The Role Of Humidity In Indoor Air Quality

We all know that humidity is vaporized water in the air. Relative humidity refers to the percentage of water vapor in the air at a given temperature, compared with water vapor that the air is capable of holding at that temperature. When the air at a certain temperature has all the water vapor it can hold at that temperature, the relative humidity is said to be 100%. When the relative humidity of a place is too high or too low, it can cause health problems, discomfort and generally less hygienic atmosphere. This is called ‘low air quality’, and it’s a problem for many office spaces across the UK.

 

Why Is Indoor Air Quality Important?

An average employee will probably spend around 90% of their time indoors, and 38% of that will be spent sitting in your office space. All that time, they are breathing in air that other people are breathing, that fluctuates in heat and humidity, and that may even have to be plumbed in if there are no openable windows or ventilation. A lot of business owners out there will probably be wondering why this matters. After all, it’s the same wherever you go – especially in office-based businesses.

But poor air quality has a pretty big knock-on effect on both employee health and productivity. For example, pollutants in the indoor environment can cause chronic illness (such as higher levels of CO2), low humidity can cause dry eyes and sore throats, and poorly filtered air can cause allergic reactions. General low air quality has been known to cause headaches, physical fatigue, sinus infections, respiratory issues and a general lack of concentration among employees. All of that adds up to a higher rate of absenteeism for the workforce, and a much lower level of productivity when they are present. The research has shown time and time again the links between air quality, work performance and health, yet many office users are still unaware of the issue.

 

Humidity Levels In Offices

If you want to improve the health and productivity of your workforce, you need to create an environment that is healthy and comfortable for them to work in. A lot of this has to do with the levels of humidity in their air around them, and how they change over time.

In general, the human body is most comfortable when the relative humidity of the room ranges between 20% and 60%. The recommended average relative humidity for an indoor area is around 30-50%, when the outside temperature anything above 0.  If your rH goes above 60%, you will start to get mould and mildew forming, which creates its own range of health problems for your employees.

Similarly, if your rH goes below 30%, you are open to more health risks. For example, rH of 30% or lower can cause static electricity problems, irritations of the skin, dry eyes and drying out of the mucous membrane, which leads to upper respiratory illnesses among staff.

The key thing to remember about relative humidity is the word relative – meaning it can change over time. As the weather gets warmer or colder, you need to adjust your humidity solutions to keep the environment at a comfortable level.

 

Ways To Improve Your Air Quality

As we’ve already learned, the best way to improve your health is to improve the quality of the air you’re breathing. Since the average UK adult will spend approximately 13 years and 2 months of their life at work, ensuring high-quality air in the workplace is crucial. So, here are a few things you can do to improve the quality of your indoor air:

·  Open your windows so that they provide cross ventilation. This will also reduce moisture and odours that tend to hang around in offices – particularly kitchens.

 

·  Replace your air filters regularly. If your filters are clogged, air flow becomes non-existent, and dust and debris will build up in the air ducts, causing problems down the line.

 

·  Introduce some office plants. Plants are biological air purifiers, and have been proven to improve the air quality in homes and offices. So the more greenery – the better!

 

·  Have your air quality tested. Experts in air quality (like us) have the right tools and know-how to measure the air quality in your office, from air flow to humidity levels, ventilation and more. So they will be able to tell you exactly what you need to do to improve your air quality.

 

·  Install a humidity control solution. Humidity control is the biggest factor in indoor air quality, and it is easily solved with the right solution. It’s a simple way to ensure your office stays at a consistent and beneficial RH level, preventing dry eyes, sore throats and reducing the spread of airborne viruses.

 

At Humidity Solutions, we specialise in providing humidity control solutions for all sorts of commercial environments, from printing rooms to chemical labs, office spaces and meeting rooms. We work closely with you to identify your needs and create a bespoke solution to fit them. We don’t believe in ‘off the shelf’ – just as no two businesses are the same, neither are out solutions. What you get will help you achieve your goals and improve your air quality, in the way you need it most. To find out more, get in touch with the team today.