Want Healthy, Productive Workers This Spring? Find Out How!

Workplace Air Quality

Weather experts are saying that spring may be a bit late this year. But it is definitely on its way.

This is great news for overall office morale—after all, who doesn’t love warmer temperatures, singing birds, fresh green grass, and blooming flowers?

Then again, all those green growing things can lead to empty chairs as sniffling, sneezing employees suddenly start calling in sick.

That’s right, the pollen is back again.

So how can you keep your workers healthy, productive, and happy this spring? The solution may be a lot closer than you think!

Is It Allergies or Poor Indoor Air Quality?

The Allergy & Asthma Information Association of Canada (AAIA) states that approximately 25 percent of Canadians suffer significantly from seasonal hay fever.

Absenteeism puts stress on everyone—you, your clients, the rest of the staff. It is a real morale-killer.

Let’s look at an intriguing theory for a moment. What if, instead of pollen, it was poor indoor air quality either causing or worsening the effects of spring allergy season for your staff? To research this, we will look at two Exhibits: A and B.

Exhibit A: The typical symptoms of spring allergies, courtesy of WebMD:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Itching eyes, nose, throat, ears
  • Itching, red, watery eyes

Exhibit B: The typical symptoms of poor indoor air quality, courtesy of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS):

  • Hypersensitivity and allergies
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Sinus congestion
  • Irritated, dry eyes, nose, throat, skin
  • Shortness of breath

The lists are very similar!

So rather than resigning yourself to the high absenteeism rates spring always seems to generate, consider whether your own indoor air quality could be: a) creating allergy-type symptoms or b) making existing symptoms worse so employees have to call in sick.

Is Your HVAC Unit Healthy?

How can you tell for sure whether it is simply allergies or your indoor air that is making your staff develop allergy-like symptoms?

According to the CCOHS, indoor air quality has become a hot topic for employees and workers alike over the last few years. The organization states that the number one reason for poor indoor air quality is “improper or inadequately maintained heating and ventilation systems.”

When the HVAC system is poorly set up or maintained (or both), these types of issues occur:

  • Excess/inadequate indoor humidity balance (ideal range is 30 to 50 percent year-round)
  • Poor air circulation throughout the building
  • Clogged or blocked air registers and/or exhaust vents
  • Insufficient ventilation from fresh outdoor air coming i.
  • Recirculation of toxins including mould, pollen, VOCs, fungi, bacteria, and germs

These issues can also begin presenting themselves in an older HVAC system— even one that is meticulously well maintained. The most common reason for this is that the system itself is just wearing out.

Sometimes, this situation can also occur when the building workspace is redesigned or expanded and the HVAC unit or existing air duct system is no longer sufficient to route air evenly and efficiently through the building.

Common Spring Commercial HVAC Maintenance Needs

Spring is an ideal time to schedule your commercial HVAC unit’s spring inspection and maintenance check.

Winter often causes minor damage to exterior HVAC components that may go unnoticed until the snow melts away.

Also, warming temperatures can suddenly make the cold season’s accumulated leaf litter, fallen tree limbs and other collected debris look less like natural clutter and more like a fire hazard.

Your spring commercial HVAC service call can address these issues and more to ensure you have the most efficient HVAC system going into the spring season.

This is what to expect during your spring service call:

  • First, your technician will thoroughly inspect your HVAC unit component by component to ensure all is in good working order.
  • Next, your technician will do a thorough cleaning to make sure the area is free from any potentially flammable debris.
  • From there, your technician will make any adjustments, minor repairs, and parts replacements, provide lubrication and conduct any other updates so your system faces the warmer temperatures of spring like a boss.
  • If there are any major repairs or timely major maintenance needs lurking, your technician will also alert you to these in advance so you can decide how and when to address them in your spring budget.

So now you can check “inspect and maintain HVAC unit” off your spring to-do list. Whew.

You can also feel much better that your HVAC system does not represent a fire hazard to your building or staff (not surprisingly, this will make your insurance company quite happy too!).

For Really Pure Air, Have Your Indoor Air Ducts Cleaned Too!

Did you know that Shipton’s has a sister company called Clean Air Solutions?

We launched Clean Air Solutions in response to increased indoor air quality issues that were causing many of our clients to get sick from the toxins in their air ducts.

Clean Air Solutions offers indoor air duct cleaning packages for residential and commercial clients.

For a complete reset of your indoor air quality, you can’t do better than scheduling a spring commercial HVAC inspection and maintenance call together with a thorough indoor air duct cleaning!

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