Managing Your HVAC System

Are Your Dirty Ducts Making Your Business Sick?

Overlooking your commercial exhaust system is a big mistake. Just because you can't "see" a problem with it, it doesn't mean that there's not one. Dirty exhaust vents can house a wide variety of harmful bacteria and chemical residue, not to mention the typical dust and debris that ventilation systems pick up through their everyday use. If you aren't keeping your exhaust and ventilation system cleaned and maintained, here are some of the problems you might experience.

Sick Building Syndrome

Sick building syndrome is a term used to describe a building in which the indoor air quality is poor enough to lead to illness among the occupants. This typically refers to businesses or office buildings, but residential properties can also have this condition.

Employees or visitors to the building may complain of headaches, nausea, dizziness or other general discomfort which goes away after they leave the building. The cause of the symptoms is usually unclear, but they are generally attributed to sick building syndrome.

What Makes A Building Sick

The causes of SBS (sick building syndrome) can vary. One widely accepted belief is that poor air quality plays a large role in affecting the symptoms experienced by SBS sufferers. Factors that can affect indoor air quality include poor ventilation and the presence of chemical contaminants, both from inside and outside the building. Dirty air that is trapped in the ventilation system is recirculated over and over again, spreading germs and chemical residue that can make the building's inhabitants very sick.

Who Suffers From Your Dirty Air

People who spend the most time in the building are the most likely to suffer from SBS, but other visitors can have problems, too. If you own a restaurant with poorly maintained exhaust vents, bacteria and mold can be circulated and infect food, which can lead to serious illnesses including food poisoning

If your ventilation system is pushing dirty, polluted air outside your building, you could be affecting the air outside your building, too. Dirty dryer vents can pose more of a threat than regular air vents because not only do they push out dirty air, they could be a major fire risk for your building. This is why commercial dryer vent cleaning is particularly important; if your building catches fire, so can the ones around it.

Employees exposed to dirty air are more likely to suffer from breathing problems and allergies. If your employees are sick from the air in your building, they are more likely to miss work and cost you time and money. 

Dirty ventilation systems also drive up your energy bill. A system that is choked up with dust and debris has to work harder and won't be as efficient as one that is properly cleaned and maintained. The bottom line is it costs your business more to have dirty air.

How To Spot The Signs Of Dirty Ducts

There are some signs you might see before your air gets dirty enough to lead to illnesses among your employees and visitors. Watch for:

  • dust blowing in the air near the vents
  • dust accumulation on the return vent
  • mold growth on the grill of the vents
  • dust accumulation on the air conditioning coil of your HVAC unit

You might think that there's no harm in "a little" dust accumulation, but consider the fact that dust is comprised of dead skin, hair and bacteria, and you'll see why it's so important to keep it out of your ventilation system.

Nobody wants a "sick" building, but that's what you'll get if you ignore your commercial exhaust system. Keep your business and employees safe by hiring a company like Clearzone Services to carry out regular ventilation cleaning and maintenance, so you can breathe easy knowing your building is a healthy one.