School Maintenance Managers Struggle to Eliminate a Four-Letter Word this Summer … Mold!

School maintenance managers won’t be taking much time off this summer as many struggle to keep up with swelling maintenance backlogs. How bad is it? According to a 2016 State of Facilities report, there are growing deferred maintenance backlogs in all types of schools across the United States and there’s no end in sight.

School Maintenance Manager Case for PMAlthough dealing with increasing costs because of this deferred maintenance is certainly a significant challenge, the bigger issues for educational facilities are ensuring good indoor air quality and the health and comfort of students.

Why are schools so vulnerable?

While mold is common outdoors and may appear in many types of buildings, poorly maintained pipes and air conditioners in America’s aging schools make classrooms and dormitories particularly vulnerable to this fungal growth.

For decades, many school districts have bypassed preventive maintenance or delayed deferred maintenance for various reasons, including shifting budgeted expenditures to new construction.

With many school buildings now over 40 years old and the cost of deferred maintenance steadily rising, the harmful effects of mold on students has become a recognized health risk.

What’s the education industry’s preventive maintenance grade?

Source: Maintenance Connection

It’s no surprise to read that preventive maintenance is one of the safest and fiscally sound ways for schools to address future mold concerns. However, it’s interesting to note that compared to eight other industries, the education industry was graded low in preventive maintenance implementation and effectiveness.   

How can schools prevent mold and mildew issues?

Here are three areas where school maintenance managers can improve the execution and effectiveness of their preventive maintenance strategies:

  1. Consider New Tools: School maintenance managers are looking for the fastest, easiest way to clean HVAC coils as dirty coils not only spread mold but reduce system efficiency. Managers should consider a versatile, portable coil cleaning system that can handle indoor evaporator coils, thick condenser coils or any type of coil.
  2. Consider New Techniques: To complement the right tools, many managers have had success using commercial-grade, EPA-registered chemical treatments. These foams and liquid solutions help control and inhibit the future growth of mold and mildew in HVAC systems.
  3. Consider New Technology: A preventive maintenance report collected data from 1,000 facility maintenance professionals in the spring of 2017. The report strongly suggested that facilities that manage preventive maintenance schedules via computerized systems can dramatically improve the effectiveness of their strategies and increase their ROI. For example, many facility managers use LogCheck to keep their teams and systems operating at top efficiency. 

What’s the benefit of the right tools and techniques?

Ongoing maintenance can reduce equipment replacement costs and prevent the spread of airborne mold and mildew. Anthony Rizzica, former chief engineer at Yeshiva University In New York City, explains the benefits this way, “We actually cleaned the coils so well that we gained almost 50 to 60 tons worth of cooling last summer and saved around $75,000.00 to $80,000.00. If I had to put a return on investment on it, I would say for every 25 to 50 coils that we clean, the machine pays for itself.”

Now that’s one math lesson most school maintenance managers would grade an “A.”

One comment


  • Excellent article! This is a serious problem that will help our children and the state. I love the last paragraph which states the amount of savings. This article needs to go viral! =)

    July 22, 2017

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