The Dangers of Recirculated Air | Mr Duct Cleaning
The Dangers of Recirculated Air

It’s not often we take into consideration the ‘quality’ of the air we’re breathing in on a daily basis. In some circumstances, however, breathing in lower quality air is simply unavoidable. The recirculated air in your home or office is basically a combination of return air diverted from your building’s HVAC system and incoming outside air. In situations where high indoor air quality is present, this is favourable, as you’ll be breathing in fresh air that will be recirculated throughout the space. Sometimes though, there may be harmful substances like mould or even pathogens present in the building. If this air is recirculated throughout a building, it can quite easily make occupants fall ill, and in some cases even incapacitate them completely if they’re unknowingly breathing in a toxic substance. This is a problem that companies offering duct cleaning in Melbourne typically try to solve.

While there are many things that can be done to mitigate the quality of recirculated air, such as regular duct cleaning, recirculated air can still pose some risks and challenges. Read on to learn more about the dangers of having contaminated, low-quality air recirculating throughout your building or residence.

Sick Building Syndrome

You may not have heard of the term ‘sick building syndrome’ before. Sick building syndrome (or SBS for short) is used to define any scenario where the occupants of a building experience acute health effects that directly cause them discomfort as a result of spending time in the building. Quite literally, it means that the building they’re spending time in is ‘sick’ itself, harbouring some kind of harmful substance or pathogen that is being recirculated through the duct systems. This results in the occupants themselves getting sick or experiencing intense discomfort due to low-quality or toxic air constantly being recirculating. Sometimes complaints can be localised to a single room of a particular building, but more often than not airborne containments are found throughout a building where SBS is present. One way that building managers and business owners can mitigate the likelihood of SBS occurring is through regular duct cleaning. A professional duct clean is the best way to eliminate any harmful or toxic substances and prevent them from circulating throughout a building’s air duct system.

What Are Some Indicators of Sick Building Syndrome?

Unfortunately, suddenly feeling lackadaisical upon entering your workplace isn’t a symptom of the building suffering from SBS. The indicators that a building you’re occupying might be suffering from sick building syndrome are actually far more sinister. A common indicator of SBS is that upon spending a short amount of time within a particular building, occupants feel acute symptoms that cause them intense discomfort. This can include but isn’t limited to headaches, irritation of the eyes, exacerbation of a mild respiratory illness, or a prolonged feeling of fatigue from spending time in the building.

Because the set of symptoms is so diverse and could be an indicator of any number of things when taken at an individual level, SBS can go undiagnosed for years, sometimes even decades! A good way to narrow down the list of causes is to ask occupants if their symptoms are relieved upon leaving the building. If occupants report they don’t feel the same symptoms when at home or when in other buildings, it may be time to consider organising professional duct cleaning, as contaminated air could be circulating throughout the air ducts and causing occupants to feel ill.

What Are the Actual Causes of SBS?

While sometimes chemicals and toxic materials can enter a building externally and trigger SBS (such as harsh cleaning chemicals and car exhaust fumes), the most often cited causes are poor ventilation and accumulation of biological contaminants. What does this mean? Poor or inadequate air ventilation occurs when there aren’t enough air ducts in a building to maintain the health and comfort of the occupants. This means that the HVAC system cannot adequately heat or cool a building and distribute clean, high-quality air throughout. Biological contaminants, on the other hand, can cause SBS by breeding and accumulating in stagnant water found in air ducts. This means that at any given time you could be breathing in bacteria, mould, pollens and other viruses. Yuck!

What Can Be Done if You Suspect SBS?

If you suspect SBS is present in your home or office, then it may be time to call a duct cleaning specialist. While you might be tempted to take it upon yourself to solve the problem, contracting a company that offers duct cleaning in Melbourne is the quickest way to have your air ducts inspected for any contaminants or toxic substances that may be recirculating throughout the air. If you want to ensure the air quality of your building is top-notch, call Mr Duct Cleaning today on 1300 673 828 for a free quote.

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