HVAC and disinfection services are top of mind as students, parents, and staff navigate the return to school. At the start of every new school year, many school buildings have been unoccupied for several months, and as the HVAC systems are powered back on–especially amid the ongoing pandemic– it’s critical to explore the importance of clean air ducts and HVAC systems.
Let’s disinfect and get back to normal!
Assessing Air Quality
Schools and facilities should conduct thorough walk-throughs, complete with photo assessments of each building, and these should include all HVAC units and connected system components.
Photo assessments create the baseline, maintenance plan, and priority lists for the school’s maintenance and facilities team, custodial crew, and other service contractors.
HVAC assessments will also provide your teams and staff with your heating and cooling components’ condition status, which is essential to have in a later fire, flood, microbial event, or environmental impact on the building. Having a photo assessment in-hand before a catastrophic event will support insurance claims and warranty work.
At Vent Medics, we can provide camera inspection that will see deep into a facility’s ductwork.
What is IAQ?
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is an incredibly important consideration for schools and businesses because of the extended time students, faculty, and staff spend in the building every day. Monitoring and maintaining healthy IAQ levels during the COVID-`9 pandemic is crucial.
The EPA has outlined a checklist for schools: Indoor Air Quality Tools for School Program
An HVAC expert or duct cleaning company and an industrial hygienist can measure the amount of dust built up in ductwork and determine the risk factors to occupants’ health.
Plan walk-throughs first for buildings with known HVAC and air quality issues and common occupant complaints. Even if the complaints aren’t expressly identified as IAQ-related, look for complaints regarding allergies, dust, itchy eyes, coughing, and other similar concerns, as they can often be symptoms of HVAC and IAQ issues.
Duct cleaners or HVAC experts should assess the problems that will need to be resolved, prioritizing health concerns and low-cost options. Initial plans should include cleaning and oiling systems, filter changes, increased ventilation, and coil cleaning.
An excellent proactive maintenance plan will reduce utility costs and the need for expensive repairs and potential break-downs during heating and cooling seasons.
Measuring Maintenance ROI
Measuring the financial return on the investment in maintenance will take some time. Sometimes as much as a year to compare utility costs. But in a school, the return on IAQ and HVAC supervision can be immediate.
Consider measuring attendance – sick days by staff and students, nurse station visits, complaints from staff, students, and parents on potential environmental impact on health, as these complaints can often result in bad press for the school, school district, board, and staff.
If you have questions or concerns about the air quality in your school or facility, get in touch with Vent Medics and discuss solutions for your specific facility.