By proactively working to keep buildings and their mechanical systems in good working, facility managers can more reliably maintain operations while reducing long-term repair and replacement costs. School facility managers, however, also play a large role in safeguarding the health of the hundreds of children, faculty, and staff who grace the halls each day. A key component of a healthy school environment is a clean, contaminant-free HVAC system.
HVAC systems offer pollutants the broadest “reach” as they will take an otherwise contained problem and distribute it throughout the building very quickly. Problems across some of the HVAC system’s components – air handlers, air ducts, filters, blowers, heat exchangers, cooling coils, registers, and diffusers – aren’t always readily visible. Mold and contaminants built up inside the air path can be passed to the building inhabitants as soon as the systems are turned on.
Tom Peter, a NADCA-certified Ventilation System Inspector and Air Systems Cleaning Specialist and Vice President of Insurance Restorations Specialists, Inc. (IRS) in Monroe, New Jersey, says regularly-scheduled HVAC inspections and cleanings are a vital part of school facility management. “You may not be able to prevent storm damage, or damage from fires or other catastrophic events. But build ups of mold and contaminants in an HVAC system are an avoidable problem with a diligently-executed inspection plan,” says Peter. He recommends a full inspection at least once a year, or twice if environmental conditions make problems more likely. This includes camera-assisted inspections within duct systems. All filters should be changed three to four times a year.
Peter provides an example of the benefits of a proactive HVAC maintenance plan. He recalls, “IRS was called in after a school had a long-delayed inspection and a significant mold infestation was found. What should have been a routine cleaning became a costly biohazard remediation across eight air handlers, hundreds of yards of ductwork, coils, and filters.”
The school’s air handling unit had not been regularly inspected and was found covered with mold along with the entirety of the HVAC system.
The blowers had spread the mold throughout the length of the facility’s HVAC system.
Peter also recommends that the HVAC be thoroughly inspected following any environmental event, even if it was recently checked as part of routine schedule. “If there has been a fire, flood or other water event, an animal or insect infestation, or outbreak of any type of airborne illness, insist on an HVAC inspection. Each can result in contaminants resting in the HVAC components – and won’t be spotted during the immediate area remediation and repair,” he says. Also monitor construction and repair work to be sure that work areas are properly sealed to prevent airborne waste from entering vents and ducts.
About Insurance Restoration Specialists, Inc.
Insurance Restoration Specialists, Inc. (IRS) is a premier provider of disaster recovery mitigation, environmental remediation, biohazard emergency response and HVAC inspection and cleaning in the New Jersey-Philadelphia-New York City area. IRS is certified by NADCA and have Certified Air Systems Cleaning Technicians and a Certified Ventilation System Inspector on staff.
IRS has been selected to provide disaster recovery services to members of the Educational Services Commission of NJ (ESCNJ), the largest co-op in the state service school districts, colleges, universities, housing authorities, and other county and state agencies throughout New Jersey.
New Jersey State approved Co-op # 65MCESCCPS
RFP # ESCNJ 17/18-34
Contract Dates: 11/16/17-11/15/20