Airconditioning

How bad is airconditioning? I grew up without ever having it and I still don't have one. Yet the office is airconditioned, the windows can't be opened, and I really feel the effect lack of fresh air has.


We moved to another part of the building 3.5 months ago, and everyone is sneezing since then, all the time. I've never had a sneezing problem or allergy before. Now I keep sneezing every day while I'm at work. And I'm really sick of those stupid "Bless you"s.


 


How bad is it?


What to do to buffer the damage? (Changing jobs is not an option, and, unfortunately, they don't allow home office... they should. I'm wondering what would happen if I broke a couple windows without getting caught.)


It doesn't get easier... It's you who gets better.

 

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Comments

  • I have to laugh Reka. You must not live in Florida?
    If you're going through hell, keep going.
    -Winston Churchill
  • RekaReka ✭✭✭
    edited June 2014

    No. Why? I suppose everyone has it there, with that weather. (Based on Dexter novels.)


    Here we have up to 40C / 104 F in the summer, and I'm just fine. I can smell all the flowers and trees outside without sneezing, yet I can't survive ten minutes in the office without it. :( I don't reckon airconditioning a natural thing. Humans used to do very well without it until recently.


    It doesn't get easier... It's you who gets better.

     

    Is your social worker in that horse?

     

    Success has a price, not a secret.

  • Funny. I have thought about this before, as I work in an office building with hundreds of other people. I also was thinking about it this weekend at home as I was changing the air filter there. I don't have any answers for you. But I do like the "zombies" tag on this post. :wink:
  • I live in SW Florida and the humid heat is unbearable in the summer!
    If you're going through hell, keep going.
    -Winston Churchill
  • ACH85ACH85 ✭✭

    "Air conditioning" means two separate things depending on context. For home use, "air conditioning" generally refers to a window unit or perhaps a central air conditioning system, but the focus is on air cooling. 


     


    In larger commercial buildings, "air conditioning" generally refers to a full HVAC (Heating, Ventillation, and Air Conditioning) and in that the "conditioning" part also often includes humidity control and filtering. 


     


    For home units, it's only the cooling elements (freon, other chemicals) leaking out that seems worrisome, and maybe oxygen saturation if you keep everything tightly sealed. 


     


    From here on out, I'm just parroting some stuff I've read... and a few things I recall Dave saying. 


     


    For larger buildings, the problems can be greater, and may be referred to as "sick building syndrome." The most problematic buildings are fully sealed to keep heating/cooling costs as cheap as possible for the landlords, and 1) if the filters aren't working perfectly, you can end up with bad stuff in the air and 2) there is also the argument that some toxins aren't filtered. I believe Dave has said mold toxins can be a problem, because leakier buildings allow materials that get wet to dry out, but tightly-sealed buildings can't dry out if there is a spill, leaky pipe, etc, so the mold sticks around and grows. Another major problem the people who talk about "sick building syndrome" discuss is toner cartridges. Apparently the toner in copy machines and printers give off some really nasty stuff. Plus carpet glues, etc. Google "sick building syndrome" for more. Currently I'm next to an open window, so I won't be researching it more. 


     


    Reka, if I were you, I would:


     


    1. Point out to your coworkers that the sneezing correlates to the office change, drop a few scary hints, and basically build consensus with the goal of getting the landlord to send someone in to check/replace any air filters in your office, and clear the crap out of the ducts. Make sure they are using HEPA grade filters. How many landlords do you think clean their ducts and replace filters at the optimal times? They probably only do it when their tenants complain. If your coworkers all complain to the boss who writes the checks for the office, he/she will probably complain to the landlord. 


     


    2. If possible move your desk further away from any toner copiers/printers. 


     


    3. Research those desk-sized air filters / ionizers. I always thought they were bogus, but I never looked into them deeply. 


     


    4. Maybe break windows as a last resort. The thing is, they'll probably get fixed, and even if not, the HVAC system is still going to be pushing air into your office. If the problem is a toxin source in your office (like toner) the broken window may help, because the blowing vents will keep blowing, but the intake vents will take less air in as some of the interior air leaks to the outside world. However, if there is a toxin in the HVAC duct system (say, a toxic mold in the ducts near your office) then breaking a window won't do much... because the blowing vent will keep pushing more toxins in, and it won't matter whether they are escaping out your broken window or sucked back into the intake vent. 


     


    But I also wouldn't freak out, millions of people work in conditions like this. 



  • I live in SW Florida and the humid heat is unbearable in the summer!




     


    Yeah, take a walk through Everglades National Park in August and tell me you don't need air conditioning. LOL

  • As I'm writing this my air conditioner runs at a quiet 75°F while it is roughly 90°F outside (It's Texas...). I have never experienced issues with AC cooling as long as you keep them clean. I clean mine every 3 months and I never smell the mold. Going to friends' houses I can usually tell they haven't cleaned theirs in a while because you can literally smell it and I become fatigued and dizzy. Just make sure the air isn't blowing directly into your direction.


    the system around you is not necessarily aligned with your incentives in mind

    memento mori

  • I love Florida. You can't beat the weather here most of the year. The summer, however, as Foxbox mentioned, can be brutal!


