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7 Signs of a Ventilation Problem in Your Building

7 Signs of a Ventilation Problem in Your Building

Sick Building Syndrome.

It’s one of the biggest problems that commercial building owners and managers face. Yet, it’s one of the most commonly overlooked.

How so?

Simply because an SBS’s occupants experience health issues and discomfort without apparent reason or identified illness or cause. Because the sickness spreads mostly through the air, and air is something we can’t really see. Hence, it can go unnoticed until people start coughing, sneezing, and having dry, itchy eyes among many other symptoms.

And in many cases, it’s a ventilation problem that causes SBS.

SBS is a huge concern. It’s one that you can’t afford delaying the solutions to. Just to let you know, this widespread ‘disease’ in buildings results in over a yearly loss of over 24 million working days.

So, to help you prevent such disasters, we’ve come up with this list of seven signs pointing out to ventilation issues.

1. Rising Number of Fatigue Complaints

Have you heard more than just a few of your building’s tenants saying how it seems like they can’t wake up? Even after they just had a long sleep and a refreshing jolt of caffeine? Perhaps many of them even feel more than just the usual sleepiness – they feel tired to the bone.

Well, in this case, that wall of fatigue they constantly hit may already point to a growing ventilation problem.

Poor ventilation almost always means poor indoor air quality (IAQ). It’s much like how IAQ affects homes throughout the United Kingdom.

A building that has poor IAQ exposes its occupants to pollutants and contaminants. When inhaled, especially in large doses, these unhealthy air particles can limit the function of the lungs. This then makes oxygen circulation more difficult, leading to symptoms of fatigue.

Those who experience this sign of ventilation issues usually find themselves feeling better once they get out of the building.

2. Headaches that Develop Only Inside the Building

Employees who work in sick buildings also often complain about massive headaches. And like with the symptoms of fatigue, the pain subsides once they leave the work premises. In any case, take this as a sign of ventilation problem in your building.

Sometimes, the culprits are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Paint, paint thinners, cleaning solutions, and even some types of carpeting are sources of these hazardous compounds.

Without proper ventilation, VOCs can float around and circulate through the air indoors. Anyone who steps into the building can then inhale them, leading to painful symptoms such as headaches.

3. Runny Nose Even When It’s Not Flu Season

Does it seem that the flu is going around? Do you hear people in the building sniffling non-stop?

If so, then that’s another sign you have a ventilation problem.

This is especially true when these people only develop the flu-like symptoms when inside the building. They’re not allergic to their jobs, but there’s definitely something in the air that makes them appear so.

Poor indoor air quality can trigger allergies and asthma in people who have them. But it can also make people who don’t have these conditions suffer from similar symptoms.

In this case, don’t let your tenants or employees suffer longer. In fact, don’t wait until they serve you with a complaint or even a lawsuit! The sooner you have the ventilation system checked, the sooner everyone gets better again.

4. Dizzy Spells and Nausea Going Around?

Feeling green around the gills whenever in the office? That’s another common sign of a ventilation problem, and one that you should stop ignoring.

Indeed, there are plenty other causes of dizziness and nausea. But if they’ve become more common amongst a building’s tenants, then it’s most likely the indoor air quality to blame.

Poor ventilation, combined with all other pollutants and contaminants that get into the building can make anyone go crazy dizzy.

Remember, fulfilling your property management responsibilities is part of your legal agreement with your tenants. Don’t let get sick or you can face serious penalties from the Government.

5. It Stinks Inside the Building

Horrible smells. Like a cloth that’s been damp for ages. Similar to what smelly socks usually smell like.

Again, these all point to a possible ventilation problem. Musty odors and the feeling of dampness surrounding you are signs you should check the building’s ventilation system.

6. The Dreaded, Disgusting Moulds

Proper ventilation allows fresh air to enter and circulate throughout a building. Without this, condensation rises and mold problems soon follow.

The scary thing about molds is that it takes as little as one to two days for them to start spreading. That’s right. All it takes is a weekend for them to take over many areas of your workplace or commercial building.

