Install, Maintain Single-Packaged Units for Optimal IAQ
Emily Wright, Modine Manufacturing Company
When you think of school, the first thing that often comes to mind is students sitting in a classroom listening to their teacher. Behind the scenes, however, there is an important tool at work that makes the school a comfortable environment in which this learning can take place. Mechanical HVAC units are one of the vital organs that keep schools in session year-round. That has never been clearer than this past school year. During the first semester of the 2022-23 school year, several K-12 facilities were forced to close due to issues that could have been minimized by top-notch HVAC equipment.
In Southern Colorado, hot temperatures plagued many school districts in early September 2022. According to KOAA, more than 30 schools in the Denver Public School District were forced to release early due to heat concerns. That same report stated a few schools in District 11 in Colorado Springs didn’t have air conditioning but used a filtration system to push cooler air into the schools at night to combat the heat. This is an issue that could’ve been minimized with proper HVAC solutions.
Similarly, sickness caused many schools to close during the latter part of 2022. During the first full week of November, four school districts in East Tennessee were closed due to sickness. WBIR reported Union County, Newport Grammar, Rogersville City and Hancock County schools all closed due to the rise in RSV and flu cases.
While not a quick fix, HVAC units provide the necessary ventilation and filtration solutions to combat airborne pathogens and extreme heat and cold conditions to create a healthier, more comfortable environment for students and faculty. With the right unit and proper maintenance, mechanical HVAC solutions can be a difference-maker for K-12 schools.
When looking at HVAC units for K-12 schools, it is important to install a system that will create the optimal learning environment. Installing a single-room, single-packaged vertical unit (SPVU) ventilator provides important benefits that will keep the air fresh, clean and safe for students. These units are installed in individual classrooms, so they can be adjusted to optimize and address individual needs. Since these operate within a single room, unit ventilators eliminate cross-contamination. Airborne pathogens, such as the flu virus or RSV, will be contained within that room.
By installing a single-packaged unit ventilator, facility managers can control individual zones. Different classrooms may have different needs. If you are using a rooftop unit, those individual needs may not be addressed. One room may require more ventilation than another, and single-packaged units allow facility managers to adjust those rates as needed. This provides maximum comfort for the students in the classroom. With a relatively low installation cost, SPVUs can give K-12 facility managers the necessary flexibility to maintain comfort while creating a healthy environment for students.
Preventive Maintenance for HVAC Units
Ensuring an HVAC unit, whether an SPVU or a rooftop unit, is regularly inspected and serviced is the key to creating long-term comfort. While no HVAC unit is built to last forever, their lives can be extended if they receive regular tender loving care. For K-12 schools, it is encouraged that they sign and utilize maintenance agreements. While facility managers have the ability to operate the unit, having a trained professional ensures the unit maintains maximum efficiency. A trained HVAC technician will clean and vacuum the inside of the unit while also cleaning the external surfaces of the cabinet. In addition, they will check belts and pulleys, the condensate drain line, all electrical and mechanical connections, install new filters and much more. Having these measures performed before and after the school year will help limit breakdowns and repairs when schools are in session.
Providing an Optimal Experience
K-12 schools are an important aspect of our children’s lives. It’s a place where they go to learn, socialize and grow as individuals. They spend the majority of their early years inside those facilities, so it’s important for school leaders to create an atmosphere that provides safe, clean air to breathe. While rooftop units address schoolwide concerns, single-packaged units provide individual classrooms with the necessary ventilation, filtration and dehumidification tools to create a great experience for students daily. In addition, regular maintenance will help ensure these units continue running at maximum levels for many years to come. Help create healthier air by installing a single-packaged unit.
Emily Wright is the business development manager of IAQ for Modine Manufacturing Company. At Modine, we are engineering a cleaner, healthier world. Building on more than 100 years of excellence in thermal management, we provide trusted systems and solutions that improve air quality and conserve natural resources. More than 11,000 employees are at work in every corner of the globe, delivering the solutions our customers need, where they need them. Our Climate Solutions and Performance Technologies segments support our purpose by improving air quality, reducing energy and water consumption, lowering harmful emissions and enabling cleaner running vehicles and environmentally-friendly refrigerants. Modine is a global company headquartered in Racine, Wisconsin (USA), with operations in North America, South America, Europe and Asia.