Air Quality FAQ – Air Conditioning and Indoor Air Quality

Air Conditioning and Heating

Why should I have my Air Conditioning System serviced?

How often should I have my Air Conditioning System Serviced?

LEV (Local Exhaust Ventilation)

What are my responsibilities as an employer? (LEV)

What is the purpose of a thorough examination and test? (LEV)

Who can undertake the thorough examination and test? (LEV)

What information does the examiner need? (LEV)

 

Sick Building Syndrome

What is Sick Building Syndrome?

What are my responsibilities as an employer? (Sick Building Syndrome)

 

 

Air Conditioning and Heating

Why should I have my Air Conditioning System serviced?

There are a number of reasons why it is beneficial to have your heating and air conditioning systems regularly serviced.

These benefits include:

  • Provide maximum efficiency which lowers energy costs
  • Increased dependability
  • Potential problems found and fixed quickly
  • Provide maximum efficiency which lowers energy costs
  • Prolongs the life-span of the equipment
  • Maintains safe and healthy operation
  • Can help to protect the environment
  • Drastically reduces the chance of equipment breaking down

How often should I have my Air Conditioning System Serviced?

Heating and Air Conditioning equipment should be serviced at least once a year. The best scenario is to have the heating system checked in the Autumn and the air conditioning checked in the Spring. Oil-fired equipment should definitely be cleaned and serviced annually.

Annual air quality servicing includes cleaning the system, checking for any problems or potential problems and adjusting for Peak efficiency.

For further information about Air Conditioning and Heating Systems and the services we provide call Vectair Environmental on 0118 981 7437 or get in touch via our contact page.

 

LEV (Local Exhaust Ventilation)

What are my responsibilities as an employer? (LEV)

Health and safety law says you must assess the risks to your workers from hazardous substances such as dusts, fumes, vapours, etc. – and decide what measures to use to protect their health. If the measures you adopt include extraction systems (LEV) to remove the dusts, fumes, vapours etc. produced by your work processes or activities, then you must maintain the LEV in efficient working order so it continues to provide the necessary protection. You should also have a periodic thorough air quality examination and test (at least every 14 months) and must keep this record for at least 5 years. In addition, you should have information on the installed LEV system to confirm it provides adequate protection, which should be kept for the life of the equipment.

What is the purpose of a thorough examination and test? (LEV)

It is a check that your LEV is still working as effectively as originally intended and is helping to protect your employees’ health. To be able to tell if it is still working as it should, you should be able to provide the examiner with information about the intended or designed performance of your system e.g. hood type and position relative to the process, airflow and other measurements. This information might be in the form of an initial appraisal or commissioning report, if one was carried out, or for simple ‘stand alone’ systems it could have been provided as standard operating data by the suppliers of extraction equipment. Alternatively, it might be found in recognised guidance (including that from HSE) on simple processes/systems.

Who can undertake the thorough examination and test? (LEV)

Carrying out a thorough examination and test of LEV equipment requires specialist skills and although it is possible to undertake this on your own, most businesses engage someone with specialist knowledge, experience and skills such as Vectair Environmental Ltd. It is important that the person who undertakes the thorough examination and test is competent to do so. The examiner will use information about your equipment’s intended performance to undertake the necessary examinations, tests and measurements to verify whether it is still meeting this level of performance. The report that they provide for you should clearly show whether this is the case and if it isn’t, the report should clearly show what is wrong and what needs to be done to correct it.

It is important that you:

  1. Read and understand your thorough examination and test report
  2. Ask the examiner questions if you don’t understand anything that it says
  3. Make sure you act on the recommendations in the report

What information does the examiner need? (LEV)

To assess if the LEV is still working properly, the examiner ideally needs to know what it was originally intended to do. When you obtained the LEV equipment, the supplier should have tested it on installation (or ‘commissioned’ it) to check it was working effectively and providing the necessary protection, as specified. If this did not happen then other sources of information may be available. The person doing the examination should let you know whether the information you provide is adequate for assessing whether the LEV is working as intended. Many examiners can help you identify intended performance information.

For further information about Air Quality, Local Exhaust Ventilation Systems and the services we provide call Vectair Environmental on 0118 981 7437 or get in touch via our contact page.

 

Sick Building Syndrome

What is Sick Building Syndrome?

Sick Building Syndrome typically occurs in large open-plan offices with automated heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems. There is no definitive cause of Sick Building Syndrome. Most experts believe that Sick Building Syndrome could be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

These factors may include:

  • Inadequate ventilation
  • Low humidity
  • Airborne pollutants – dust, carpet fibres or mould spores
  • Chemical pollutants – cleaning materials
  • Ozone / Environment – office equipment (printers, photocopiers)

What are my responsibilities as an employer? (Sick Building Syndrome)

As an employer you are expected to:

  • Perform an employee survey to see if the occurrence of symptoms is higher than expected. The survey may also identify obvious causes that can be easily fixed, such as changing the workplace temperature.
  • Check the general operation of the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems and the cleanliness of all air filters, humidifiers and de-humidifiers.
  • Check the cleanliness of the building, including cleaning equipment – vacuum cleaners.
  • Ensure the storage conditions of cleaning products and materials are safe and satisfactory.
  • Make sure the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system maintenance schedules are kept up-to-date and are being followed correctly.

Once these steps have been taken and all problems have been corrected employers should then carry out another employee survey to see if  the symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome persist. If the symptoms are still present, it will be necessary to carry out a more detailed investigation of the workplace.

For further information about Sick Building Syndrome and the services we provide call Vectair Environmental on 0118 981 7437 or get in touch via our contact page.

For more in depth detail please click here for a link to the HSE guideline of how to deal with Sick Building Syndrome (SBS)