Purify Your Air – How to clear the air in your Auto Repair Shop
Clean air is one of those things that we take for granted, I think – we just expect it to be there until it isn’t. One moment, we’re breathing, fine as can be, and the next our throats close, everything feels fuzzy, and you’re clawing for the door so you can get some clean air fifteen minutes ago.
If you’re working in an auto repair shop, you might notice it a little earlier than others do – simply because auto garages tend to be built differently from other places of business.
Think to yourself: How’s the air around the place going? Does it feel stale? Does it feel like it’s more than a little stuffy in there? Is it sometimes hard to breathe?
If you answered “yes”, here are some ways you might be able to fix that.
1: Make sure your vents are clean
Due to building codes, obviously your shop is going to have at least some ventilation. That said, think about your vents for a minute.
How are they looking? Are they dusty? Grimy? Pristine?
Clean vents let out clean air. If your vents have dust, grime, or dirt on them, they could be dirty or clogged; clogged or dirty vents don’t circulate air well and aren’t as efficient as they should be. On top of that, the air that comes out of them could be filled with dust or other contaminants.
If you’re especially worried about it, you could have a filter installed – this will especially help asthmatic or hard of breathing people who might enter your garage (whether they’re employees or customers!).
Clean those vents regularly, and make sure they’re unobstructed. An obstructed vent isn’t going to do its job, after all.
2: Make sure your shop has good air circulation
Having clean vents is all well and good, but it doesn’t help if your air gets stale. Stale air is usually why places (especially closed-in places, like warehouses) feel stuffy – this happens when the air isn’t being circulated and / or the vents aren’t working properly.
Opening the bay doors helps with this when the weather’s nice (airing out the garage is especially great when there’s a nice cool breeze outside), but during bad-weather days (or for places that don’t like keeping their bay doors open), you’re not always going to have that wide open.
Instead, make sure there are at least a few fans lying around. Keep that air moving!
This also helps with the heat during the summer months – in case you can’t open the bay doors, or your air conditioner isn’t all that great, a few fans will help your air situation and keep you cool all at the same time.
In some cases, it doesn’t hurt to invest in a de-humidifier, too.
3: Watch out for allergens
If your garage likes to leave the doors open during the day, this is especially important. If the air has a high concentration of allergens on any given day, and you leave your garage open for extended periods, customers or workers with bad allergies can have trouble breathing, or even get sick.
There are easy ways to keep track of your local allergen situation and forecast, such as websites like pollen.
On days where the allergen levels are high, try keeping the bay doors closed and the fans going. Keeping clean, circulated air inside is better and safer for people who have difficulty breathing. If closing the doors isn’t feasible, try using fans to keep the air moving.
4: Invest in an air purifier
If you’re still worried about your air situation, even after doing the rest of the steps, it’s never a bad idea to invest in an air purifier to keep the air clean of pollutants.
Air purifiers aren’t too large or obtrusive, though they can range in price from relatively low-end (150 dollars or so) to expensive high-end models (800 dollars is a good ballpark estimate). These take care of allergens and pollutants like Mold, cigarette smoke, and various kinds of fumes. If you use these alongside vent filters, the air should get a lot cleaner and easier to breathe.
Just make sure to clean out the filter if you decide to use them. Just like vent filters, they need to be cleaned and given proper maintenance periodically.
5: Be Diligent
If you want clean air, you’re going to have to keep on top of things and check your vents and/or air purifier regularly. Try to schedule regular vent cleaning, and make sure to invest in filters for your ventilation devices.
If you keep up with the maintenance and upkeep, you should be fine.
Good luck, breathe well, and take care of yourself!