And the longer you allow them to live, the more difficult it is to get rid of them. Also, don’t think that these microorganisms only thrive in bathrooms and other damp and dark areas. They can survive almost anywhere, eating away at anything organic.

From wood to paper to fabric to cotton, molds can cover them all. And don’t forget about the potential toxic effects of black mold, the most dreaded of its kind.

7. Stuffy, Chest-Tightening Kind of Indoor Environment

People complaining about how “stuffy” the air is or how it seems like they can’t breathe properly indoors? That’s another sign of a ventilation problem.

A malfunctioning ventilation system doesn’t allow adequate amounts of fresh air to enter, so there’s lack of fresh air circulating in the building too. Or, maybe it does let fresh air in but the indoor air quality has gone so bad that it no longer helps.

Whichever the case is for your building, it’s time you have professionals check the ventilation for any problems.

Get That Ventilation Problem Resolved ASAP

As a building owner or manager, you can’t let your property harm its occupants. Not only is it your legal responsibility. It’s the ethical thing to do.

The last thing you want is for people who stay for long hours inside your property get sick. So, before any of these happens, give us a call. We’ll set your ventilation issues straight and make sure everyone breathes in fresh air again.

Composite image of technician with tool belt around waist

Top 10 Commercial Building Maintenance Tips

Top 10 Commercial Building Maintenance Tips

Owning a commercial property is a hands-on job. One of your top priorities should be its maintenance in order to preserve the building’s value.

The wear and tear of your commercial property is only natural.

But in order to generate some form of profit, there are routine maintenance steps which should be carried out year-after-year.

Commercial building maintenance is generally quite routine. This way, you can also avoid costly renovations which could only hurt your profits down the line.

Here are some of the top 10 commercial building maintenance steps to take in order to keep your property in tip-top shape.

Commercial Building Maintenance Tips To Keep in Mind

When it comes to owning commercial property, there are two primary objectives:

  1. To maintain its value
  2. To generate revenue in order to earn a profit on your investment

Maintaining its value goes hand-in-hand with the condition of the building. The more maintenance is neglected, the greater decrease in value.

Generating revenue is related to the tenants who may use your building as a business premises. The better the state of your building, the higher the caliber of tenants and rent they are likely to pay.

To add to this, regular commercial building maintenance is a great way to prevent huge, unforeseen costs.

A collapsed roof, fire damage, pest infestation or flooding could spell disaster for your profits.

Here are 10 steps to take each year for your commercial building maintenance:

1. Audit Your Energy Consumption

An energy audit of your commercial building is important in establishing where you can lower your overall costs, year-to-year.

As a commercial building owner, you may find that energy costs are one of your biggest overheads. Doing an energy audit is a great way to determine what is chewing into your budget.

An energy professional will conduct an overview of your building and will determine how you can lower your costs, such as:

  • Swapping out old light-bulbs for energy-saving alternatives
  • Repairing insulation around doors and windows
  • Replacing window glass
  • Replacing roof insulation and more

An energy audit also allows you to determine whether your tenants are happy with and comfortable within your building.

2. Fix Your Fixtures

Another important aspect of commercial building maintenance is the upkeep of simple things, such as fixtures.

Leaving these damaged fixtures to sit for prolonged periods of time can only lead to further accidents or damage to your building.

Damaged fixtures such as broken lights, door handles, small windows or damaged doors can also leave your building looking shabby.

Make sure to replace damaged fixtures as and when they happen to avoid a backlog of maintenance work and unhappy tenants!

3. Conduct a Monthly Safety Audit

The safety mechanisms and fixtures throughout your commercial property should also be one of your top maintenance priorities.

When it comes to an emergency, these safety fixtures must be in full working order to avoid accidents and any potential lawsuits.

Emergency lighting systems, emergency exit signs, emergency doors and fire detector systems are just some of these safety fixtures.

Make sure to do a monthly audit of these safety mechanisms to ensure they are all operating as they should.

