Blog – Temporary Climate Solutions

Schools Save on Maintenance Costs with Humidity Control

Humidity control in schools is a critical function, impacting indoor air quality, student health and the longevity of a building. When high levels of relative humidity are present, students and faculty may experience health problems and the building will degrade at a faster rate. By implementing a humidity control strategy, a school will save on maintenance and repair costs, increase comfort levels, and decrease the risk of moisture-related health concerns.

school maintenance

Humidity Control in Schools: Actions to Take Now

  • Refer to your state’s policies regarding healthy school environments and recommended protocols for dealing with high levels of moisture.
  • Inspect the campus to identify areas that need immediate moisture control and remediation. During the inspection, look for the following:
    • Water damage
    • Mold growth
    • Plumbing leaks
    • Roof leaks
    • Places where condensation forms, like windows
    • Areas within the building that do not dry within 48 hours
    • Areas around the outside of the school with pooled water that’s 10 feet away from the building or closer
    • Items that promote water pooling within 10 feet of the building, such as sprinklers or mal-positioned downspouts
    • Appliances that do not vent moisture outside
    • Gutters that are clogged, leaking or broken
    • Downspouts that inappropriately direct water or are not securely connected to storm drains
    • Storm drains that overflow with water
    • Areas of the roof with standing water

If you notice an area with high moisture levels or moisture damage, arrange to fix it as soon as possible. Not addressing humidity-related issues will lead to expensive repairs and may compromise the health of students and teachers.

Moisture Prevention Planning

After conducting an inspection and addressing immediate moisture-related problems, create a moisture prevention and remediation plan as part of the school’s environmental health program. Examples of elements to add include:

  • Maintaining indoor relative humidity levels between 40 and 60 percent, or the levels that your respective state recommends
  • Ventilation system and ductwork inspections
  • Roof inspections and maintenance
  • HVAC maintenance (i.e., replacing the air filter per the manufacturer’s recommendations)
  • Ensuring sufficient ventilation in high-humidity areas, such as pools, locker rooms with showers, kitchen, science labs and bathrooms
  • Deep-cleaning carpets with extraction cleansers to remove moisture and prevent mold growth
  • Outline of steps to remedy mold
  • Outline of emergency steps to take in the event of a flood to facilitate cleanup, prevent mold and mitigate water damage

After creating a plan to control and prevent humidity problems in your school, enhance it with actions such as:

  • Tracking mold- and humidity-related maintenance and preventive tasks, the number of mold findings and the number of remediation actions taken in response to mold growth. Use the reports to determine the effectiveness of the humidity management techniques.
  • Replacing damaged or worn carpeting and furniture with items that are mold-resistant.
  • Inspecting the building for hidden air leaks.
  • Installing additional vents in areas that have high humidity levels.
  • Teaching students about mold.
  • Educating the public and parents about humidity management and mold in announcements and newsletters.

Temporary Humidity Control in Schools

When a school experiences high humidity levels because of flooding, weather or poor ventilation, it should use temporary moisture control solutions. Do not solely rely on the building’s HVAC system because it is not designed to handle such problems, and the excess load may shorten its lifespan and increase energy consumption. The technologies used for temporary climate control complement an HVAC system and create environments with ideal temperature and relative humidity levels.

After a flood or water damage, for example, temporary climate control dries a building faster. Temporary climate control is also good for areas of a school with high humidity levels, like the kitchen or pool.

Polygon offers humidity control solutions for schools that can be permanently installed or used as needed. Contact Polygon to schedule a consultation and learn about the solutions that best fit the school’s needs.

[Photo from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District via CC License 2.0]

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