College Planning & Management

AUG 2012

College Planning & Management is the information resource for professionals serving the college and university market. Covering facilities, security, technology and business.

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>> Maintenance, Repair & Custodial Care The Importance of Mold Remediation If mold is a problem on your campus, you must eliminate sources of moisture and clean up the mold. C oncern about indoor exposure to mold has been increasing as the public becomes aware that exposure to mold can cause a variety of health effects and symptoms, including allergic reactions. Mold can be found almost anywhere; it can grow on virtually any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. There is mold that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed. It is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor en- vironment. However, mold growth can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture indoors. Since mold requires water to grow, it is important to prevent moisture problems in buildings. Moisture problems can have many causes, including uncontrolled humidity. Some moisture problems in buildings have been linked to changes in building construction practices during the 1970s, '80s, and '90s. Some of these changes have resulted in buildings that are tightly sealed, but may lack adequate ventilation, potentially leading to mois- ture buildup. Building materials, such as drywall, may not allow moisture to escape easily. Moisture problems may include roof leaks, landscaping or gutters that direct water into or under the building, and unvented combustion appliances. Delayed maintenance or insuffi cient maintenance are also associated with moisture problems in schools and large buildings. Moisture problems in portable classrooms and other temporary structures have frequently been associated with mold problems. The First Step Is Prevention • Fix leaky plumbing and leaks in the building envelope as soon as possible. • Watch for condensation and wet spots. Fix source(s) of moisture problem(s) as soon as possible. • Prevent moisture due to condensation by increasing surface temperature or reduc- ing the moisture level in air (humidity). To increase surface temperature, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce the moisture level in air, repair leaks, increase ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), or dehumidify (if outdoor air is warm and humid). • Keep heating, ventilation, and air condi- tioning (HVAC) drip pans clean, fl owing 42 COLLEGE PLANNING & MANAGEMENT / AUGUST 2012 properly, and unobstructed. • Vent moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, to the outside where possible. • Maintain low indoor humidity; below 60 percent relative humidity (RH), ideally 30 to 50 percent, if possible. • Perform regular building/HVAC inspec- tions and maintenance as scheduled. • Clean and dry wet or damp spots within 48 hours. • Don't let foundations stay wet. Provide drainage and slope the ground away from the foundation. The Problem of Hidden Mold In some cases, indoor mold growth may not be obvious. It is possible that mold may be growing on hidden surfaces, such as the backside of drywall, wallpaper, or paneling; WWW.PLANNING4EDUCATION.COM ISTOCKPHOTO / NATALIYA HORA

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