4. Prioritize Remodelling Projects

The remodeling of your commercial property goes a long way in keeping it looking modern and well-kept. After all, this is what your tenants pay for.

The general rule-of-thumb is to keep your commercial property in the same state as you would your own home. If you notice remodeling work is needed, don’t neglect it.

Replace ripped carpets, repaint chipped and peeling walls or ceilings, and refresh the building’s exterior with fresh paint at least once a year.

These are just some of the basic maintenance and remodeling requirements for any commercial building.

5. Stay-On-Top of Pest Control

Undoubtedly, one of the worst issues to deal with when it comes to any commercial property is a rampant pest infestation.

This can end up costing you thousands of Dollars in building extermination, as well as the temporary removal of your tenants.

Keep in mind that even if your tenants haven’t complained about pests, doesn’t mean there isn’t an issue.

Stay-on-top of pest control by conducting a pest audit with a professional at least once a year. Maintenance is the key to keeping pests at bay!

6. Eliminate All Fire Hazards

One of the most devastating hazards which faces any property owner is the potential for a fire to break out.

The only way to avoid a fire breaking out is to identify and eliminate all fire hazards throughout your property.

You will also need to do routine checks on smoke detectors throughout your building at least once a month. Batteries will need to be replaced once a year as well.

Make sure all fire exit doors are fully operational and passageways are kept clear. Ensure each floor of your building is equipped with fire extinguishers.

7. Keep Your Backup Generator Firing

Stagnant parts in a backup generator can spell disaster. As these parts remain motionless, air can creep into the unit injector solenoid and render your generator useless.

All emergency generators need to be started up for at least 5 minutes, once a week to rev up the moving parts and keep things alive.

Transfer load testing should generally be done once a month, while a scheduled full load test should be carried out annually.

8. Prioritize Maintenance of Facilities and Utilities

Staying on track with the full function of your building’s facilities is paramount to keeping tenants happy.

These facilities include the likes of elevators, escalators, public bathrooms, staff rooms and HVAC units.

It’s vital that you conduct a monthly inspection of the operation of these facilities to prevent accidents and maintain the quality of your building.

9. Inspect HVAC Systems Annually

In the summer and winter months, air-conditioning and heating systems are paramount to the comfort of your building’s tenants.

As a result, the HVAC system of your building could be working overtime and close to burn out. This is where monthly inspection is so important.

Filter inspection and replacement will ensure your HVAC system works at its optimum.

If the system seems to be taking strain, call in a technician who can assess where to take some pressure off with re-balancing.

Don’t forget to check the function of HVAC thermostats too!

10. Inspect Electrical and Alarm Systems

Electrical faults play a huge role in the cause of fires breaking out in many commercial buildings – 24.5% of all fires to be precise.

Professional inspection of your wiring, breakers, and appliances throughout your building must be made a priority at least once a year.

While these systems are being inspected, it’s also a good time to double check smoke alarms and fire retardant systems.

Keep Your HVAC Systems In Top Condition With M&E Management

At M&E, our specialty lies in the expert maintenance of commercial property HVAC systems.

Established in 2007, our years of experience put us a cut above the rest, delivering an unrivalled maintenance and repair service.

If your commercial building is in need of HVAC maintenance, don’t hesitate to contact us for all your needs!

Air Conditioning Repair

Common Signs You Need Commercial HVAC Repair

Common Signs You Need Commercial HVAC Repair

A NASA study theorised that productivity falls by 3.6% for every degree over 22C. So your heating and cooling systems have the power to keep your space feeling comfortable and productive. They can set the tone for those in your space and those who enter it.

A broken HVAC unit can make this space the exact opposite, especially on hot summer nights.

That’s why it’s important to keep an eye out for HVAC repair. Today, we’ve gathered some common signs for you to look out for. Read on for more:

AC Blowing Warm Air

Air Conditioning Repair

Young repairman fixing an industrial air conditioning compressor.

If your AC unit is blowing warm air it could be many different things. The system may be out of refrigerant. If so this is a very easy fix but if your air conditioner is still blowing out this air and the refrigerant levels are normal then you should call an HVAC repair specialist.

