Schools – Prone To Mold Damage
Back to school season is right around the corner. Before schools open their doors for the first day, it is important that they are inspected for any signs of damage and mold. Schools tend to be very vulnerable to water damage caused by roof issues, plumbing problems, leaks, floods, and poor ventilation. These tips will help school personnel know signs of damage to look for, and keep the school clean and safe all year round.
Signs Of Mold In Schools
Odor: Mold has a distinct musty odor. Certain areas of the school may smell more musty than others. However, odor is not always a great indicator of the source. Ensure that your school is being thoroughly inspected for mold when a musty odor is detected.
Staining: Dark staining on building materials is a telltale sign of water damage. Inspect ceilings, floors, and any building materials for staining and even potential dampness. Depending on when the water damage occurred, it may still be wet.
Visible Spores: Mold can be seen in many forms. It generally presents itself as a chalky substance that has settled or grown on building surfaces. It can be found in white, brown, gray, green, and black. Mold often goes unnoticed unless someone is looking for it. Keep an eye out for visible mold spores.
Excess Humidity/Mugginess: Excess humidity can not only cause discomfort for those inside the school, it can also cause moisture issues.
School Mold Prevention
In order to prevent school mold, general moisture control is a key factor. A few minor adjustments can go a long way in preventing mold.
- Moisture control is imperative. The ideal indoor humidity level is anywhere between 30% and 50%. Air conditioners and dehumidifiers encourage good indoor air quality, circulation, and ventilation. Employing the use of dehumidifiers around the school building will help to control the humidity levels even further.
- Perform regular school building inspections and frequent general maintenance checks. Keep an eye out for signs of leaks, moisture issues, and mold.
- Maintenance staff should be informed of any signs of leaks, moisture issues, and mold immediately. Water intrusions should be addressed in a timely fashion to prevent major water damage and mold. It only takes 24 to 48 hours for mold to begin to develop, so time must not be wasted.
- Building materials and furnishings that are damp or wet need to be dried and cleaned within 24-48 hours to avoid mold in schools.
- Avoid carpeting in areas with ongoing moisture problems:
- Near drinking fountains and sinks
- Cafeteria and surrounding areas
- On concrete floors in contact with the ground and subject to frequent condensation
- Spaces such as bathrooms, locker rooms, and cafeterias are especially damp. Areas with excessive moisture require sufficient ventilation that directs warm, moist air outside and away from the building.
- Place air conditioners and dehumidifiers in all areas of the school to encourage air circulation and ventilation.
Where To Look For School Mold
Ceilings: Ceiling mold seems to be common in schools. Those dark brown stains on the ceiling tiles are an indicator of water damage. It is important to inspect all areas of the school, including ceilings.
Bathrooms: Bathrooms tend to be an environment that experiences a lot of excess moisture. They can easily become the perfect breeding ground for mold. Sinks and toilets may experience leakage or overflowing, which can cause water damage if not promptly addressed. Bathrooms should be thoroughly inspected in order to ensure that they are mold free.
Locker Rooms: Similar to bathrooms, locker rooms experience an excess amount of moisture. Showers especially build up that moisture in the locker rooms and can create a very humid environment. Locker rooms should always have proper ventilation so the moisture from showers doesn’t cause water damage, leading to school mold.
Cafeteria: Cafeterias are another area that can easily become the perfect environment for mold development. The heat from the cooking equipment creates steam and humidity. School mold will have no issue thriving in these conditions.
A certified school mold inspector in South Jersey should be contacted to carry out a full inspection when a school is showing signs of mold damage. A professional mold inspector will be able to determine whether or not it is in fact mold, the source of the problem, and the severity of the damage. If a school is experiencing major mold contamination, a professional mold remediation company near you will ensure that the mold has been properly removed and it will not be returning.