Many of us, when considering indoor air quality, think only of outside particles getting in and how to prevent and regulate that. What about the particles coming from inside? The air we breathe is circulated back through a filter, but we also bring in dust with us as well as create “dust” of our own through skin cells. Not the most pleasant thought.
Like any dust, these skin cells that flake off naturally from the people occupying a space get into the filter system and make it work over time. A study in Hong Kong on smells in AC systems has also shown that these particles of skin can interfere with bacteria that is caught up in the air cooling system. The bacteria break down the skin flakes and releases ammonium, which can cause a urine smell. Not exactly a desirable atmosphere, especially when you are trying to work in a commercial space.
The fact that we create such “tight homes” in South Florida to prevent outdoor particles from getting in can actually make this worse. It traps our own pollution inside and our systems need extra filter care to deal with the problem. Imagine how much more severe this strain on your cooling system is in a commercial environment that has such a higher volume of people to cater to. People dealing with commercial systems would need to take extra special care in ensuring that they have the right filter on their air cooling systems, and that more regular cleaning and changing of filters takes place.
The secondary impact of this study on a commercial space is that this issue around the air filter system being clogged up by so many people’s skin deposits can affect the well-being of people in the building. The study recorded lower levels of productivity, which is the last thing a commercial space needs. So, it really benefits commercial space owners and renters to deal with the filter system in a way that is appropriate – with regular maintenance. This way, you ensure the best output for your input.
The typical side effects of a poor indoor air quality are headaches and allergies, and those signs should not be ignored. This study being referred to that suggests the impact on productivity, along with the known symptoms of poor indoor air quality, raises the notion that people are dependent on employers to manage and maintain the quality of air that they have no alternative but to breathe in order to feel good and do their best work. So, speaking to employees and commercial space owners everywhere, let’s keep the AC filters nice and clean, free of breakaway skin cells.
A good filter will prevent the skin cells from entering the air cooling system where it would interact with bacteria, staphylococcus to be precise, and release that ammonium we spoke about that causes the urine smell, which is a real relief. If that smell is ever noticeable, you’ll know you have a problem. Best to keep the filter clean so that point is never reached. If this point is reached, the particles released are not necessarily visible and so regular cleaning and maintenance won’t guarantee to remove the problem or the odor. Further diagnosis and tests will be required, increasing your costs.
For our homes, and commercial spaces, it is definitely becoming more and more evident that we have control over the quality of air we breathe and how healthy we feel. Do the hygienic thing and contact a professional air conditioning maintenance team to assess whether you have selected the right system and filter to manage the build-up of indoor dust and other particles. At Art Plumbing AC and Electric, we have a specialized AC team of Comfort Consultants with great knowledge and product range to ensure that these choices are made well.
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