In senior living communities, the health and well-being of residents are top priorities — and indoor air quality is crucial in those environments. Poor indoor air quality contributes to a variety of illnesses, such as asthma, allergies and respiratory conditions, that can be particularly dangerous for older adults with weakened immune systems or preexisting medical conditions.
Poor air quality also can lead to difficulties in getting enough restful sleep at night, resulting in further physical and mental health problems. Therefore, having clean indoor air is essential for ensuring that the senior living community provides its residents with an environment that keeps them safe, healthy and comfortable.
Maintaining indoor air quality is important
The detrimental consequences of low air quality on human health are well known. Studies link long-term exposure to air pollution to increased risks of developing respiratory illnesses, such as chronic bronchitis and asthma, as well as cardiovascular diseases. Ozone, particulate matter and other pollutants increase the risk of early death due to inhaling airborne toxins that can damage organs, cause inflammation and disrupt the body’s hormone balance.
People who spend time outdoors may suffer from eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, nausea and breathing difficulties. Older adults and those with a weakened immune system are especially vulnerable to the health effects of poor air quality because their bodies cannot fight off contamination as effectively.
Over the past few years, several studies and articles demonstrated the importance of indoor air quality in senior living communities, revealing that older adults are more vulnerable to poor indoor environmental quality than are others. Air pollutant effects are more pronounced in cases of poor ventilation in senior living communities. Even at low levels, poor indoor air quality affected respiratory health in senior living residents, with frailty increasing with age.
Benefits of destratification fans
Designed to help improve the air quality of indoor spaces, destratification fans work by breaking up stratified layers of air, resulting in a more even temperature spread across all levels and improved energy efficiency. This continuous circulation causes a gentle redistribution of air throughout the entire room, reducing the stratification of warm air and helping to reduce energy costs associated with inefficient air circulation.
Installing destratification fans in senior living communities can have a range of benefits, from increased comfort levels to fewer health issues and reduced operating costs. By circulating air throughout rooms across the building, destratification fans help reduce the risk of airborne illness transmission by improving ventilation and air circulation. More air turnover will ensure that indoor air passes through the community’s air purification systems more often. This mixing of the stratified air is especially important for residents with weaker immune systems or more susceptible to respiratory illnesses. Destratification fans also can be fitted with germ-fighting technologies, such as needlepoint bipolar ionization or photohydroionization, to further reduce the pathogen load in a community.
Additionally, destratification fans help reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses by improving temperature distribution and reducing the need for air conditioning, which can be expensive and energy-intensive. By improving indoor air quality and temperature distribution, destratification fans help create a more comfortable and healthy living environment for older adults, boosting their overall health and well-being.
Another benefit of destratification fans is reducing the number of “dead zones” in a building, where hot and cold air tend to stagnate. This circulation helps to keep all areas of the community at a consistent temperature, resulting in improved user comfort levels and energy-efficiency gains due to decreased reliance on heating and cooling systems. By lowering the strain on existing HVAC equipment, extending its life span and reducing the need for maintenance or repairs, operators decrease operating costs while improving the environmental conditions for residents.
In senior living communities, destratification fans are especially beneficial because a lack of temperature control disproportionately negatively affects residents more than it does younger people. Reducing drastic temperature variations can make all areas of the community much more comfortable for residents who may be sensitive to extreme temperatures or changes in climate.
Destratification fans are ideal for senior living communities because they provide several beneficial and cost-effective features and characteristics:
- Improve indoor air quality and can lower pathogens in a community when equipped with germ-fighting technologies.
- Quieter than traditional air conditioning units, providing a comfortable atmosphere without loud noise.
- Multiple speed settings and directional outlets enable staff members to direct the airflow and control the temperature in specific areas.
- Require minimal maintenance and use less energy than conventional air conditioning systems, resulting in cost savings over time.
- Improved air handling efficiency lowers maintenance on the HVAC system, saving time and money.
- Available in various sizes and configurations, so managers can find the perfect fan to fit their space and needs.
The importance of maintaining clean and healthy indoor air quality in senior living communities cannot be overstated. Ensuring the comfort and safety of residents is paramount, and destratification fans are an effective tool for achieving this goal. Destratification fans work to create a more homogenous environment by efficiently mixing hot and cold air. Additionally, by improving ventilation, destratification fans can help reduce dust particles and bacteria that may pose health risks to residents and reduce energy consumption.
Ultimately, installing energy-efficient destratification fans in senior living communities can make a tremendous difference in the lives of residents and their loved ones by providing a comfortable and safe living environment.
Christian Avedon is the director of sales and marketing of Airius, a Colorado-based technology company focused on developing products that manage indoor air quality. Over the past 12 years, he has assisted thousands of customers in the selection and application of Airius destratification fan systems for their buildings. Those settings include many schools and indoor gyms that have experienced comfort issues and high energy bills.
The opinions expressed in each McKnight’s Senior Living marketplace column are those of the author and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Senior Living.
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