Although this spring has been drier than most so far, wet spring weather can lead to mold and moisture issues in school buildings. Proactive moisture control practices are the key to controlling indoor mold growth.
Molds are a major source of indoor allergens and can trigger asthma in sensitive individuals. Prompt and effective remediation of moisture problems is essential to minimize mold exposures and their health effects.
The key to mold control is moisture control. Mold needs moisture to grow, so to prevent mold growth it is essential to identify and control moisture intrusion in your buildings.
Following the tips below will help your school prevent a mold crisis:
- Conduct routine moisture inspections. Inspect all school buildings for signs of mold, moisture, leaks or spills, or evidence of past water damage.
- Fix leaky plumbing and leaks in the building envelope as soon as possible.
- Watch for condensation and wet spots. Fix source(s) of moisture problem(s) as soon as possible.
- Prevent moisture due to condensation by increasing surface temperature or reducing the moisture level in air (humidity). To increase surface temperature, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce the moisture level in air, repair leaks, increase ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), or dehumidify (if outdoor air is warm and humid).
- Keep heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) drip pans clean, flowing properly, and unobstructed.
- Vent moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, to the outside where possible.
- Maintain low indoor humidity, below 60% relative humidity (RH), ideally 30-50%, if possible.
- Perform regular building/HVAC inspections and maintenance as scheduled.
- Clean and dry wet or damp spots within 48 hours.
- Don’t let foundations stay wet. Provide drainage and slope the ground away from the foundation.