What is Sick Building Syndrome?

Most folks think about heating and cooling their homes when it comes to HVAC, but did you know that your HVAC system can have a dramatic effect on the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) of your home or commercial property? With all of our social distancing and spending so much time indoors, if you’re not keeping tabs on your system, you might be getting sick and tired of spending so much time inside … literally!

Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is a real phenomenon that happens when the air quality of your home (or office, school, etc.) is so bad that you start to feel ill when you’re there. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) explains that people suffering from SBS can experience cold and flu-like symptoms including, “cough, chest pain, shortness of breath on mild exertion, edema, palpitations, nosebleeds, cancers, pregnancy problems and miscarriages.” More extreme cases or exposure can also cause “extrinsic allergic alveolitis, Legionnaires disease, humidifier fever, pneumonia and occupational asthma”. In some cases, it can take months to recover! Scary, huh? We think so, and we’re here to help!

Air quality isn’t exactly a new focus for our health. Part of our indoor air problems stretch back to a 1970s movement to reduce energy costs amid the oil embargoes. Buildings were constructed more like airtight chambers, keeping out fresh air that can flush out all that bad stuff. Later that decade, the EPA began citing poor IAQ as a major health concern, but it wasn’t until recently that the ASHRAE (formerly called the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) increased the ventilation requirements for residential (and commercial) buildings to protect against these adverse health effects. 

We’ve learned from our mistakes and know that bringing outdoor air into your home is key to improving air quality and thereby your health. This can happen by natural ventilation such as opening windows or doors, infiltration of air through joints or cracks in walls or openings around windows and doors, or outdoor air can make its way in mechanically- through the outdoor air intake feature that we’re seeing in some of the more advanced HVAC systems. Unless you’ve got a fancy new whole house ventilation system, do as grandma did and open those doors and windows from time to time to let that fresh air in!

But wait … Bring the outside in?! But there is so much scary stuff going around with COVID-19 and cold & flu season upon us!  Reports indicate that better air means better immunity. Staying well ventilated will help keep that IAQ in primo standing and with proper HVAC maintenance, you can keep chemicals and biological contaminants from wreaking havoc on your home and your health. Our humid Fort Worth weather means more opportunity for moisture to collect in the various components of your system, but proper maintenance keeps your system clean and protects against mold and bacteria that love to breed in our warm, humid climate.

While you’re taking steps to keep your air fresh and your systems in check, make sure you keep your air filters cleaned as well. When air can’t filter properly, environmental pollutants like pollen, dander, bacteria, viruses, fungi and mold continue to circulate through the air ducts, repeating themselves in your air over and over. And over. And over. That’s not just unhealthy- it’s gross! Air filter maintenance allows maximum airflow through your heating and cooling systems, keeping your air cleaner and free of pollutants that can cause or aggravate respiratory illnesses like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

We know that it’s a weird, scary world out there right now, but it doesn’t have to be a scary one inside your home, too! At Titan Air Solutions, we believe the quality of your health is directly related to what’s in the air around you and it’s our goal to provide solutions that mean cleaner air for you and your family- especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Let us be your partner in keeping you healthy. Call one of our experts to talk about indoor air quality solutions to keep you safe, provide peace of mind, and of course, our Titan next-level service.

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