6 Critical Commercial Air Quality Testing Measurements

Indoor air quality isn’t only a concerning factor in the home – it also affects businesses, building managers, tenants, and employees who spend most of their working hours indoors in commercial environments. Poor commercial air quality can take a toll on health, comfort, wellbeing, and productivity levels, costing tens of billions of dollars each year in lost productivity and medical care costs. However, an EPA report to Congress concluded that improved indoor air quality at work could increase productivity and reduce lost working days.

Commercial Air Quality Testing Measurements

If you’re a Lehigh Valley business owner or facility manager, commercial air quality testing can help you identify and remedy harmful pollutants lurking in your space, enhancing environmental safety and your bottom line. You may already monitor your building with the help of something like this Building Analytics Automation System but, in this article, we’ve outlined the six critical measurements that go into our targeted commercial air quality testing process and why each one is vitally important.

Relative Humidity (RH) Testing

Relative humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air, and concrete is a common RH source in commercial spaces. RH testing is the recommended method for assessing a concrete slab’s moisture conditions, the best predictor of its dryness. Guidelines from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommend 30-60% relative humidity in a commercial space to inhibit microbial growth and promote optimal comfort.

Air Velocity Testing

Air velocity refers to air speed in a commercial environment, an essential factor for thermal comfort. Improper air velocity can make a space feel stuffy, drafty, or otherwise uncomfortable. As part of a comprehensive commercial air quality testing process, an air velocity measurement can help you optimize your building’s thermal environmental conditions for employee comfort.

Carbon Monoxide Testing

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless contaminate that can have severe health consequences, including chest pain, fatigue, impaired vision, or even brain damage or death at too high levels. Our commercial air quality testing will detect any signs of carbon monoxide in your office or industrial space to help keep its occupants safe.

Carbon Dioxide Testing

Poorly ventilated commercial spaces can cause a buildup of carbon dioxide (CO2), often making employees feel drowsy and resulting in lower productivity, loss of concentration, and decision-making challenges. Our commercial air quality testing detects CO2 levels in your building, which provides a useful foundation for understanding your HVAC system’s efficiency.

Formaldehyde Testing

A common chemical in building materials and manufacturing processes, formaldehyde is a pungent gas that can cause a range of health issues, including sore throat, burning eyes, breathing difficulties, nausea, rashes, allergic reactions, respiratory problems, and cancer. A reading from our independent commercial air quality testing professionals can ensure your company doesn’t exceed safe levels.

Particulate Testing

Particulate matter (PM) is a complex mixture of solid and/or liquid particles suspended in the air. These particles are measured in micrometers, with the number after the PM representing the average particle diameter in microns (1/1000 of a millimeter). For instance, PM10 describes 10-micrometer diameter particles. The smaller the particle, the greater the danger. PM10 particles and smaller can travel deep in the lungs, where they can affect your respiratory system, heart, and other systems. Particulate testing can identify whether your building has small particles that require filtration, often as part of an HVAC system.

The Importance of ASHRAE 113 Compliance

As the EPA has observed, even the most well-managed buildings can experience low indoor air quality episodes, highlighting the importance of commercial air quality testing and compliance with the ASHRAE 113 standards on room air diffusion. As indoor air quality (IAQ) experts, we can help ensure your commercial space is legally up to code by taking these critical measurements for enhanced health, safety, and profitability. Contact us to learn more about indoor air quality testing for commercial buildings today.