Mold: The Original Facility Management Issue

The HVAC and building maintenance industries have seen issues come and go over the years. For a time, “sick building syndrome” was on the front cover of every facility management magazine. Now green has taken the headlines. Before green, the issue facing our buildings was mold.

Although mold may be off the front page, a quick internet search of “mold in commercial buildings” shows the problem of mold is still very real and very current. For a more sobering reminder that the problem of hasn’t gone away, search the keywords “mold class action lawsuit”. The results are enough to make any facility manager consider another career.

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Air Conditioning Makes You Smarter: Increasing the Bottom Line with Better HVAC Maintenance

CareerBuilder.com released a 2018 survey stating that 46% of employees think their office is too hot to too cold. Despite untold millions of dollars spent on heating and air conditioning systems, almost half of everyone in a building is uncomfortable. Year after year complaints about office temperature outrank dirty bathrooms, noise levels, no parking, or even bad indoor quality. It seems being uncomfortable is what is on people’s minds and for good reason. Several studies have shown a direct link between an employee’s comfort and their productivity, which is one of the many reasons why proper HVAC maintenance is so critical.

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HVAC Maintenance Implications of Nearby Fires

The West Coast is again facing epic wildfires filling the air with soot and ash settling onto roads, cars, and buildings, sometimes hundreds of miles away from the fires. For managers of commercial buildings, the flying ash increases the possibility of HVAC maintenance problems particularly in facilities with open cooling towers. Some building managers close to the fires have reported increased microbial growth in their open cooling towers as a result of the additional airborne particulates. The algae growth is clogging up the tower fill and wet ash is being drawn into the piping systems restricting the flow of tower water. If not immediately corrected, pipe fouling in open towers is an expensive and disruptive situation to correct.

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How Maintenance Reductions Can Put Student Health at Risk

Every parent knows from experience that classrooms are swarming petri dishes of runny noses, coughs, and pink eye. Between wiping their noses, putting fingers in mouths, or just close contact, germs and infections spread very quickly among school kids. There’s little school employees can do about the inevitable transmission of colds between students, but school maintenance staff can make sure the building itself isn’t the source of additional infections. As such, less maintenance staff can mean higher risk of illness for students.

Maintenance technicians are at a school not just to fix things. A large part of their job is to perform routine preventative maintenance (PM) to keep equipment from breaking in the first place. For heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, PM includes changing air filters, wiping out drain pans, and cleaning cooling coils. These PM tasks not only keep HVAC equipment operating efficiently, but keep the equipment clean reducing the likelihood that mold or bacteria will grow inside.

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Encore of Webinar-Scale: Why You Have It, What It Does, and How to Descale Safely and Effectively.

Back by popular demand, Goodway Technologies will be hosting a webinar on June 26th at 2:00 PM EST titled, “Scale: Why You Have It, What It Does and How to Descale Safely and Effectively, with Goodway’s Director of Sales, Liquid Solutions Division, Tim Fregeau. 

Mr. Fregeau will discuss the basics of scale and the impact it has on industrial systems across multiple business segments. You will learn how to properly identify scale, and develop an effective plan for removing it and managing any recurrence. Attendees will  have the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the presentation.

From power generation to manufacturing, scaling in equipment can cause lost efficiency which lead to lost production and profits. That’s why understanding types of scale, what it can do, and how to get rid of it are fundamental to maintaining a productive and profitable business.

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Webinar-Scale: Why You Have It, What It Does, and How to Descale Safely and Effectively.

To maintain a steady flow in production, equipment maintenance must be maintained. From power generation to manufacturing, scaling in equipment can cause lost efficiency which lead to lost production and profits. That’s why understanding types of scale, what it can do, and how to get rid of it are fundamental to maintaining a productive and profitable business.

In order to help you do just that, Goodway Technologies will be hosting a webinar on April 27th at 10:00 AM EST titled, “Scale: Why You Have It, What It Does and How to Descale Safely and Effectively, with Goodway’s Director of Sales, Liquid Solutions Division, Tim Fregeau. Mr. Fregeau will discuss the basics of scale, and the impact it has on industrial systems across multiple business segments. You will learn how to properly identify scale, and develop an effective plan for removing it and managing any recurrence.

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The Cost of Delaying Mold Prevention and Treatment

Mold RemediationIf you’re a facility manager who likes to stay under the radar when it comes to tenant safety and maintenance costs, preventing and treating mold growth should be a high priority. Why? Even though mold is always present in any building, it needs food and water to grow and thrives in warm, humid weather. Since mold can feed on just about anything, your facility’s carpet and drywall are on the menu. Mold’s biggest threat is when spores release into the air. One of the fastest ways to spread mold is through an ill-maintained HVAC system.

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How Facility Managers Can Comply with Energy Benchmarking Laws

Energy and water conservation have become an industry focus. One reason is energy benchmarking laws that regulate a building’s traditional energy usage and incentivizes for using renewable sources.

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The Important Role Preventive Maintenance Plays for Your Facility’s PTAC Units

PTAC Unit Preventive MaintenanceFor commercial and mixed use development projects, designing for heating and air conditioning systems requires finding simple, cost-effective systems that allow occupants to control spaces individually. The solution is often self-contained units such as packaged terminal air conditioning (PTAC) units. But without proper maintenance, these types of units can mean big problems when it comes to clean indoor air and energy costs.

Lack of Ventilation and Poor Insulation

Self contained units like PTAC units are great for apartments, hotels, retirement homes and spaces where individual units and individual spaces but these units often do not come with outdoor air intakes. Many of these units have poor drainage, constant usage or sub-par maintenance. As a result, PTAC units experience odor issues, dirt and dust problems and mold build up.

Additionally, because these types of units go through walls to the outside, they tend to transfer heat and cold through their metal frames from the outside to the inside, making it even more difficult to maintain inside temperatures and keep energy consumption down. Without the ability to cool effectively, moisture trapped inside the unit can create dangerous mold buildup.

Where It’s a Problem

One of the main reasons PTAC units  are widely used in hotels, hospitals, and facilities such as nursing homes is because they’re relatively low cost. In fact, they’re often up to 50% less expensive than traditional HVAC systems with ductwork. But what is gained in upfront cost can be lost in repairs and energy usage if units are not maintained properly.

The Solution

While some owners and facility managers may lean towards replacing these systems with other types, this is not always a viable option. Plus, with routine preventive maintenance, indoor air quality can be improved and energy costs lowered. For example, changing filters regularly, cleaning unit evaporators and condensers periodically. In addition, cleaning and protecting a PTAC unit’s coils against mold and mildew with an EPA registered mold inhibitor is also a good idea.

PTAC units may have issues with indoor air quality and energy efficiency but these issues can be alleviated with cleaning and regular maintenance. Owners and building managers of facilities where PTAC units are widely used should consider regular maintenance using a coil cleaner like Goodway Coilpro to clean coils and Coilshine detergent to prevent mold and mildew growth.

Next Steps

Check out these related Resources for PTAC maintenance and indoor air quality:

A Facility Manager’s Guide to Maintaining, Retrofitting and Replacing RTUs

As a facility manager, you’re likely aware the Department of Energy’s energy standards for rooftop units begin in 2018 and increase in 2023. But did you also know wasted energy can cost between $1,000 and $3,700 per unit if your facility’s RTU inventory (commercial air conditioners, heat pumps, and warm-air furnaces ) includes units that are over 10 years old, use R22 refrigerant, or have had little to no preventive maintenance? In other words, those old and inefficient RTUs are costing you and that doesn’t even include costly repairs and downtime.

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