How to Maintain School HVAC Systems to Keep Kids Safe
After being partially or fully closed for the past year, school buildings across the country are opening up full-time for students in all grades. What can your school do to keep kids healthy and safe – not just from COVID-19, but from all manner of airborne germs? It’s all about working with your HVAC system.
Why Your School’s HVAC System is Essential for Students’ Health
Your school’s HVAC system plays a crucial part in keeping your students and staff healthy. A well-maintained HVAC system can reduce airborne germs and viruses, as well as minimize dust and other particulates that can exacerbate asthma and allergies.
Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) can make students sick; clean indoor air results in a healthier student body. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that good IAQ is essential to a healthy indoor environment and ranks poor IAQ as one of the top five environmental risks to public health.
6 Steps to a Healthier School HVAC System
Improving the air quality in your school creates a healthier environment and one less likely to spread COVID-19 and other viruses. Here are six ways you can improve your HVAC system to better keep your students and staff safe.
1. Start Your System Early
You want to get the air flowing before students fill the halls. This means running your HVAC system at maximum airflow for two hours before the first bell rings and keeping it running for two hours after the last class.
2. Bring In Outside Air
To improve air quality, bring in more fresh air. Many systems are configured to recirculate air to lower heating/cooling costs, but this approach results in lower air quality. Instead, open the system dampers to allow the maximum intake of outside air.
3. Increase Airflow
It’s important to keep the air flowing. Change your fan settings from “Auto” to always on (the higher, the better). Disable demand-controlled ventilation (DCV) that cuts air supply based on occupancy. You want continuous airflow whether a room is filled or not.
4. Clean and Upgrade Air Filters
The air filters in your HVAC system get dirty and clogged over time, negatively affecting their efficiency. Clean or replace your system’s filters several times each year, and consider upgrading to higher-efficiency filters with a higher MERV rating.
5. Upgrade Your HVAC System
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that 36,000 schools in the U.S. need HVAC system upgrades. Take this opportunity to evaluate your systems and budget for any necessary improvements.
6. Maintain Your School HVAC System
Finally, make sure your HVAC system is running at peak efficiency. This means conducting regular maintenance and making any necessary repairs. All checkups should include an evaluation of IAQ and making sure your system meets code requirements. Maintaining your HVAC system not only ensures that it’s doing the best job possible but also extends the life of the system.
Let the Severn Group Help You Maintain Your School HVAC System
Whether it’s a one-time system evaluation or ongoing system maintenance, The Severn Group can help you ensure that your school’s HVAC system is keeping your students and staff safe and healthy. We’ve been providing HVAC maintenance and systems for schools and other organizations since 2002 and can work with you to make sure your system is running cleanly and efficiently. Contact us today to learn more. Contact us today to learn more about improving your building’s air quality.