Solving Common Ventilation Problems in Your Building (Video)

Indoor air pollution caused by poor ventilation can negatively impact occupant comfort and health. Here we’ll look at some common ventilation issues and solutions to improve performance.

A well-designed and properly maintained ventilation system can improve your building’s indoor environmental quality, or IEQ, which has been shown to improve the health and productivity of your occupants.

Indoor air pollution is caused by the buildup of contaminants, like biological organisms, building materials and pesticides. These pollutants can contribute to building-related illnesses that lead to increased employee sick days and reduced work efficiency. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health identifies poor ventilation as a significant factor contributing to many of these cases.

Increasing the supply of outdoor air is the most commonly used method for fixing indoor air problems. But system design problems and operational issues can impact indoor air quality.

Let’s look at some of the common issues and solutions to improve ventilation performance.

Improper air distribution prevents fresh air from being circulated. Make sure registers aren’t blocked by furniture or equipment and be sure partitions or barriers don’t restrict airflow. It’s also important that air supply and return air vents are located at a reasonable distance to ensure balanced air distribution.

Ventilation designs that reduce operation or interrupt flow based only on temperature settings can negatively impact contaminant removal. Establish minimum ventilation rates based on air cleanliness and distribution, as well as temperature and humidity.

Poor vent placement can cause big issues. Make sure air supply vents are located away from sources of pollution, such as exhaust vents, heavy traffic areas and trash dumpsters.

Ventilation system scheduling is critical to maintaining good indoor air quality. Schedule ventilation operation based on occupancy levels or operating hours. Implementing demand control of ventilation with carbon dioxide sensors can optimize indoor air quality and save energy.

Prevent ventilation system issues from becoming problems. Follow a regular maintenance plan according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Remember, poor ventilation is the leading cause for sick building syndrome ailments resulting in health issues and decreased productivity. To maintain a high indoor environmental quality, be sure fresh, clean air is being properly distributed, even when air heating or conditioning for temperature is not needed.

Understanding common ventilation issues and their effects on the overall IEQ of your building can pay big dividends for your business.