Addressing IAQ Danger After Winter Weather

Winter has been no joke this year with constant bouts of snow and freezing temperatures. While some have been affected more by snow and others by freezing rain, one thing is for certain, everyone has dealt with some type of issue from the winter weather.

The aftermath of such weather resulted in rolling blackouts, burst pipes, boil water notices, flooding, and more. And while staying warm and dry and fixing burst pipes were on many minds, indoor air quality (IAQ) probably wasn’t.

With an issue like flooding, a building’s IAQ and overall health are at risk. Whether the flooding is born from burst pipes or melting snow, the dangers amassed can be significant. As water sits, microorganisms can grow and become airborne and from there enter into HVAC systems. The longer the water damage from flooding is left untreated, the greater the risk becomes to IAQ and an HVAC system overall. Mold, mildew, allergens, bacteria and viruses, and other containments are just a handful of the dangers that can wreak havoc on a building’s IAQ.

But flooding isn’t the only risk to a building or facility’s IAQ! There are many different pollutant sources such as:

  • Excess moisture (such as too much humidity)
  • Broken or ineffective HVAC or BAS systems
    • Outdoor sources
    • Pesticides
    • Outdoor air pollution
    • Risky invisible gases (i.e., Radon)
  • Indoor materials and/or furnishings
  • Newly installed flooring, cabinetry, or furniture made of certain products
    • Deteriorating materials (i.e., insulations)
    • Fuel-burning combustion products (i.e., furnaces)

So how do you treat a building that is sick due to poor IAQ? You’ll first want to ensure that your building or facility is in compliance with ANSI/ASHRAE Standards 62.1 and 62.2, which are the standards recognized for ventilation system design and acceptable IAQ. (They were even revised and expanded for 2022 to ensure the highest level of safety for buildings and their occupants!)

Ok, so you’re up to standard. What’s next? Here are a few easy steps to take to improve that not-so-great IAQ:

  • Clean any areas that could be contributing to unsafe air
  • Change out system filters regularly
  • Use air cleaning/purifying devices
  • Regularly monitor your systems to catch pollutants early
  • Increase ventilation as needed to accommodate building occupancy

Once an HVAC system is sick, it can be difficult to fix. Everyone’s worst nightmare is having to take apart ductwork to clean the mold and mildew out. (Not to mention anything else you might find along the way!) It could take weeks to traverse a large building’s entire system to find where and what needs to be cleaned, repaired, and more.

Stay up to date and ahead of the game by practicing the 3 M’s of HVAC (monitoring, maintenance, and management), and help keep your building’s IAQ healthy!

Need help navigating a sick building or facility? Chat now with us about needed parts on or call today. Kele’s got you and your sick building covered!

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