SickBuilding Syndrome | Heating and Air Conditioning
Sick building syndrome (SBS) has mainly beenrecognized in commercial settings, such as office buildings where a largenumber of persons work. However, the EPA now recognizes it is a serious issuein tightly constructed homes, as poor indoor air quality. SBS is the result oftight construction to improve energy efficiency, and a reduction of fresh airentering the indoor environment. Fortunately, actions can be taken to reduceindoor air contaminates, and the heatingand air conditioning system in your home or office can be a major tool inpreventing SBS. The qualification requires 20% of the work force to havesymptoms.
The symptoms include:
· Irritation of theeyes, nose and throat with watery eyes
· Dry itchy skin
· Heart palpitations
· Shortness of breath
· Chronic fatigue
· Brain fog anddifficulty concentrating
· Swollen ankles orlegs
The causesare numerous, and begin with the airtight construction of buildings to keepconditioned air in, and outdoor fresh air out. Some of the indoor air pollutants responsible for the buildup of hazardous airinclude:
· Indoor combustionfrom gas heaters, stoves and water heaters
· Indoor carbonmonoxide
· Volatile organiccompounds (VOCs)
· Airborne allergens
· Airborne pathogenssuch as bacteria, fungi, protozoans, spores, and viruses
· Cleaning suppliesand air fresheners
Furthermore,potential sources of VOCs and additional toxins include paint, plywood, carpet,fabrics, drywall, and furniture to name a few. The glue often used in woodproducts is a major source. Look for products that state no VOCs or low VOCs onthe label, as manufacturers are beginning to take notice and correct theproblem. However, the problem of biological pathogens is increasing with agrowing problem of molds, and bacteria that result in illness such asLegionnaires Disease. The resulting increase in these illnesses is directlyrelated to poor maintenance of the heating and air conditioning system.
As theconcentration of hazardous substances increase SBS becomes a reality, and canhappen not only in high-rise offices, but also in homes.
If symptomslessen when you are away from your home or office, sick building syndrome is likely.
Providing Solutions for SBS
Providing fresh air is the obvioussolution. This can be accomplished with the heating and air conditioning, and ventilation system. In addition,every HVAC system should be properly maintained, by means of periodicinspections, routine cleaning of the system, ductwork and intake vents, andreplacement of the filter as needed. Proper maintenance can prevent the systemfrom becoming a breeding ground for potentially deadly diseases.
New materials used for furnishing orremodeling should contain no VOCs. Leaks or other sources of unwanted moisture,including standing water in HVAC drain pans or humidifiers, should be correctedimmediately. In the heating and airconditioning system, this means ensuring the condensate drain is open,allowing proper drainage. Routine maintenance will ensure the systems draintube remains open.
When your home contains gas appliances,install carbon monoxide detectors. In addition, when weather permits, openwindows, or doors to allow fresh air to circulate throughout the home. Yourhome will smell better, and you will feel better too.
If you suspect your home is making yousick due to sick building syndrome,give Cypress Heating and Air Conditioning a call. Our technicians can provideyou with a heating and air conditioning systemthat ensures clean indoor air. Our NATEcertified technicians offer highest level of industry expertise for qualityheating and air conditioninginstallation, heating and airconditioning repair, and thorough maintenance services. We serve Katy,Plano and the surrounding areas, and are a member of the BBB with an A+ rating.