a comfortable climate through heating and cooling. But proper ventilation is absolutely essential for a healthy office environment. HVAC equipment for a larger commercial space must draw and circulate outdoor air. Many office spaces have inadequate ventilation system designs or have systems that are poorly maintained and operated. 

One common problem is blocked supply and return vents, or vents that are poorly sized to allow for adequate air exchange. Poor placement of vents may draw in exhaust from garages or emissions from powerful machinery. Biological contaminants can also infiltrate HVAC systems and propagate throughout a space. 

Taking Action

This may seem like an overwhelming set of forces to contend with in your quest to improve your offices IAQ. However, Althoff Industries, Inc. always rises to any challenge. We are in the business of providing solutions rather than simple fixes. Arrange an appointment with us today and we’ll find the solutions that fit your specific commercial space requirements.

Althoff Industries, Inc. has the answers to your commercial indoor air quality concerns. Challenges Accepted!

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