Air conditioning in your office can either be described as a perk or a problem, depending on how well yours works. Get it right and spending hours at the office could almost be a pleasure – but get it wrong and your working days will be miserable. If you’re huddled at your office desk in a snow jacket in the middle of January, or sweltering in the depths of winter, your air conditioning needs some work.
In our expert opinion, the aim is to keep the room air temperature between 21 and 23 degrees. Without getting all technical on it, there are 6 main reasons why this might not be happening in your office.
- Your system has been poorly designed. We all know that hot air rises, so when heating a room you want to blow the hot air towards the floor in order to get any sort of effect. In many offices, the blowers are poorly maintained or not positioned well to do this. When cooling a room, it’s a case of gently, gently. To avoid hitting occupants with an icy blast, the cool air needs to flow across the ceiling and down the walls. Your supply outlet shouldn’t be too close to people or obstructions which will derail the air flow, such as light fittings. Other common design mistakes include attempting to supply too much air through one outlet or having the air supply too far away from the occupants – this impacts on air flow, making the room feel stuffy. (Not helpful for productivity at all.)
- Poor maintenance of your air conditioning system. If your filters aren’t cleaned or changed regularly enough, they’ll impact on your air flow, resulting in less than ideal performance.
- The placement of system controls. Air conditioning systems need thermostats or sensors to measure the room temperature and tell the system what to do. But sometimes these controls are in the wrong location, resulting in false measurements. Check where your sensor is. If it’s in sunlight, on a cold concrete wall, in a draught, above a heart source such as a photocopier or covered by shelving, your temperature report will be off. Some buildings have the thermostat in a sunny room, causing the air conditioning to cool the already-cold rooms down even further.
- Walls of windows. Wall to wall windows are awesome for giving natural light and incredible views – but they’re an enemy to internal temperature. They allow heat to escape in winter and create a hot-house in summer.
- Your air quality. It’s not the size of the room but the quality of air in it, right? People feel uncomfortable in stuffy rooms and they are far less productive – nothing makes you feel like snoozing more than an airless room. You need a good supply of clean, fresh air to feel comfortable and healthy. It’s important that fresh air intakes are located away from polluted areas and harmful organisms, such as vehicle exhausts and bird droppings. Keep your intakes dry and clean and free of accumulated dirt which can build up in the supply ducting, resulting in discomfort and even illness.
- It’s a people problem. If you’ve gone through all the issues identified above and your air conditioning is still a drama in the office, it might be a case of personal thermostats… Some people feel the cold more than others, while some prefer a cool climate to work in. In this case, it probably comes down to who sits closest to the temperature controls and who is willing to wear an extra scarf each day. Good luck!
The team at Jackson Engineering are experts in HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). Click here to find more information on their air conditioning services.