What is the state of the indoor air quality (IAQ) at your school? Are you experiencing any IAQ problems? Because people spend approximately 90 percent of their time inside, indoor air quality is an important concern for comfort, health, and safety. That's why we created this quick guide on improving indoor air quality in schools.
When it comes to improving school indoor air quality, you and your team should follow HVAC preventative maintenance best practices, consider specialized IAQ products, and optimize your building automation. IAQ problems can come from one source or a combination of sources.
While each school has its unique set of needs, there are several common HVAC strategies that you should know and consider. By the end of this guide, you will gain a better understanding of how to improve your school's indoor air quality, which will in turn help you better facilitate your school's mission of educating children.
Ensure HVAC Preventative Maintenance
That's why you should have a maintenance program in place to routinely check your commercial HVAC systems and then log such activity in a maintenance logbook. Such routine maintenance should include the following activities:
● Comprehensive cooling maintenance check
● Comprehensive heating maintenance check
● Filter change out
● Check static pressure
● Check refrigerant levels
● Remove debris from inside A/C unit
● Clean coils
As you can see, there's a lot that should be involved with your commercial HVAC maintenance. Deferring on any of these preventative maintenance activities can undermine your school's comfort and IAQ, and it can actually cost you more in the long run in terms of dollars and health outcomes.
Proper maintenance can ensure better air circulation, odor control, and reduced air pollutants. Not to mention, it can reduce the risk of an unexpected and costly equipment breakdown. As a result, you and your facility should have a plan in place to ensure routine preventative maintenance, and that's where our commercial HVAC maintenance membership comes in.
Enrolling in one of our maintenance membership plans helps schools maintain and improve their comfort and IAQ. Not to mention, when it comes to something as important as the air teachers and students breathe, it's always best to work in consultation with HVAC experts.
Our NATE-certified commercial HVAC technicians can help you select the right maintenance membership plan for the unique needs of your school facility. With a maintenance membership, you can keep on the right track for HVAC repairs, upgrades, and/or replacement. In addition, we can help you ensure adequate ventilation with filtration.
With an Estes Services maintenance membership, your HVAC equipment will receive the routine maintenance necessary for helping to maintain good IAQ.
Implement Air Filtration and Cleaning
In addition to routine maintenance, you can also focus on
maximizing air filtration and utilizing air cleaning technologies.
Your school's HVAC system filters serve an important role in good indoor air quality management. In essence, they filter pollutants out of the air. You should pay attention to air filters' efficiency and their change-out schedule.
In terms of filter efficiency, the higher the Minimum efficiency rating value (MERV), the better. You should use the highest-rated filters that are possible with your school's ventilation system. For example, it's recommended that you upgrade to filters of MERV 13 or higher, if possible.
In terms of a filter change-out schedule, filters should be changed at least as frequently as prescribed in the manufacturer's recommendations. However, some schools, in consultation with commercial HVAC experts like at Estes Services, may decide to change filters more frequently than what's prescribed with routine maintenance requirements.
While these are general recommendations for maximizing air filtration, school circumstances, equipment and technology used, and IAQ conditions can vary widely. That's why it's always best to consult with a commercial HVAC expert about the best air filtration solutions for the unique needs of your school.
In addition to air filtration, you should also consider air cleaning which involves specialized HVAC products, such as air cleaners and air purifiers, which can filter and clean the air. We have several different commercial-grade air purifiers that you may be interested in, including the
● Global Plasma Solutions GPS-2400 Air Purifier — This air purifier is considered one of the best systems in the marketplace. In fact, it kills 99.6% of contaminants in less than 15 minutes. It can help you achieve good indoor air quality because of its plasma technology. Here's how it works: 2400 injects plasma into the moving air stream to reduce odors and gases as well as reduce pollutants in the air.
At Estes Services, our team of IAQ experts can help you select the right air filtration practices and best air cleaning products for the spaces within your school. Schedule a consultation with us today.
Maximize Outside Air
You should ensure that your ventilation system is functioning properly and provides an adequate amount of outside air. In fact, you and your team should consider maximizing the amount of outside air by utilizing the highest outside air setting that's possible for your HVAC equipment.
In addition, you should consider opening windows and doors and incorporating the use of fans to also maximize the outside air that you bring in.
Furthermore, CO2 levels can help measure ventilation. It's one reason why you may want to implement a building automation system (BAS) and incorporate demand control ventilation.
Using such controls, you can monitor the CO2 level of the school's air. As CO2 levels spike, the system brings in outside air for ventilation. If CO2 levels are low, the same controls close off the majority or all outside air to increase HVAC energy efficiency.
We can customize the building automation system and controls for your school, which brings us to our final point in this guide.
Utilize Building Automation
Another way to improve indoor air quality in schools is using sensors and implementing or upgrading a building automation system (BAS). An upgraded BAS gives you more control and visibility into your school's indoor comfort, controls, and IAQ conditions.
For example, you can monitor temperature, humidity, and CO2 levels in your school's air. Then, you can optimize settings accordingly in accordance with your maintenance program and plan.
In its reference guide for indoor air quality in schools, the EPA explains that "temperature and humidity are among the many factors that affect indoor contaminant levels." With a BAS, you can monitor important HVAC settings and ensure that your school stays within a specific temperature range and an appropriate humidity level (typically between 30% and 50%).
At Estes Services, we offer expert building automation services and controls. Our team of commercial HVAC experts is trained to address your school's unique needs when it comes to building automation.
Schedule IAQ Consultation with Estes Services Today
In this guide, we have covered several common HVAC strategies that you and your team should know about to improve IAQ, from following preventative maintenance practices to implementing air monitoring techniques.
It's important to keep in mind that each school has its unique operational needs, and it's recommended to use commercial HVAC experts to determine the right IAQ methodologies to implement at your school.
Our team of commercial HVAC technicians can help you improve your school's indoor air quality through various HVAC strategies. We service the greater Atlanta area, including Alpharetta, Buckhead, Decatur, Druid Hills, Dunwoody, Fayetteville, Johns Creek, Kennesaw, Marietta, Midtown, Peachtree City, Roswell, Sandy Springs, and Virginia Highland.
Schedule an IAQ consultation with us today. It's that Easy; it's Estes!