Why You Should Condition Empty Classroom Buildings During the Summer
This is a favorite meme, and right now many of us feel like Thursday in this forecast might be coming reality.
While temperatures around the nation hopefully will not reach quite that high, there is a reality that strikes with extremely high temperatures which is often accompanied by high humidity levels.
The other day someone in Vanguard Modular’s corporate office mentioned that a DOT approved plastic gas container broke open in his garage at the seam because the high temperatures from this heatwave has caused the gas inside to expand so much. This is a reminder of how detrimental heat can be not only to people’s health and well-being, but also to those assets we are responsible for maintaining day in and day out.
High temperatures and high humidity often felt along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts in the summer can combine to have harmful impacts within unoccupied buildings that remain unconditioned for extended periods of time, just like schools during summer break.
What harmful effects? Moisture is the number one ingredient needed for mold spores to grow.
It does not matter how well sealed up your building is, moisture from high humidity will infiltrate it and when it is present in your building with the HVAC switched off, a recipe for mold is being created. The warm temperatures of the summer increase the likelihood of mold developing. Mold does not distinguish between site-built and modular built structures. All unconditioned structures are susceptible to mold in a warm and moist environment.
Moisture and heat combine to create a degrading environment for many building materials, as well as those used to build equipment.
Moisture and high temperatures in a building can impact glues that fasten laminate counter tops, VCT on the floor, and other finishes. Too high of humidity can even impact t-grid ceiling tiles. Technology equipment such as computers, printers, projectors, tablets are all vulnerable to damage with excessive and uncontrolled heat and moisture present.
There is a simple way to reduce the likelihood that the building structures you are responsible for experience high levels of mold development or damage to equipment and interior finishes…
Run the HVAC. That’s it!
Maintaining a conditioned space, with humidity levels at 50% or lower, can significantly reduce the chances of any major mold development in weather tight spaces; because the HVAC system works to remove the moisture from the air. The moisture removed by the HVAC is then drained out of the system in the form of condensation.
Just because the students, faculty, and staff are gone from school for the summer does not mean the air conditioning system should be switched to off. Rethink this decision and balance the need to conserve energy and save money, with the ever present risk of mold development or unintended damage to components and items within the building.