Air pollution is a universal concern, but many don’t realize the risks of poor air quality in schools. Students and staff are in a school building for hours daily, sometimes spending more than half their day in classes, sports practices, clubs and other events.
Students and teachers need clean air to be healthy and reach their maximum productivity. Providing a comfortable environment is a worthwhile investment for communities, and promptly responding to poor air quality can prevent severe consequences.
Dangers of Poor Air Quality for Staff and Students
Poor air quality can cause a range of mild to severe symptoms for children and adults. Prolonged exposure can result in long-term health effects such as irritation in the throat, nose and eyes. People may also experience shortness of breath or face aggravated asthma and other respiratory conditions. Poor air quality can also affect the cardiovascular system.
Children are more sensitive to pollution than adults. Since children breathe more and have narrower passageways, it takes less irritation or inflammation to obstruct their airways. Additionally, kids are more likely to have respiratory illnesses and asthma than adults, making them more likely to feel aggravating symptoms from air pollution.
Staff members like teachers and administrators can also experience poor air quality’s adverse effects, including irritation, chest pain and coughing. Prolonged exposure can lead to lung diseases, breathing difficulty and worse outcomes, including cancer and hospitalization. Additionally, poor air quality can impede productivity and focus, making it harder for staff to help students maximize their lessons.
Causes of Poor Air Quality
To improve air quality, it’s vital to pinpoint the problem’s source. Several factors can lead to poor air quality.
Aging building: Many schools fall into disrepair over time due to budgetary challenges. A lack of maintenance can lead to excessive moisture, water damage and leaks, potentially causing a buildup of mold, dust and airborne allergens.
Poor ventilation: HVAC systems and other ventilation methods need proper maintenance and cleaning. Inadequate ventilation can result in high carbon dioxide levels and harmful airborne particles. Additionally, dust and dirt can blow into classrooms and hallways due to a lack of cleaning in air ducts and HVAC systems, affecting everyone in the building.
Pollution sources: Schools near highways or in busy city areas can fill with exhaust fumes. Industrial plants can also present challenges for nearby schools. Schools in these locations must have the proper systems in place.
Indoor air pollutants: It can be challenging to prevent any pollutant from entering a school because children spread germs, and some cleaning products can carry harmful chemicals that can harm anyone nearby, adding to poor air quality.
How Staff Can Improve Indoor Air Quality in Schools
Thankfully, administrators, faculty and staff can take several steps to improve indoor air quality. Each school will have different needs, but these tips can help everyone enjoy a more comfortable space and prevent worsening conditions:
Keep classroom ventilation systems free of clutter.
Understand the effects of poor air quality on staff and student health and productivity.
Reduce cloth items in the classroom that can attract dust mites, including stuffed animals, furniture and draperies.
Report maintenance problems that occur in hallways and classrooms as quickly as possible.
Consider relocating pets that cause allergic reactions to other classrooms away from sensitive students and staff.
Opt for classroom pets like tropical fish that do not trigger asthma attacks or allergies.
Find Services to Improve Indoor Air Quality
Meeting indoor air quality standards for schools can be simple. Though faculty and staff can take some steps to improve the school environment, these services are much more efficient.
HVAC system and duct cleaning: You can prevent air quality concerns with thorough duct and HVAC system cleaning. Clearing your ductwork of debris, dirt and other contaminants that accumulate over time can improve your air quality and lengthen your unit’s life span to create a long-lasting healthy, safe and comfortable environment.
Maintenance and repair: Regular repairs and maintenance are essential for ensuring your system’s integrity and improving your indoor environment. This service helps your HVAC remain in top condition and includes seasonal responsibilities such as inspecting motor operations, thermostat controls and connections. Upkeep may consist of changing the air filter, fixing broken elements or lubricating moving components.
Replacement and installation: Whether you need to replace an old HVAC system or want to improve efficiency, HVAC replacement and installation services help you make the best switch for your building. This service includes removing and disposing of the existing equipment and installing, testing and calibrating a new system to ensure it works correctly.
Infection control: Construction like drilling and demolition can push harmful particles into the air, adversely affecting your air quality. You can mitigate the risks from these activities by requesting an infection control service to identify and remedy bacterial presence while reducing the risk of spreading diseases. During this service, a professional team will assess potential risks and implement control measures to minimize these risks.
Fire life safety: Fire outbreaks can cause devastating outcomes, including polluting the air. Fire life safety services ensure your building has the protection it needs. This service includes sprinkler head cleaning to clear any dust or debris and ensure they work correctly in the event of a fire. You can also expect smoke fire damper inspection and replacement during this service, which includes cleaning ducts and louvers.
Indoor Air Quality Improvement From Alliance Environmental
At Alliance Environmental, we understand the importance of a healthy, safe and comfortable environment. It can be easy to overlook indoor air quality, but it can quickly impact everyone in your building, potentially leading to devastating health conditions. As a commercial business, Alliance Environmental understands the importance of your air quality and how to improve it through a range of comprehensive services.
With us, you can find services like HVAC maintenance, repair, replacement, installation and cleaning and other air quality services like fire life safety and infection control. We’re a leader in our industry, and our experienced team is ready to apply practical solutions to your school to improve air quality for your faculty, staff and students. Request a quote to learn more about what we can do for you.