Mold is a serious issue, especially in a school setting. Arising from excess moisture, mold can cause damage to the building, important documents, library books, records, musical instruments, and much more. In fact, Stephen F. Austin High School recently suffered $14,000 in damages following the failure of an HVAC system. This system failure caused mold to grow on the cases of 40 musical instruments, limiting student participation in the school’s band program.
The presence of mold is a serious health issue. A four-year-old girl attending her pre-kindergarten class was rushed from Oak Springs Elementary to the hospital with difficulty breathing. Doctor’s noted the asthma symptoms could be related to mold exposure. Following the diagnosis, an inspection of the aging school revealed elevated levels of Aspergillus or Penicillium––molds widely known for triggering allergic responses.
These are not isolated issues. Across the country, numerous cases of mold have been discovered with necessary repairs costing up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. If not addressed immediately, the presence of water and high humidity in school buildings can lead to mold growth, the damage and loss of property, and compromise a healthy learning environment for students and teachers alike.
Common Causes of Mold Growth
Dampness and high humidity are catalysts for the growth of mold. In fact, mold can begin to grow in damp conditions in just 48 hours. The presence of this harmful moisture may come from a wide range of sources that can damage documents, walls, ceilings, and other school property.
One common cause for water intrusion in schools is from roof leaks. Even very small discontinuities in the roof can allow water to slowly penetrate the building and create an environment for mold to grow. Similarly, pipe leaks can present the same issue, especially when the pipe leak is behind a wall and out of sight.
HVAC units are another area of concern. Condensation from these units can drip into the ceiling and wall materials and even travel along the ventilation ducts. Often left unattended for long periods of time, condensation drips from an HVAC unit can facilitate mold growth and cause extensive damage.
Preventing Mold in Schools
Accidents will happen. The roof could leak, a pipe could split, or the HVAC unit could drip. Being aware of these issues and responding quickly to water-related problems is the key to preventing mold growth and the health and monetary costs that come with it.
Regular inspections and maintenance of the roof, pipework, and HVAC systems within the school building are essential to preventing water intrusion and its associated consequences. A thorough maintenance schedule with regular inspections and proactive repairs can prevent these water-related damages and growth of mold within the building. With this approach, roof issues such as branches caused puncture holes, corroded piping or valves, or even clogged condensate lines in the HVAC system will be identified and remedied quickly.
Upon discovering water issues, immediate drying solutions are necessary to prevent the growth and spread of mold and its associated health and monetary risks. A professional evaluation is essential for these situations to identify the full scope of damages and to implement an efficient drying solution that will preserve school property to its fullest, including sensitive documents.
Polygon has experience in emergency response to water-related situations. Our skilled team of professionals helps recover documents and prevented substantial renovation costs with rapid response times and effective drying technologies.
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