This problem could be being caused by different areas of your HVAC unit. It could be your outside unit or there may be an air duct that is letting in unconditioned air. Either way, a professional will be able to spot the answer quickly and find a solution to have your AC running right.

Utility Costs Are Rising

This is one of the most common ways to see that you need an HVAC repair. If you notice a sudden increase in your electricity bills and you haven’t made any drastic changes recently it may be your HVAC unit.

This may be happening because your filters are dirty. Dirty filters can cause air flow to be restricted and as a result, your unit will need to work harder to make up for it.

However, if you have cleaned your filters and they are still rising the problem may be a leak in your system or bad parts.

Rooms Are Different Temperatures

If some rooms in your area are different temperatures, this is a much larger problem in your HVAC system. It could be that you need a bigger system or that some ducts have been damaged and are restricting air flow.

One common cause of this problem is a damaged thermostat. If you have replaced the thermostat and the rooms feel the same its time to call an HVAC repair professional. This problem can also be avoided with regular maintenance check-ups every now and then.

Your System Is Noisy

Noisy HVAC systems can mean different repairs depending on the noise it makes. A rattling or humming noise inside the air conditioning unit can indicate that a fan on the inside is loose or that it needs to be cleaned. If this is the problems then it’s a quick fix.

If your HVAC unit is banging or clanking, then this can be a more serious problem. Noises like this can mean that parts are loose and moving around. Trying to fix the problem yourself may do more harm than good.

If you hear a clicking coming from your system don’t worry too much. This usually just means the unit is starting up.

Exposed Wires

If you ever suspect something wrong with your unit and you see exposed wires call an HVAC repair specialist immediately. These can be extremely dangerous and pose a risk of electrocution.

If you open a heating or cooling unit and see exposed wires never try and put them back yourself. You can cause yourself serious injury.

Furthermore, if there are wiring problems with your system then this can indicate a larger HVAC system problem. A technician may be able to make repairs to get it working again but you should get ready for a replacement.

Old Age

Most HVAC units only last up to 20 years. If your system is approaching that age, you might be needed an HVAC repair soon. Keep up with regular maintenance to ensure you will get the most years from the system.

Start talking with your HVAC specialists about when it will be time to replace your unit with a new one. If your system is getting old, chances are it is slowly becoming less efficient.

This means that it will probably be using more energy then it should and as a result causing a higher utility bill. Try to keep up with the unit’s refrigerant to make sure it isn’t running out. An older system will also take longer to cool your house down.

Decreased Air Flow

If you feel as though the air flow in your space has decreased suddenly it could be because of your outdoor unit. Check the condensing unit for anything that might have gotten attached to it.

If there are things like grass or branches attached it might be restricting its ability to receive air. If this is not a simple fix, the problem may be in the system. Dirty coil or clogged ducts can be the cause.

Hiring a professional can help you get to the problem quickly. An expert can also fix it correctly so no more damage is done.

Humidity

If you live in an area that gets extremely humid during the warmer seasons, your HVAC system puts in serious work. The AC unit needs to not only cool your space but also remove all of that humidity out of it.

This process can wear your unit out after a long time. If your house is not removing the amount of humidity that it should, this can be a larger problem that requires a professional.

The humidity could be because your AC unit does not work hard enough, in which case a professional could optimise it for the job. Or the humidity could be due to your ventilation system.

Delays in Turning On

If your HVAC unit is slow in turning on or does not turn on at all this is an obvious job for HVAC repair. This problem may be because of a faulty thermostat, which is an easy fix.

If the thermostat doesn’t fix the problem, it is likely something more complex. One reason may be that the HVAC unit’s ignition isn’t working, or the wires on the inside of your units may be burnt out.

Contact Us For HVAC Repair

Having a broken HVAC system can cause discomfort and frustration in your living space. Identifying the signs you need a repair is only the first step.

Don’t wait to get your system looked at as the problem can get worse or spread to other parts of the system. If you want to set up an appointment to get your unit looked at contact us!

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