When you’re in business, one of the most important things you need to worry about is the health of your staff. If your staff members are not performing at 100%, then your business isn’t performing at its best.
Unfortunately, the build-up of mold can contribute detrimentally to the health of those who work for you, not only with nasty smells that affect productivity, but also allergies, asthma and lung disorders.
That’s why it’s important that you have your workplace tested regularly, and in particular, you need to have to HVAC system tested. The HVAC system, which includes piping and drain pans, is one of the favorite places for mold to thrive. It’s dark, damp and a haven for bacteria. The problem is, that no matter what condition your building is in, there will always be mold: but the good news is – you can control it.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, you need to check your HVAC systems for moisture and mold on a regular occasion, citing that “condensation on under-insulated pipes and leakage in piped systems will often create moist conditions conducive to the growth of molds, fungus, and bacteria”. So you need to check your system to ensure the ducts and system components are free from any moisture.
What you need to check
Your humidification and dehumidification equipment needs to be drained and treated regularly by a professional technician; and they should also replace your air filters on a regular occasion.
Outside, check the air dampers for any dust and debris as these can help mold to grow. If you clean these regularly, you should be able to prevent any build up of dust, and therefore mold.
Dust is also prominent on the ducts, so you want to keep these regularly maintained. You might get a technician in to identify any problems with the ducts, such as any leaks or water damage, keeping the components dry, properly maintaining the filters and cleaning the coils. Coils in your HVAC system are there to dehumidify air, causing condensation to drip into the drain pan. You need to ensure you regularly clean the drain pans and that the coils are working properly.
Other things you want to check, or have a professional test for you, include the return-air plenum – the part of the ceiling that facilitates air circulation; all exhaust systems that pass through the plenum; the cooling towers need to be checked for water quality and chemical treatment; and the areas where outdoor air enters the system (along with the things that might be near those areas that could see mold build-up, such as rubbish bins, ponds, lagoons).
Prevention is the key
Removing mold can be complicated, so prevention is the key. Getting the right size system for your building is the first thing you need to do to ensure the heating and air conditioning is operating properly. Air filters and specialized air handling systems are available if you want to reduce the changes of moisture entering the building to start with; and make sure you have proper drainage in place for things like water chillers and the right ventilation systems (you might even consider a dehumidifier).
And if you need further advice, ask a professional.