5.10 Air Quality
One of University Housing’s priorities is the health, safety, and comfort of residents.
We place significant importance on the indoor air quality of facilities.
Facilities are equipped with heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems designed to supply quality indoor air.
Effects on Indoor Air Quality
- Poor ventilation or blocked air flow
- Problems controlling temperature or broken thermostats
- High or low humidity levels
- Other activities in or near a building that can affect the fresh air coming into the building.
- Specific contaminants like dust from construction or renovation, mold, cleaning supplies, pesticides, or other airborne chemicals.
Air quality is affected by daily and seasonal environmental changes. It is common to see frequent alerts provided by the National Weather Service reporting elevated pollen, mildew, mold and other allergen and air contaminants that may be problematic for people with heightened sensitivities to changes in air quality.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, there is no practical way to end all mold and fungal spores in an indoor environment. Mold spores' breeze through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When fungal spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin reproducing, creating an environment for mold to form.
To reduce the possibility of spores reproducing, University Housing strives to keep relative humidity indoors at levels at or below 60 percent.
To reduce the potential of mold indoors, when water problems or leaks are found, they should be reported as soon as possible. These include dripping pipes, leaks, floods, and rainwater coming in through windows.
Tips to Prevent Mold
- Keep wet clothing in a sealed container until laundered
- Do laundry regularly
- Dry clothing before storage
In warmer temperatures, keep the windows closed. Open windows allow humidity/moisture levels to rise, condensation to form and creates conditions that allow mold to grow in a resident's room.
Where possible, hang wet towels or robes in the bathroom to dry and keep moisture from migrating into the bedroom.
Always keep the bathroom door closed to keep moisture out of the room. The ventilation system in the bathroom is designed to take moisture out and keep it out of the bedrooms.
Report Suspected Mold
Residents should report any presence of mildew or mold in their room at once by sending a FIX IT work order or by calling the University Housing 24/7 Service Center at 479-575-7005.
For more in-depth information on mold, visit the government's Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Mold Resources.
Blocking the air supply on a fan coil unit or opening windows negatively affects the efficiency of the unit and allows more humidity to build up within the room. Some windows are equipped with switches that turn off the HVAC units within the room altogether when windows are opened to cut potential flooding due to overproduction of condensation and short cycling of units.
Keep the thermostat set at or near 72 degrees. It is best to keep the system running, but if it is too cold, relative humidity will rise and condensation may form.
Keep the thermostat fan setting on “AUTO.” Frequent manipulation of the thermostat negatively affects the efficiency of the fan coil.
Room Temperature Cool to Heat and Heat to Cool
Residents in Adohi, Northwest Quad, Duncan Apartments and Founders have automatic control systems. Residents do not need to make any adjustments to the system.
Residents living in Maples (East, South and West) and Walton Hall may need to change their thermostat from heating to cooling or cooling to heating. This can be done by pushing the up and down arrow buttons until the temperature set point is displayed. While the set point is displayed, push the mode button to change the system.
All other residence halls heating, and cooling systems must be done by campus in fall and spring.
The process of turning heat systems on typically happens in October. This process takes a couple of days to allow hydronics systems to slowly and safely adjust from the 40-degree chill water used for cooling to the 120-degree water used for heating. If a room gets too hot, adjust the thermostat, and do not open a window. Chilly air from the outside makes the thermostat think it needs to provide more heat to the room, creating the opposite effect.
As a reminder, blocking the intake or exhaust vents on the fan coil unit within a room will affect the efficient operation of the system.
The process of turning heat systems off is typically in late March/early April. Residents will begin to feel convection cooling as chilled water flows to fan-powered units. The thermostat runs relatively quietly and will only run when thermostat is calling for cooling.
Should a resident experience any extreme conditions outside the stated range, please contact your coordinator for residence education, our maintenance service center 479-575-7005 or send a FIX It ticket.