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How Indoor Air Quality in Florida is Affecting You

How Indoor Air Quality in Florida is Affecting You

Between work, home, and going out, the average American spends about 90% of their time inside.

Although it might seem logical that indoor air quality (IAQ) is better than outdoor air quality, it’s actually the opposite. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, pollutant levels are often two to five times higher inside than outside. Primary culprits include combustion appliances, outdoor air pollutants, and traditional HVAC systems.

While reports show that outdoor air quality is improving in Florida overall, many larger cities like Miami, Orlando, and Jacksonville are struggling to keep pollutants to a minimum due to the large quantity of vehicles and industrial facilities.

In these cities (or any city for that matter) it’s important for building owners to focus on improving indoor air quality in Florida for public health purposes.

How Indoor Air Quality in Florida is Affecting You

Poor indoor air quality can pose a serious health risk to anyone who spends their time inside a building. Studies have linked IAQ to a host of adverse health effects, including:

  • Irritation of eyes, nose, and throat
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Heart Disease
  • Cancer

Additionally, poor indoor air quality can have a major impact on businesses as well (also known as sick building syndrome). Studies have shown that sick building syndrome has a negative affect on employees and can hinder business efficiency.

When employees don’t feel well, they can’t perform as well - they are more distracted, more irritable and less productive. Absenteeism goes up when employees are feeling ill and it may take them longer to recover after they leave the building.

A building with poor air quality can also significantly increase the risk of employees developing major health issues, such as cancer, pneumonia and Legionnaires disease.

Causes of Poor Indoor Air Quality

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), there are five primary sources of indoor air pollution:

  • Inadequate ventilation
  • Indoor contamination
  • Outside contamination
  • Microbial contamination (mold)
  • Contamination from building materials (glue, fabric, etc.)

After more than 500 indoor air quality assessments, experts found that over 50% of poor indoor air quality cases were caused by inadequate ventilation, which poses a serious environmental risk.

This is especially problematic in hot, humid areas like Florida, where outdoor conditions are not ideal for open windows - and where air conditioners are running all year long.

Modern buildings are designed to be energy efficient. They’re airtight to prevent cool air from escaping, reducing the HVAC system workload. While this might boost energy efficiency, it doesn’t allow fresh air to enter the building whatsoever.

Without adequate ventilation, polluted air continuously recirculates throughout the building. As more contaminants enter the air, air quality worsens until it eventually results in sick building syndrome.

Humidity in Florida

Humidity levels can also play a major role for Florida indoor air quality. Humidity creates dampness, which in turn creates mold. Mold spores spread through the air and can severely reduce IAQ.

Taking into account that Florida has an average relative humidity of a whopping 74.5%, it’s definitely an aspect to consider for indoor air quality monitoring in Florida.

Indoor Air Quality Codes in Florida

While there’s no official regulation for indoor air quality in Florida, there are several codes in place to help ensure residents and employees can live and work in a safe environment. There aren’t regular inspections, but building owners can be fined if a violation is reported to the Florida Department of Health.

Since it’s one of the most significant causes of poor indoor air quality, most Florida building codes and indoor air quality codes are focused on mold and mold removal. All mold, regardless of type, should be removed from a building as soon as it’s discovered:

  • If you live in a rental house or apartment, it’s up to your landlord to resolve any indoor air quality issues according to indoor air quality laws in Florida for tenants and landlords.
  • If an air quality or mold problem goes unresolved for an extended period of time, landlords and building owners could be fined.
  • If you notice any of the symptoms of poor indoor air quality, contact the Florida Department of Health for information, advice, technical assistance, and indoor air quality testing in Florida.

A licensed mold inspector can perform an indoor air quality assessment / mold assessment and analyze your building for various contaminants that might affect your health, including:

  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Humidity levels
  • Air pollutants
  • Mold growth

If they identify any substances hurting your indoor air quality during the mold inspection, your inspector will be able to provide suggestions regarding the next steps you need to take.

Taking into account that Florida has an average relative humidity of a whopping 74.5%, it’s definitely an aspect to consider for indoor air quality monitoring in Florida.

Boost Indoor Air Quality with UFAD

Since most indoor air quality issues stem from an HVAC system’s inadequate ventilation, the best thing building owners can do is attack the problem at the source. Replace your traditional HVAC with a system that’s focused on enhancing indoor air quality like an underfloor air distribution system (UFAD).

With a traditional HVAC system, conditioned air and old contaminated air are transported through the same ducts. This contaminates new air and recirculates pollutants throughout the space.

A UFAD system is different. It introduces conditioned air at the floor level and vents old air at the ceiling. With the old and new air separated, contaminants are effectively removed from the space, increasing air quality.

In addition to boosting air quality, a UFAD system can bring a range of other benefits to your building and those who work inside it, including:

  • Up to 30% less energy usage
  • Lower immediate & long-term costs
  • Better ventilation and air quality
  • Simpler installation due to minimal duct work
  • Increased productivity due to improved IAQ and a healthier work environment overall

If you’re looking to create a healthier space for your tenants, reach out to the experts at AirFixture to learn how a UFAD system will benefit your building.

We’ve worked with businesses and builders all over the world, creating customized UFAD solutions to fit their needs. Ensure that your tenants don’t work and live in unsafe conditions by upgrading the air quality in their environment.

Contact us today for the right underfloor air distribution system for you.

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