When mold grows in school buildings and portable classrooms, it can be bad new for some staff and students, particularly those with allergies or respiratory problems. It may actually cause some health problems, which can not only be bad for the sufferers, but create legal problems for the school administration.
Why Would Mold Be Growing in My Child’s School?
Mold grows in schools when airborne mold spores land on a damp “food source” and begin digesting it in order to survive. Mold requires oxygen, water, and a source of food to grow. There are molds that can grow on almost anything including: wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation. Controlling moisture is the key to managing mold—in schools AND your home.
Leaky roofs, pipes, windows, foundations, and other structural openings are key places through which the water required for mold growth can enter school buildings and portable classrooms. Other ways that water may enter schools are floods (especially after a large storm), poor drainage, or mis-directed sprinklers.
Scheduled maintenance activities or conditions during school breaks can cause moisture problems in schools, such as:
- Increased moisture due to painting or carpet cleaning
- High humidity during the summer
- No air conditioning or heating system operation (or reduced use) when school is not in session
When moisture enters the building and its interior structure, it can condense as it comes into contact with cooler indoor surfaces, such as windows, walls, and water pipes.
Where Does Mold Grow in Schools?
Excess moisture or water build-up in the following areas can easily cause mold growth:
- On roof materials above ceilings
- Around windows
- Near water fountains
- On walls, ceiling tiles, and other visible surfaces
- On hidden surfaces, such as the back side of dry wall or wall coverings
- Around bathroom tiles
- In cooling coil drip pans and inside ductwork
- In books and carpet
How Can the Administration Manage Mold in Schools?
The key to controlling indoor mold growth in schools is to control moisture, says the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- Conduct maintenance as scheduled and perform regular school building inspections for signs of mold, moisture, and leaks.
- Report all water leaks and moisture problems immediately to your maintenance staff.
- Clean and dry damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24–48 hours after a leak or spill to prevent mold growth.
- Keep indoor relative humidity between 30% and 50%:
- Ventilate bathrooms, locker rooms, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside.
- Use air conditioners and dehumidifiers.
- Scrub mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely.
- Remove and replace porous materials, such as ceiling tiles or carpet, that become moldy.
- Avoid installing carpet in areas with perpetual moisture problems:
- Near drinking fountains and classroom sinks.
- On concrete floors in contact with the ground and subject to frequent condensation
- Cover cold surfaces, such as cold water pipes, with insulation.
- Ensure that the school operates exhaust systems, such as bathroom fans, together with air conditioning or heating systems.
- Establish policies that restrict moisture generating activities, such as carpet cleaning, during vacation unless moisture removing equipment is operating. Consider cycling the air conditioning system several hours every day or running portable dehumidifiers.
Schools can also participate in U.S. EPA’s IAQ Tools for Schools Program. This program provides guidance on good maintenance practices that help prevent mold growth and other IAQ problems.
This is not the only place where mold is hiding in your life! There can easily be a hidden problem right in your own home. Does your child have allergies or trouble breathing, at home or at school? Call us and we can check out your home, your business and your child’s school to determine where mold is hiding, and eradicate it. When it comes to allergies, it is not enough to just kill the mold—it has to be removed completely.
We should also be the first ones you call when the school has been flooded, or had fire damage—it won’t be the first time that the chemistry lab spawned a school fire! We will get your students back in class in no time, in a classroom that looks just like it did before.
What is your child’s health worth? Call now: (877) 732-8471