Is Your Home Office Making You Sick?

Published on: December 21, 2017
Woman in chair drinking hot beverage | Home office making your sick? | AC Southeast®

Office environments have many known hazards that impact their air quality. When you’re working in an environment that’s managed professionally, these concerns fall on a member of the maintenance staff. In your Flomaton, Alabama, home office, however, you have to tackle these considerations on your own.

Poor indoor air quality can cause a number of troublesome issues, including persistent headaches, nasal congestion, watery eyes, itchy skin, and other discomforts. Poor IAQ can decrease your productivity and lead to more sick days, which you simply can’t afford when working from home. Make sure you’re aware of the office-related hazards that may crop up in your home so you can breathe easy while you’re working comfortably from home.

Check Your Office Furniture

As you’re setting up a home office, you may need to purchase some new pieces of furniture. Items that are made from particleboard are notorious for off-gassing VOCs into the air. Many types of upholstery and furniture with particular coatings, paints, or glues will release VOCs as well. Shop for items that have finishes and fabrics with no or low VOCs. You may also find pieces with UV-cured coatings that reduce emissions.

VOCs can off-gas for years, but items typically release the majority of their gasses within the first 12 months. Purchasing secondhand can help you find items that have finished off-gassing while also padding your home office budget.

Test the Air Quality

Do you really know what’s in your air? Air quality testing might take place routinely in a commercial office without your knowledge, but when you work at home, this task becomes your responsibility. There are some tests that you can do at home. You should always have a carbon monoxide detector active in the home to alert you to these omissions. A radon test is something you can easily perform at home as well.

Other tests should be done by a professional. AC Southeast® contractors offer comprehensive indoor air quality testing that will give you a thorough understanding of all that’s in your air. After analyzing the results, we can help you identify the best measures to overcome any issues in your home office.

Address Ventilation

Ventilation is an important concern in your home office. While you can minimize VOCs, it’s difficult to eliminate them completely. They creep up in an alarming number of places. You may have VOCs from a photocopier used for your home office or from the caulk and adhesives you use to craft your wares. Cleaning products, cosmetics, carpeting, and vinyl floors can all contain VOCs.

Get rid of what you can and manage what remains with proper ventilation. A ventilation system will control the flow of fresh air into your home. It systematically vents old, stale air to the outside and pulls fresh, filtered air into the house. Installing a home ventilation system can dramatically improve your indoor air for a more comfortable work environment.

Keep Up With Maintenance

Maintenance is a critical part of providing proper indoor air quality. It’s important that you treat this task as the essential job that it is, never neglecting routine home care. You should change the air filter in your HVAC system at least once every three months. If you have a lot of dust, pet dander, or other pollutants in the home, you may want to increase the frequency to a monthly filter change.

You should also schedule an annual maintenance visit for both your heating and cooling systems. Have your air conditioner serviced in early spring before the onset of the cooling season, and have your heating system serviced in early fall. During your annual tune-ups, our technicians will thoroughly inspect and clean your unit. This will alert you to pending problems early and help ensure that your system is always equipped to deliver outstanding air quality.

If you’re overdue for HVAC maintenance, contact AC Southeast® for an appointment. Our network of HVAC dealers and contractors can help with critical tune-ups for all your equipment, including your air conditioner, furnace, and indoor air quality installations. With the right care and attention now, you can make sure you’re breathing comfortably every day you’re on the job.