Earlier this summer, the CDC released guidance for reopening buildings that have spent a considerable portion of this year completely shut down or under reduced operation. As we approach the end of summer, Polygon would like to highlight some key elements from the document as schools and other buildings think about bringing employees and students back into buildings that may have been empty for months.
While it makes sense to shut down certain systems while a building is vacant in order to conserve resources, that decision comes with a certain level of risk. Take, for example, the plumbing system. The CDC states, “When water is stagnant, hot water temperatures can decrease to the Legionella growth range (77–108°F, 25–42°C). Stagnant water can also lead to low or undetectable levels of disinfectant, such as chlorine. Ensure that your water system is safe to use after a prolonged shutdown to minimize the risk of Legionnaires’ disease and other diseases associated with water.” Before people return to these vacant buildings, it’s important for administrators, executives, and building managers to take account of all areas that use the plumbing system. If water from the plumbing system is used in aerosol form, that can be particularly dangerous. The CDC offers a Water Management Program Toolkit to help buildings reduce the risk of Legionella infection.
Another system that is likely to have been shut down during a time where so many people are staying home is the HVAC system. This leaves stagnant air. The combination of stagnant air from a dormant HVAC and nobody in the building to look out for leaks or condensation makes empty buildings an ideal spot for mold growth. “People with asthma and other respiratory conditions and those with mold allergy or weakened immune systems should avoid buildings suspected or confirmed to have mold contamination.” Just because mold growth isn’t visible doesn’t mean it’s not there. The CDC recommends a mold assessment, a serious effort to reduce humidity inside the building, frequent checks of the HVAC system, and thorough cleaning of any area that is damp or carries an odor.
A Smooth Reopening with Polygon
When it comes to keeping the humidity inside a building low, Polygon has the expertise and equipment to make it happen. Our experts can assist in the assessment of high mold-risk areas and work to eradicate existing spores while creating an environment to assure they won’t come back during the initial period where the HVAC is turned back on and undergoes frequent inspection. Whether it’s a school building, factory, office building, or any other workplace, Polygon is by your side to keep everyone inside safe from mold and other contaminants that thrive in a high humidity environment. Contact us to learn more about our temporary climate control.