Facilities Managers – what are the benefits of monitoring your water and air?

7th March 2019

Perhaps the two resources most taken for granted on our planet are the air we breathe and the water we drink. In a work environment, it is important to ensure that these resources are clean and safe to protect occupants. Apart from human health, air and water are also important parts of HVAC operations and must be kept clean to ensure efficient operations.

When it comes to air, external emissions create harmful particulates which can infiltrate a building. Combined with internal toxins, caused by VOCs, dust and human germs, the indoor environment can sometimes be more polluted than outside. These particulates can also put strain on ventilation and air conditioning equipment.

Water quality commonly conjures up images of drinking water, however the water used in HVAC plant must also be ‘healthy’, free of pathogens such as Legionella and lesser known Pseudomonas. While most of us know that Legionella bacteria is the pre-cursor to Legionnaire’s disease, Pseudomonas, commonly found in closed-circuit systems, has minimal risk to human health, but can cause system fouling and corrosion, leading to expensive repairs and possible breakdown.

Monitoring Water Quality

To prevent Legionella, regular risk assessments must take place, as detailed under ACoP L8. Building owners and facilities managers have a duty of care to keep occupants safe.

To ensure healthy operations for HVAC plant reliant on closed water systems, 24/7 monitoring is an extremely effective tool. Real-time water monitoring provides information on water quality, allowing small issues to be flagged and dealt with before they become big problems. When it comes to bacteria like Pseudomonas, the Hevasure system we use crucially monitors dissolved oxygen – bacteria needs O2 to thrive so by checking for it, the conditions that cause contamination can be eliminated, consequently reducing bacteria risk and subsequent corrosion.

Monitoring Air Quality

Air quality is never far from the headlines as we come to understand its effect on our health and wellbeing; both inside and outside.

While improving external air quality may be largely out of our control, the air we breathe once behind closed doors can be monitored and cleaned to ensure hygiene. At the worst end of scale, poor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) can lead to deadly ailments, such as cancer, dementia and respiratory diseases.

Other IAQ related phenomena include Sick Building Syndrome which can leave occupants prone to minor health complaints, leading to time off work and a loss of productivity – negatively impacting businesses as well as individuals.

Air quality monitoring takes accurate measurements of particles in the air and also tracks trends to predict future air quality patterns. By understanding the issues, proper air filtration can be implemented.

Besides the clear benefits monitoring air quality offers the inhabitants of a building, it can also provide other advantages. Ensuring ‘clean’ air will improve the efficiency of air conditioning and heating systems, leading to reduced running costs and less chance of breakdown.

Guardian provides both air and water monitoring services, contact us to see how we can help your building.