Mechanical Insights

Allergy Season and Commercial Air Filters

Mar 11, 2021 8:30:00 AM / by Tate Engineering

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According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology (ACAAI), over 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year, making it one of the leading causes of chronic illness in the country. It’s a problem that costs over $18 billion every year. Some allergies are temporary, such as those related to allergy season air, while others are perennial.

For some people, allergy season air can cause even more significant and serious symptoms, especially if they suffer from co-existing conditions like asthma. Allergy season can pose a major challenge for businesses that are looking to keep productivity high and reduce the downtime associated with sick leave. What can businesses do to combat this seasonal trend? It starts with understanding the causes of allergy symptoms and determining the best ways to improve indoor air quality, keeping building occupants comfortable and healthy.

Related: Why IAQ Is Important When Returning to Work

When Is Allergy Season?

There’s a common misconception that allergy season occurs only in the spring, when plants begin to bloom and release pollen. Unfortunately, different allergens tend to populate the air at different times of year.

For example, tree allergies tend to dominate in spring, but ragweed allergies are more likely to flare up in the fall. Grass allergies are often worse in summer, and mold and fungi allergies are more prominent during winter months, as are dust allergies, due to buildings being closed up against cold outdoor temperatures.

In short, employees may suffer from allergy season air throughout the year, depending on what they’re allergic to, and some may have symptoms year-round if they react to a variety of allergens.

Combatting Allergy Season Air Year-Round

Because allergy symptoms can strike at any time of year, businesses are left with the difficult task of fighting this health risk regularly. The good news is that there are a few simple steps companies can take to improve their building’s HVAC systems and impact their indoor air quality for the benefit of all.

Proper ventilation is essential. It’s not uncommon to focus on the H (heating) and AC (air conditioning) portions of the HVAC system and forget about the V (ventilation) entirely. After all, if cold air issues from vents in the summer and warm air abounds in the winter, your ventilation is working properly, right?

Not necessarily. There’s more to ventilation than vents. This portion of the system draws in outside air and circulates it throughout your environment. This means that you could be drawing outside particulates like pollen and smoke into your interior environment, not to mention spreading dust, mold, and pathogens from one area of the building to the next through ducts and vents.

One great way to keep your indoor air clean and free of allergens is to upgrade to HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters. Made specifically to target environmental pollutants, these filters trap and hold 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns or larger in size, including pollen, mold, dust, dander, smoke, and even pathogens like bacteria and viruses (in some cases).

Related: How to Improve IAQ

Of course, HEPA filters alone aren’t enough. Removing plush surfaces that hold and then release allergens is also important, as is the regular cleaning of interior spaces to remove the dust and dander created by people in the environment. Scheduling a professional HVAC inspection, including cleaning, maintenance, and filter replacement as necessary, is also important.

Related: Air Filter Applications

Benefits of Addressing Allergy Season Air

By addressing the impact of allergy season air, not to mention indoor particulates responsible for common allergies, you can dramatically improve indoor air quality and create a safe and healthy environment for your employees. This, in turn, can reduce sick leave and increase performance and productivity year-round.

For help with improving your IAQ and giving your building’s occupants the environment they need, contact the experts at Tate Engineering. HVAC, IAQ, and air filtration are all areas we’re happy to help you with. 

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Tags: Seasonal, Equipment

Written by Tate Engineering