     


    Having said that, it seems I sleep better (even on hot summer nights) with the bedroom windows open, or at least one of them. The fresh air is very welcome.


     




    I have to laugh Reka. You must not live in Florida?



  • John BrissonJohn Brisson The Legend Formerly Known as Ron Swanson ✭✭✭

    Air conditioning technically dries the air out so it should in fact kill mold. Use a good HEPA filter and change it every month and you should be good to go.


     


    The only concern I could see is if very small amounts of freon are left in the air that is circulating, but I believe unless you have a massive leak that isn't the case?


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  • dazdaz today is a good day ✭✭✭
    edited October 2015
    Any tips on what to look for...or what to avoid when buying a portable air conditioner...

    it's already starting to get too hot at night where i am, & we are only in spring.


    so this year i want to chill my bedroom & hopefully get some good sleep.


    cheers

    fake it till you make it

  • fixerforhirefixerforhire Mr. Not Sure.

    Reka, 


    is it a cubicle/open floor office? 


    how many square meters is the office?


    we purchased two high volume air purifiers to help with dust and other particulate matter.


    maybe the owner will spring for gas+particulate air purifiers until they can properly address the issue.


     


     


    definitely like ACH85' ideas about talking with coworkers.


    if that many people are sneezing, something isn't right for sure.

  • Gotta have ac at night in the summer for cool sleeping! I'm down with dealing with the heat during the day though. I really have nothing to add to this conversation, just want an excuse to post this:

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uK8O5UgX8Z8
  • Gotta have ac at night in the summer for cool sleeping! I'm down with dealing with the heat during the day though. I really have nothing to add to this conversation, just want an excuse to post this:
    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uK8O5UgX8Z8


    Man, haven't listened to them in at least 10 years. Wow. Thanks for the reminder. :smile:


  • I saw them live when I was 15 and they made my musical horizons explode. Haven't been the same since!




     


    That's how I feel about the first time I saw Tool live. ;-)

  • drumminangoleirodrumminangoleiro ✭✭✭
    edited October 2015
    Yeah them too! But not in the genre-transcending way bungle did. If you're into those bands you'd probably like Secret Chiefs 3. Cooler than airconditioning. See what I did there?
  • GhastlyPrezGhastlyPrez Ghastly Prezence

    I've noticed in the past that sneezing when in relation to A/C units or exclusively indoors (I have no allergies so when I start sneezing I'm like...wtf.) generally has something to do with the filters or ducts being dirty and in need of cleaning. I would likely mention that to whoever is in charge of maintenance and see if that can get some sort of effort put in to get the filters checked/replaced.


    I live in Texas, and while I don't use A/C a lot of people and businesses here do. I've always been one to throw open a few windows and enjoy the breeze than have to hear the constant turning of gears and all the other noises associated with AC units.


    OR! You could always opt for one of those face masks Reka! I would do that!!! Ignore previous advice ;') lolol


  • I live in Texas, and while I don't use A/C a lot of people and businesses here do. I've always been one to throw open a few windows and enjoy the breeze than have to hear the constant turning of gears and all the other noises associated with AC units.


    You are braver than me, my fellow Houstonian. I went without A/C for awhile this summer when it went out in my vehicle, and it was not pleasant. Of course, admittedly, I sit inside all day, and so after being used to 70 degrees or whatever they keep the A/C at indoors, to sit in a 110 degree vehicle is not fun. :wink:
  • GhastlyPrezGhastlyPrez Ghastly Prezence

    Oh in my vehicle? I remove the AC completely, I've always been sort of a gearhead and while the amount of power lost from the AC is neglible I still remove it for "teh gainz". 


    Then again my first car was a 77 Chevy El Camino, so when I was first starting to be a driver I got used to the lack of AC.


    Old girlfriends always would cry about riding with me, and my only retort ever (I really mean ever, since day one of me being a driver) has been "Roll your window down" which is almost always met with "but it will mess up my hair".


    Although I will admit: Houston traffic + Heat = Very Frustrated Me lol. I spend most of my time inside also, so I really only have to suffer through the heat while in my car on few occasions that I often try to avoid or ignore altogether.


  • Hi buddy , I would advice you to speak with the manager and tell him your concern about health and allergic sneezing . On my last job I had the same problem , Feeling cold and sneezing , had read eyes . I have complained about it to my boss and he called the aircon company http://www.airconservicingsingapore.com/ to check the A/C. The air filters were full of dust with which I was breathing .The technician fixed the A/C . After that I have started to feel much better.

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