Office Air Purifiers
Remember when the COVID-19 pandemic sent office workers worldwide to their homes? People went home, got creative, and set up shop in any space they could make work. It launched a whole new work-from-home mentality that corporations and employees made work. While it's true that many employees, at companies both big and small, have continued working from home, many have returned to a traditional office setting. If you’re part of the latter, finding ways to improve your air quality while at the office might not be a bad idea, considering how much time you’re spending in the same building.
It has been widely documented that indoor air can be quite a bit more polluted than outdoor air.1 In fact, the EPA has estimated that “poor indoor air may cost the nation tens of billions of dollars each year in lost productivity and medical care.”2 And whether it is co-workers coming to work sick, lack of ventilation or other factors, poor indoor air quality at the office is not uncommon. Health problems associated with building problems may include dry eyes and throat, runny nose, headaches, fatigue and even irritability and forgetfulness.3 Not only can these lead to less productive time at the office, but they may also cause you to take more sick days. And while you have little control over the air quality in your building, you can take control over your own personal space. Office air purifiers provide a number of options for reducing the number of airborne pollutants in your own personal airspace.
Why Are Air Purifiers for Offices Helpful?
When you go to your employer’s office, you typically have zero control over your surroundings - the size of the space, the number of people coming and going, and the indoor air quality (IAQ). You could be working in large or small rooms, the ventilation system design could be inadequate, humidity levels may or may not be ideal, and there is almost certainly some level of indoor air pollution. Considering you’ll be spending a good portion of your weekdays there, an air purifier for office settings can be helpful. It is one of the easiest ways for you to improve the quality of the air vented into your immediate area.
Why is an office air purifier such a good idea? The air in your building can be a virtual melting pot for both indoor and outdoor pollutants. Allergens and other pollutants from the outside like pollen and smoke can follow people through doors as they enter the building. They can enter through open windows or poorly designed HVAC systems. They even get in through tiny cracks in what’s called the building envelope. The building envelope is defined as the parts of the structure that separates the outdoor environment from the interior environment. Basically, the building envelope surrounds the conditioned living space and separates it from any unconditioned space in the home, as well as the outside elements. Tiny cracks or unproperly installed air seal could allow those allergens access into the interior environment. Dust and indoor sources of mold are common indoor airborne pollutants. Volatile organic compounds from building materials and other sources may be present in the air as well. Air contaminated by these pollutants is more than just annoying, it’s an IAQ problem that can affect your short-term health, potentially your long-term health and your on-the-job performance.
How Air Purifiers Can Help Office Air Quality
What an air purifier does to improve office air quality depends upon the quality of the unit. Most models work by using a fan to push dirty air through an internal filter (or filters) and then send the filtered air back out into your office space. Models with HEPA filters are typically recognized as the gold standard in terms of filtration, with the ability to capture 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns in size. Some will also include a pre-filter to help trap larger dust and dirt particles before reaching the HEPA filter. For odor control, look for a unit that has an activated carbon filter. Some of the more effective units available combine all three.
When comparison shopping, be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendation for how many square feet the unit can effectively clean (keep in mind most measures assume 8-foot ceilings, so if your office is higher, you will want a more powerful unit). This will help ensure you choose a product that works for your area. Your co-workers would probably also appreciate you selecting a model that operates quietly.
Where Should an Air Purifier Be Placed in an Office?
Common sense rules when it comes to finding a good place for your office air purifier. Avoid placing the unit in a corner or right next to a wall to allow maximum airflow into and out of the unit, If possible, allow about two feet or more from the nearest wall. Placing it near an obvious source of airborne pollutants may also be a good idea and avoid placing it near sources of moisture/humidity which can affect filter performance.
Are Air Purifiers Better on the Floor or Desk?
While there is no absolute, “one size fits all” answer, at Carrier we recommend placing our air purifiers on a flat surface at least 12 inches away from any wall or other furniture. Avoid placing the product near flammable substances, gas leak, places exposed to high humidity, oil, grease, or water, or in direct sunlight or near a heating vent. As well avoid placing the air purifier within three feet of a television or other electronic device. As long as those requirements are respected, the air purifier can be either slightly elevated on a flat, stable surface a couple of inches off the floor or on the floor itself. Both would do a good job of drawing air from both above and below the unit. You can also experiment with different locations to see if one works better for you than the other.
If you are like most people in the United States, you spend as much as 90% of your time in indoor environments4 – including at work in an office. As discussed above, indoor air can be more polluted than outdoor air.1 And, undesirable health effects and reduced job performance can result from exposure to bad IAQ.5 That’s why so many folks like you are showing interest in indoor air quality solutions, including an office air purifier.
Carrier has more than a century of experience improving indoor environments offering a variety of solutions for cooling, heating, ventilation, filtration, and humidity control. Carrier’s air purification products provide a variety of solutions to help make your office a more welcoming – and productive – place to spend your time.