- Rob DeMalo
COVID and MOLD?
Updated: Aug 31, 2021
Inspections • Air Monitoring • Testing
There is an increased risk of mold growth in schools due to condensation forming as a result of COVID-19 ventilation recommendations for increased outside air (20-25% OA) being brought in through the HVAC system. Often times this OA is unconditioned, and during the summer season, this hot and humid air will cause condensation when interacting with cold surfaces from the interior conditioned space or when cellulose-based materials absorb the water vapor due to insufficient dehumidification. This condensation or elevated moisture content will provide biologically available water to promote unwanted active mold growth inside school buildings and classrooms.
When it comes to buildings, schools and homes, molds will often grow in damp or wet areas indoors such as bathroom and basement walls and areas around windows, leaky water fountains or sinks. If left unchecked, elevated moisture and mold growth causes deterioration of building materials, decreased insulation efficiency and loss of property value. The end result: Increased owner costs and occupant complaints.
Mold also impacts those who come in contact with it, putting them at risk of long-lasting health issues. An allergic reaction is one of the most common however there are other effects, including eye and throat irritations, sinus congestion, cough and any number of respiratory problems. It can also cause skin infections. The tricky part is that symptoms are similar to many other conditions and are often missed. While the severity is determined by the amount, length of exposure and type of mold present, those with allergies, asthma and compromised immune systems are at a greater risk.
If mold is suspected, it is recommended to contact an experienced professional offering inspection and testing services.