Preventing Mold and Mildew in Humid Weather

Humidity can cause a number of problems as well as serious health concerns. For building and facility managers, humidity also brings about the threat of mold or mildew.

To keep the indoor air quality of your facility high and to prevent potentially dangerous conditions for personnel and visitors, it’s important to take the proper precautions to prevent mold and mildew in humid weather.

To limit the instance of mold or mildew in your facility, follow these helpful tips.

How Does Humidity Cause Mold and Mildew?

Water is a vital ingredient for mold or mildew to grow. A high relative humidity indicates a high level of moisture in the air. That’s why on hot, humid days the air feels thick or heavy.

When warm, humid air comes in contact with a surface that’s cooler than the surrounding air, condensation can occur. When moisture accumulates on porous surfaces, it can cause mold to form.

That’s why keeping the relative humidity inside your building low is important for preventing mold and mildew.

How to Prevent Mold and Mildew from Forming

Keep Air Cool

Keeping the air inside your building cool is a great way to reduce airborne water vapor. It also makes the building more comfortable for you, your staff, and your visitors. The most common way to fill your building with fresh, cool air is by using an HVAC system or an air conditioning unit.

Increase Airflow

Another benefit of an HVAC system or air conditioner is that, in addition to providing cool air, it helps increase airflow. However, you can also increase the flow of air inside your building by using fans and keeping internal doors open. While this helps to keep fresh air coming into the building and prevents a room from filling with air that’s gone stale, it also makes it more difficult for moisture to accumulate and cause mold or mildew.

Use a Dehumidifier

If you frequently experience a humidity problem in only one area of your building, then it might be more cost-effective to install a dehumidifier in that area than to adjust the entire HVAC system or install multiple fans.

A dehumidifier is a powerful tool that allows you to easily regulate the relative humidity in a room. However, keep in mind that the larger the room, the more air that will need to be processed by the system.

Heat the Floor

While adding heat might seem counterintuitive, it’s actually an effective way to prevent condensation from forming on the floors or walls in below-ground areas or close to the foundation where temperatures are usually much cooler than the outside air.

As you read above, warmer air that comes in contact with cooler surfaces can result in condensation which can lead to mold.

Remove Porous Materials

One of the easiest ways to prevent mold and mildew in humid weather is to remove porous materials. While this might not be practical to execute for your entire building, it may be useful to think about targeting areas that are likely to be exposed to water vapor. One area you might want to target could be by the exterior doorways where humid outside air can enter the building.

Another area that should be free of porous materials is the restroom. High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is a mold- and mildew-resistant material that’s perfect for bathroom partitions and vanities. It can also be used for lockers in lockers rooms, especially if your traditional lockers are growing mold.

To learn more about HDPE solutions and how they can help to prevent mold and mildew in your facility, contact us at Scranton Products today.

The High Cost of Cheap Construction Materials in Your Facility

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When you’re choosing materials for your bathroom, locker room, hallway, or any other part of your facility, it’s easy to cut costs and go with the cheapest, simplest option. However, your facility construction needs to be approached with care and attention to detail to ensure that it’s built to the highest degree and will stand the tests of time.

At Scranton Products, we hate to see facility construction gone wrong due to the inadequacies of commonly chosen materials. To help you build the most durable, long-lasting facility available, we’re here to show you the high cost of cheap construction materials in your facility. Read more

How to Build an Eco-Friendly Building

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As industrialization continues to expand, increasing pressure is placed on businesses to reduce their carbon footprints and become more environmentally conscious. This responsibility has given rise to the eco-friendly building, a design strategy that promotes recycling and sustainability in an attempt to leave a positive impact on the surrounding environment.

Wondering how to build an eco-friendly building and the benefits of eco-friendly building? Check out these five methods that many companies are already using.

Use Wind Power to Make Your Building Eco-Friendly

The great thing about wind is that it costs nothing to manufacture, is abundant, and can provide a renewable energy source for green-focused buildings. By catching the wind’s power, windmills can convert that power into usable energy that can provide your building with electricity. Windmills also help businesses to reduce the production of greenhouse gases.

Turn to Solar Energy

If wind power isn’t a practical option for your building, there’s another renewable energy source that’s been powering the world’s greenest machines for millions of years: the sun.

Similar to how windmills are used to convert wind power into electricity, solar panels allow engineers to convert solar energy from the sun into electrical energy that can be used to power anything from lights to small electronics and even entire buildings.

