How to Manage Indoor Air Quality During Allergy Season at Your Education Facility

Most of us spend the winter months yearning for warmer weather and longer days. And while spring’s arrival is surely welcome, it also comes with problems of its own, namely airborne allergens. The presence of pollen in particular during the spring and early summer months can take its toll on students everywhere, increasing the number of sick days, diminishing performance, and hindering learning outcomes. Fortunately, the typical U.S. school year comes to an end towards the end of May, which marks the beginning of allergy season for many regions. Of course, allergy season kicks off as early as February in warmer states. One way or another, education facilities all over will have to deal with the health implications of allergy season, namely its effect on indoor air quality (IAQ).

Pollen and other seasonal allergens originate outdoors, but they can easily make their way inside campus facilities and reduce IAQ – this presents a double-edged sword for schools looking to purify the air inside classrooms. Opening up windows and doors certainly increases ventilation and air circulation, but doing so also grants pollen and pollutants easy access inside these buildings. With that in mind, facility managers must seek other solutions for IAQ improvement during allergy season.

Here’s how to manage indoor air quality (IAQ) at your education facility during allergy season.

How to Manage Indoor Air Quality at Your Education Facility During Allergy Season

Power Wash Building Exteriors

Blasting the outside surfaces of campus buildings might not seem to have much to do with the quality of air inside them. However, as we explored in our recent article, “Top 5 Reasons It’s Imperative to Pressure Wash for Pollen This Spring,” the pollen that clings to building exteriors can make its way indoors unless promptly removed. Moreover, those with strong enough allergies may still be affected by this proximal pollen presence. Power washing your building for pollen is a key component of overall building maintenance, too. Clearing away this yellow-green coating boosts your campus’ curb appeal, prevents additional dirt and debris from building up, keeps pests at bay, and mitigates exterior erosion.

Keep in Reach of High Dusting

Dust is a common allergic trigger for countless people no matter the season, and allergy season is certainly no exception. An education facility’s IAQ is in no small part determined by its dust levels. In many instances, this dust accumulation is difficult to see. Cobwebs and dust bunnies are easy to spot, but dust has a way of hiding behind objects, blending in with lighter surfaces, and lingering on top of hard-to-reach areas like high shelves, ceiling fans, trim, and more. These dust depots might be out of sight, but they still have an impact on how well (or poorly) students and faculty members breathe indoors. As such, maintaining strong building cleaning protocols year-round is vital for promoting healthy IAQ levels – high dusting plays a role in these efforts. High dusting deals with removing dust from these aforementioned hard-to-reach locations before performing regular dusting to take care of any remaining particles that have landed on surfaces below.

Read our blog, “Top 4 Reasons Spring Is the Best Time for High Dusting Your Office” for more on this topic.

Don’t Neglect Floor Care

As mentioned above, dust can land just about anywhere in your facilities. That said, gravity makes sure that the majority of dust winds up on your facility flooring. Soft, porous floors like rugs and carpeting attract the most dust and tend to be more difficult to keep clean. Still, hard floors such as vinyl, wood, and tiling contend with their fair share of dust as well. Keeping up with commercial floor care in each and every facility across your campus eliminates dust and therefore improves IAQ. Optimal floor cleaning methods will vary depending on the floor type – for instance, hard flooring might require vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, burnishing, stripping and waxing, etc., whereas soft flooring often requires regular vacuuming and periodic steam cleaning and/or shampooing.

Invest in Modern Air Purification Solutions

While opening windows and doors isn’t advised during allergy season, there are other ways to keep the clean air flowing inside your education facility. At the very least, you want to maintain clean, operational HVAC systems in each building and regularly change out filters to keep dust, pollen, viruses, and other pollutants at bay. Some older air filtration systems can still get the job done, but they’re not nearly as efficient or effective as newer, state-of-the-art models. Airbox solutions, for instance, employ a 3-phase filtration system to eliminate odors and VOCs, prevent microorganisms like bacteria and fungi from spreading through the air, and remove particulates 0.3 microns and smaller in size (an important tool for air disinfection for coronavirus and other viruses). These U.S.-made air purification devices can achieve 99.99% effectiveness against COVID pathogens and odors. With powerful air filtration devices such as these at your disposal, you won’t have to worry about pollen and other seasonal allergens entering your facility no matter the quality of the air outdoors.

Install Indoor Air Quality Monitors

All of the IAQ improvement methods outlined here aren’t nearly as effective without proper monitoring. If you can’t easily track IAQ metrics, you’ll struggle to track your progress, locate issues, and make meaningful adjustments to optimize the quality of air within your education facility. As such, IAQ monitoring devices are necessary tools for proper facility management – these monitors track particulate matter presence, humidity levels, temperature, and more. With accurate IAQ monitoring, those in charge of facility maintenance and occupant wellness can better reduce risks associated with airborne health threats, such as viruses, bacteria, dust, fungal growth, chemicals, and, of course, seasonal allergens.

IAQ Improvements Are Nothing to Sneeze At

The school year may be winding down or already at an end, but allergy season is still with us and will be with us again before we know it. Attending to the IAQ improvements mentioned here will ensure that your educational facility is prepared to face not only the nastiest seasonal allergens but also year-round pollutants. The Budd Group offers comprehensive power washing, cleaning, high dusting, floor care, HVAC, air purification solutions, and more. To learn more about our services and values, give us a call today at 800-221-8158!

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