When times get tight, preventive maintenance seems like a pipe dream. For cash-strapped school districts, school deferred maintenance becomes the status quo. However, the dangers posed by the ongoing pandemic force many administrators to confront the aging mechanical system in their buildings. The good news is the billions of dollars available from the federal government for improvements to indoor air quality. Funds come from the Cares Act, the Coronavirus Relief Supplemental Act, the American Rescue Plan, and also the Infrastructure Bill.
All around the U.S. cities and states have stepped in to help administrators address school deferred maintenance. For example, the Detroit Public Schools Community District is using $700 million of its federal COVID funding to focus on its school buildings. Nearly $300 million of those funds are earmarked for building renovations including HVAC equipment. Schools in Idaho, New Hampshire, Maryland, Rhode Island, and New Jersey proposed similar funding strategies.
With a focus on addressing school deferred maintenance, schools improve indoor air quality as a result. This prevents the spread of viruses, of course, but cleaner air also improves cognitive performance. Students test better when provided with cleaner air. The health of students and staff is critical, however, improving the efficiency of HVAC systems yields other benefits as well.
The True Cost of School Deferred Maintenance
School deferred maintenance occurs for legitimate reasons in many cases. Sometimes the money is not there. It leads school administrators and facilities managers to devise short-term solutions to long-term problems. The reality is that deferred maintenance increases operating costs over the long term. Outdated equipment works harder with diminishing returns. Costly repair costs outweigh regularly scheduled maintenance costs. Energy costs also rise. The bottom line: prevention is cheaper than a cure.
Addressing HVAC System Maintenance
With the federal funds available to improve infrastructure, now is the time to address school deferred maintenance issues in a cost-effective way. Pure Air Control Services provides the systems and methods to help school districts save on their capital expenditure and operational expenditures budgets. These services also help upcycle existing equipment to lower operating costs and reduce a facility’s carbon footprint.
HVAC New Life
Our HVAC New Life Restoration service includes several upgrades to the HVAC system. For example, the ECM Fan Array Retrofit option includes a Q-PAC™ Fan Array that improves efficiency. Other options include the replacement of the outside air dampers, belts, motors, compressors, and controls. The HVAC New Life system also uses engineered solutions such as the PURE-Steam method to destroy pathogens while our PURE-Coat refinishing service protects the AHU from severe exposure. PURE-Decon disinfects the HVAC system using EPA-certified electrostatic DEP sprayers. PURE-Liner 2.0 refinishes the drain pan, while PURE-Cell replaces old fiberglass insulation with a zero-porosity, fiberglass-free material that repels moisture and stops microbial growth. These methods help managers switch from school deferred maintenance to proactive solutions.
HVAC Hygiene Assessment
Testing is a critical part of addressing possible threats to indoor air quality. Our HVAC Hygiene Assessment is a series of visual inspections and sample testing of HVAC systems. The testing of samples taken from within the air handling unit helps our environmental lab gauge the impact of the system on the building. This process also detects the presence and quantities of bacteria and fungi. The assessment helps pinpoint potential issues and prevents them from developing into costly problems. A detailed report provides data on airflow and energy efficiency, duct leakage, building airtightness, and more. It’s an important part of school deferred maintenance.
Many times deferred school maintenance occurs due to budget shortfalls. However, some preventive measures require little more than time. For example, keeping a detailed inventory of the HVAC system gives building managers valuable insight. Keeping a record of the age and history of the equipment keeps them on track with cleaning and routine maintenance. It helps managers plan for restoration, upgrades, and replacement.
Choose Action Over School Deferred Maintenance
Don’t let a deferred school maintenance backlog stop you from improving IAQ in your buildings. Federal funds are available to make repairs and upgrades but also to put a prevention plan in place so big-ticket items don’t pop up unexpectedly. For more information on improving the HVAC systems in your buildings, call 1-800-422-7873 or contact us here.