What’s even better is that a building’s most underused area, the roof, is also the ideal spot to install solar panels. However, if the roof of your building doesn’t get enough sunlight during the day, solar panels can be installed elsewhere and then have the electricity sent to your building.

Recycle Rain Water

Some innovative architects have been able to use rainwater to reduce a building’s need to rely on city water. Collection reservoirs placed on the roof can channel water through filtration systems to help cool the building or to use it to flush the toilets. This same water would otherwise likely pool on the roof or around the building, only to be evaporated by the sun.

By recycling the water in this way, the building can use the rainwater instead of it potentially going to waste.

Turn a Portion of Your Building Green

Dedicating space in your building to promote plant life is a terrific way to build an eco-friendly building. This can be as simple as installing a rooftop garden or as drastic and eye catching as a green wall.

By making your building more hospitable for plants, you’ll help to increase the production of oxygen in the area and also keeping your building cooler, in the case of rooftop vegetation, than a concrete rooftop.

Use Recycled and Sustainable Materials

One of the easiest ways to build an eco-friendly building is to use recycled and sustainable materials during the construction stage. By using recycled concrete, steel, and other materials, your future building is helping to reduce the amount of waste and pollution normally created during the manufacturing stage of these products. You’ll also be reducing the use of non-renewable resources.

High-density polyethylene (HDPE), for example, is one popular material made from recycled materials and is itself recyclable. HDPE is also easy to clean, helping to reduce the need for harmful cleaning products or excessive water. Since the material is colored throughout, no painting or repainting is necessary, helping to improve indoor air quality.

Use one or all of these tactics when building your eco-friendly building.

To learn more about HDPE materials and how to use them within your building, contact us at Scranton Products.

Is Your Public Restroom Federal Regulation Compliant?

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Are your bathrooms compliant with federal and state regulations? It’s a question that facilities across the nation have to ask, and the answer isn’t always so clear. For example, federal regulations require commercial buildings to provide restrooms for employees, while public restroom regulations are left up to the state and local municipalities.

In this post, we review some of the key aspects of restroom compliance policies so you can determine if your public bathroom is up to code.

Understanding Restroom Regulation

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the government agency responsible for regulating bathroom access for employees in the workplace. Their sanitation standards require that all commercial buildings provide adequate bathroom facilities for their employees in an effort to avoid any adverse health effects. The only exception is mobile worksites where transportation to bathrooms must be available.

Meanwhile, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifies that bathrooms must be accessible to employees with disabilities. This means having a door that’s big enough for a wheelchair to fit through, among other amenities.

restroom cleaning checklist

How Many Toilets Should My Public Restroom Have?

According to OSHA, facilities with more than 15 employees must have gender-separated bathrooms. While this rule doesn’t speculate about gender-neutral bathrooms, you’ll need at least two separate facilities. Meanwhile, buildings with fewer than 15 employees require only one unisex bathroom (plus a sink and locking door).

How many employees do you have?

  • 16-35 employees = 2 toilets required
  • 36-55 employees = 3 toilets required
  • 56-80 employees = 4 toilets required
  • 81-110 employees = 5 toilets required
  • 111-150 employees = 6 toilets required
  • 151+ employees = 6 toilets plus 1 additional toilet for every 40 employees over 150

Also important to note is that while urinals are permitted in public restrooms, they don’t count toward the number of required toilets.

Additional Bathroom Requirements

Other OSHA rules specify that every bathroom must have soap, running water, and a hand dryer or towels. Also, the bathroom compartments must have a door and partitions that provide adequate privacy.

How to Bring Your Public Restroom Up to Code

Older buildings might not meet the regulations set by OSHA, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be updated to become compliant with both OSHA and ADA regulations. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the regulations that pertain to your specific building. This information is freely available online. However, a professional contractor should have no problem assessing your facility for compliance.

Once that’s done, you should be able to easily pinpoint what aspects of your facility need to be changed or modified to meet regulations. This could include installing additional toilets, installing sinks or toilet partitions, putting a lock on the door, or adding grab bars.

For more information about updating and renovating your commercial bathroom, download our free eBook The Professional’s Guide to Commercial Bathroom Renovations and Remodels.This resource has tons of useful information to guide you through the renovation process.

The Key to Reducing Restroom Maintenance Costs in Stadiums

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Blueberry Bathroom Partitions

Operational costs can significantly impact the budget for any type of facility but especially for sports stadiums. Frequent heavy use by fans and visitors takes a particularly heavy toll on the restrooms.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways for administrators to keep the cost of both short- and long-term maintenance low. In fact, reducing restroom maintenance costs is simple when planned properly.

