Mold can be caused by a variety of things within a commercial facility. Yet one all-too-common culprit is the HVAC equipment. The HVAC system is comprised of a variety of components, from piping to drip pans and more. Not only can mold quickly form on any of these pieces, it also provides the means to carry mold growth throughout the building.
Maintenance managers are often tasked with fixing things; when there’s a problem, its time to repair. But when it comes to maintaining the HVAC system and preventing mold, it takes more than just regular maintenance. It also requires understanding the ways in which mold spores can travel throughout the building. Water isn’t always contained where a spill takes place. Very quickly it can spread beyond, creating trouble in many places.
Indoor molds typically become a problem when they are visible and are amplified by the environment. To survive and grow, they need water, the right temperature, and food to grow on, such as drywall, carpeting, paper, fabric, wood, or furnishings. Once they begin growing, they increasingly become more difficult to contain, as the spores begin traveling everywhere. While you can try and kill them with fungicides, biocides and cleaners, if you use the wrong product, it won’t kill it at the source. And once its in the air, it can continue to fester and impact the air, both where the mold occurs, and where it travels to. And once mold complicates indoor air quality and tenants begin complaining of sickness, the real problems begin.
To avoid this problem altogether, proper design, installation and maintenance of the HVAC system should occur from the beginning.
- Coils and pans should be properly maintained, cleaned frequently, and provide proper sloping for efficient draining.
- Humidification and dehumidification equipment should be properly drained and maintained to avoid ductwork from remaining wet.
- Outdoor air dampers should be kept free from dust and debris.
- Air filters should properly fit and be replaced on a regular basis. Make sure all air filters are high efficiency filters to ensure the highest level of filtration.
- Ductwork should be properly maintained and sealed at all times to restrict airflow to the proper areas, and avoid debris and moisture from accumulating where its not meant to be.
- Cooling towers should have proper water quality and chemical treatment to prevent microbial growth.
- Air intakes should be monitored based on location. If air intakes are near garbage cans, standing rain water, ponds, vegetation, or other organic matter, make sure the system is monitored and checked regularly to avoid releasing fungal spores into the air.
If you think you may have a problem with mold, or its been a while since you’ve had your HVAC system cleaned, repaired and checked for possible problems, schedule an appointment today.