Importance of HVAC System Maintenance in School Buildings
By Amy Nutt
Even more so than in the home, the proper maintenance of an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system is important in school buildings. There are a number of reasons why it’s vital that a school keep its HVAC equipment well maintained. Any school facilities administrator needs HVAC units and ensure they are working properly.
One important factor to consider is that school buildings are generally much larger than personal homes or apartments. That means that HVAC systems in school buildings are going to have to be larger as well. With more area to cover in terms of ductwork and a more powerful unit needed to heat, cool, and ventilate a school. There is also a greater chance of something going wrong.
Also, when a problem does occur it harder to track down its exact source since the system is so large. That’s why it’s a good idea to do regular preventative maintenance on an HVAC system so that problems can be detected and fixed early.
It’s a major problem if any element of an HVAC system fails while school is in session. If the heating fails during the winter. Then the students will get cold and could even get sick if they’re stuck in the cold for too long.
Ventilation problems in HVAC System
It’s equally important that the cooling and ventilation systems work properly. Most school classrooms have anywhere between 20 and 40 people packed in to a relatively small space. If the cooling system fails on a hot summer day, those classrooms can practically turn into saunas. The body heat of so many people all in the space can really ramp up the temperature.
Ventilation problems can also be made more severe by the sheer number of people who are often in classrooms. It could lead to students getting really uncomfortable, and potentially even cause problems for people with asthma or similar conditions.
In order to keep on top of HVAC system maintenance in a school building, there are a few important steps that should be undertaken. The filters in the units should be replaced once every couple of months in order to ensure that they stay clean and don’t become a breeding ground for mold and fungus. The filters will need to be changed more often in dirtier environments.
Also, the evaporator and condenser coils should be cleaned once or twice each year. Evaporator coils are pretty much always damp. Making them a likely spot for mold or fungus to grow and affect the air supply. Condenser coils are easily damaged and degraded by dirt buildup. Routine cleaning of these key components of the HVAC system will not only extend the life of the system, but will also make it run more efficiently.
These key steps, along with routine inspections, will help make sure that a school’s HVAC system stays in good shape.