Understanding the Trouble Areas

To learn how to reduce the costs of restroom maintenance, it might be best to first understand where most building officials are spending more on maintenance costs. Primarily this is in the repair and replacement of bathroom partitions. The partition, or stall, typically houses a toilet and features a locking door.

The majority of commercial bathrooms features partitions made from steel. This is due partly because steel is easy to manufacture and therefore provides a lower upfront cost to contractors and architects. However, steel needs proper routine maintenance to continue looking and functioning properly.

One major problem that steel has is rust. Rust occurs when metal is subject to oxygen and moisture. With excited sports fans spilling drinks and frantically washing their hands to get back to the big game, it’s not a question of if steel partitions will rust but when.

Another common problem with metal bathroom partitions is denting. The metal panels aren’t solid steel but instead thinner sheets attached to a frame. These thin sheets are easily damaged when treated carelessly. Their smooth surface also creates a perfect area for graffiti or scratching, which can be an eyesore to an otherwise stylish restroom.

To help administrators cut the costs of routine maintenance, they need to consider alternatives to the materials they’re using.

Lowering Maintenance Costs with HDPE

HDPE, or high-density polyethylene, is a type of plastic that can be manufactured into bathroom partitions. This material can also significantly reduce the cost of routine maintenance in stadium restrooms in several ways, the first being its resistance to rust.

It’s also resistant to dents and scratches. Plus designers can choose HDPE partitions in a variety of colors and designs to match the theme of any stadium. They can even be made to resemble the look of traditional steel without the negative drawbacks.

Not only is HDPE resistant to rust, dents, scratches, and corrosion, but it’s also easily washable. Cleaning staff can even use a power washer to clean HDPE partitions, helping to make cleaning the restrooms more efficient.

This is how stadiums with HDPE partitions can spend less on replacing or repairing their restroom partitions and less on cleaning the restrooms as well.

Want to know more about how HDPE bathroom partitions can help to reduce the cost of restroom maintenance in your stadium? Contact Scranton Products today or read our Ameritrade Stadium Case Study to see how this facility reduced their maintenance costs through HDPE bathroom partitions.

The Long-Term Building Management Expense You Shouldn’t Be Paying

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When you’re running a facility, you understand how expensive building management can be and how quickly the costs can add up. Bathroom partitions, lockers and other products can need repair or replacements. Some of these costs are mandatory when you own a building and need to keep it in the best shape possible, but are you wasting money in areas that you shouldn’t be? As a business, it’s always a priority to cut costs when necessary and save wherever you can. Scranton Products can identify these areas and help you reduce your expenses.

New Paint

Metal lockers and bathroom partitions face a lot of wear and tear, constantly being opened and closed day after day. This kind of wear and tear can chip the paint making your facility look unkempt and old. In order to fix this, you’ll get the lockers and partitions repainted. Not only does this require a lot of time, it also requires a lot of paint. Purchasing paint can be costly especially based on how often you’re purchasing it to make your lockers and partitions look like new.

Repairs and Replacements

Wear and tear can be more damaging than just chipped pain – it can require repairs and entire parts may need to be replaced. Think of the locks or lockers on a door, the doors and handles on the door of a bathroom partition. These all must be working properly and if they’re not, it costs money to get them repaired or replaced.

Maintenance Workers

In addition to the paint, replacement pieces, and other products it takes to keep your lockers and partitions working correctly and looking great, you’ll need to rely on workers who can get the job done. You’ll need to pay painters to cover the chips and you’ll also need a handy person to install new pieces or repair damages products. There are also times when your facilities need to be cleaned. In schools and bathrooms, it’s not uncommon for lockers and bathroom partitions to get covered in graffiti, markers, stickers or other unwelcomed items. Depending on the material of your products, it could be nearly impossible to make sure the items are removed properly. Hiring a staff of professionals to get the job done is costly.

Scranton Products

The solution to this problem is to invest in quality product materials that do not need frequent maintenance. Scranton Products are made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE). This material provides one of the longest life cycles in the industry and is made with one solid color throughout. This solid color ensures that there won’t be any paint chips so you won’t have to save on money and materials for paint. HDPE also allows graffiti to be cleaned off of it easier, eliminated the time and money you’ll spend on removing unwanted marks. It also holds up against dents and damages and has a resistance to impact that’s 59 times greater when compared to metal. Installing Scranton Products in your facility will reduce the extra building management expenses that you shouldn’t be paying. Click here to find out where to buy Scranton Products.

