Back to School Basics: Best Practices for HVAC System Start-Up Procedures

LEAF Engineers has developed this checklist as a document to provide operations, and maintenance strategies to help in the fight against COVID-19 and other respiratory infections and offer practical application advice considering recent CDC and other national publications by health experts. Indoor environmental conditions, especially those directly affected by mechanical ventilation, are extremely critical for healthy indoor environmental quality:

  Ensure all fresh air dampers serving all air handling units and systems are modulating properly and, where possible, opening to the 100% design outside air position (the maximum fresh air the unit is capable of safely providing) whenever air handling unit is running*

  Ensure all system air filters are changed with fitted and minimum MERV 8, or as designed, rated replacement filters at their designated monthly expiration date

  Inspect air systems equipped with ultra-violet light emitters and replace any inoperable units

  Inspect cooling coils and drain pans for cleanliness and continuous drainage of condensate, correct deficiencies

  For buildings that have not been recently fully occupied perform flush out by operating HVAC system continuously for 24 hours prior to reopening

  After reopening, modify daily building schedules to extend run time 2-4 hours prior to staff/faculty arrival each day

* Care must be taken not to apply existing cooling coils beyond their ability to properly dehumidify; excess outside air can lead to uncontrollable indoor humidity levels which impact temperature/relative humidity comfort conditions necessary for learning/teaching and can inadvertently promote mold growth