Schools in Florida are back in session. When you think about things that affect a person’s ability to learn in school, factors like student-to-teacher ratios and the availability of technology in the classroom probably come to mind. However, although often overlooked, the indoor air quality from the air conditioning systems in schools is also an important factor.
Whether you’re a parent of a student or a student yourself, here’s what you need to know about the connection between indoor air quality in schools and how it affects the ability to learn.
Ways Indoor Air Quality Affect Learning in Schools
Air conditioning systems play a critical role in indoor air quality. When working efficiently, air conditioning systems circulate the air inside, which works to filter out pollutants and allergens. Not only does this create a comfortable environment, but it promotes the health and well-being of each person within the building. These factors ultimately influence a person’s ability to focus on their schoolwork. When an air conditioning system is broken, dirty, or otherwise not operating properly, the indoor air quality can quickly diminish and inhibit learning as a result.
Health Problems and Learning Issues Due to Poor IAQ
The air conditioning system is also responsible for maintaining a comfortable environment indoors and ensuring the air within a space in clean, cool and healthy.
– The EPA has found that children in classrooms with high outdoor air ventilation rates tend to achieve higher scores on standardized tests in math and reading than children in poorly ventilated classrooms.
– Concurrently, the presence or dampness and mold increase the risk of asthma and related adverse respiratory health effects in buildings by 30-50 percent.
– Also, schools without a major maintenance backlog have a higher average daily attendance (ADA) by an average of 4 to 5 students per 1,000 and lower annual dropout rate by 10 to 13 students per 1,000.
The EPA recently administered a comprehensive study of three school districts that had implemented indoor air quality management programs to “identify the programs’ impacts and the key drivers of improved outcomes.”
Common IAQ issues at the sites included:
– HVAC system problems
– Cleanliness issues
– Unsafe storage of chemicals and chemical-based products
– Signs of dampness and mold
– Pest management and food storage issues
How HVAC Maintenance and Improved IAQ Reduces Student Illness
HVAC maintenance that ensures effective drain pan drainage, reduces excess moisture and avoids moist insulation eliminates pollutant sources within the HVAC system or within 25 feet of the outside air intakes has been shown to reduce the incidence of lower respiratory symptoms:
– Shortness of breath
– Chest tightness and wheezing
by up to 60 percent in adult populations.
HVAC Maintenance Helps IAQ
Studies have found that the number one solution to poor indoor air quality is to keep the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system maintained at all times. Suggested upkeep includes:
– Compliance with American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, or ASHRAE, outdoor air ventilation standards in every occupied space.
– Uniform temperature and humidity conditions that are within comfort standards with lower rather than higher temperatures preferred.
– Regularly changed medium efficiency (MERV of 5-13) filters.
– Clean and freely draining drain pans.
– Dry insulation.
– No major contaminant sources near any intake vent openings.
Contact Engineered Air For More Indoor Air Quality Help
Just as these factors can influence kids’ ability to learn at school, the same holds true with their study time at home. That’s why it’s important to focus on cultivating a comfortable atmosphere in your home with a high-quality HVAC system. If you’re in need of any HVAC services in South Florida, whether residential or commercial, the professionals at Engineered Air can help. Give us a call today to learn more about our products and services, or schedule an appointment online.