5 Questions You Should Ask When Shopping for School Lockers

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When you’re shopping for school lockers for your facility, you want to be sure you’re choosing a durable material that can withstand the impact of students unloading their books, gym clothes, sports gear and other belongings. There are many different factors to consider when shopping for lockers for your school. Read on to find out the five questions you should be asking.

school locker room

1. How durable is the material?

School lockers face a lot of harsh wear and tear daily, so it’s important to choose lockers that are made of a durable material that can withstand this use.

The traditional option for hallway lockers is metal but they can come with a lot of drawbacks. They’re prone to dents with minimal impact which can compromise the aesthetics of the lockers and will end up costing a lot of money for repairs and replacement.

A impact test was conducted following ASTM standards that showed Duralife Lockers had 59 times greater resistance to impacts when compared to metal lockers.

2. How much maintenance do they require?

Constantly having to perform maintenance on your school lockers will become expensive in the long wrong. You want to be sure that the lockers you’re choosing are low maintenance to save you from this cost.

Traditional metal lockers have a lower initial cost than plastic lockers, making them an economical choice for schools. However, there are hidden costs such as additional expenses associated with cleaning, painting and the general maintenance of these lockers on an annual or semi-annual basis which may be overlooked.

By comparing the true cost of a traditional metal hallway locker to a Duralife HDPE locker over a 20 year period a study was done to take into account the initial cost, maintenance, dent and scratch repair, painting cost, graffiti removal and replacing damaged and corroded parts to create a cost of ownership model. Within 2 years, Duralife HDPE lockers are less expensive than metal. In 20 years, the accumulated savings are substantial.

3. How much noise do they produce?

 The noisy clanging that comes from shutting a metal locker can be distracting as it rings throughout the hallways, so look for an option where the sound is muffled.

Duralife Lockers are 3 times quieter than metal lockers and reduce noise in the hallway. This eliminates distractions from the hallways and leads to a better learning environment.  The difference between that is a metal locker noise would be equivalent to an alarm clock 2 feet away where the Duralife locker noise is considered similar to that created by a washing machine.

4. Are the lockers made of sustainable material?

Some major traditional metal locker brands do not meet the strictest standards for air quality and sustainability. These products are not Greenguard Certified. The Greenguard Certification Program gives assurance that products designed for use in indoor spaces meet strict chemical emissions limits. This contributes to the creation of healthy interiors.

Duralife Lockers are Greenguard Gold Certified and meet the strict criteria for products intended for use in schools, as well as other environments where children spend a lot of time. With Duralife Lockers, you can be confident that the lockers are not having a negative effect on your school’s air quality.

5. Are the lockers visually appealing?

It’s also important that the lockers are aesthetically appealing in your facility. You want people to come into your school and see it as a respectable environment. DuraLife Lockers have appealing vents throughout and a clean-looking surface. There are also built in handles and combination locks that are recessed to improve student safety.

To learn more about Scranton Products’ DuraLife Lockers download our free eBook, The Ultimate Guide to HDPE Plastic Lockers for Schools.

Providing a Safer Gym Locker Against Bacteria

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New strains of MRSA, a drug-resistant bacteria, are emerging nationwide, causing hundreds of thousands of infections annually according to federal data, reports and academic studies. Though cases once were confined to hospitals, they are now showing up regularly in schools and gym locker rooms. Read more

10 Things School Facility Managers Should Take Care of During Winter Break

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year during winter break. The students get a nice vacation from their studies during the holidays. As for the school facility manager, you get to play catch up, thanks to the empty halls and classrooms. Even though the students use this time to relax, sleep in, and get together with friends and family, you need to use this time wisely to make sure everything is in order for the remainder of the winter months.

Here’s 10 things school facility managers should take care of during winter break to make sure their school is in tip-top shape.

Maintain Your HVAC System

Heat is crucial during the frigid winter months, so you’ll need to perform a few audits to make sure everything iscare and maintenace functioning at its best. Look for any components that may need a replacement, so you can take care of it during the break. Any type of issue that can prevent your school from being heated may actually prolong winter break, so be sure to keep the system in great shape.

Winterize Your School to Retain Heat

While properly maintaining your HVAC system is a crucial step on the winter break checklist, you’ll also want to be sure you’re not wasting any heat. Find any weak areas that result in your school losing heat and energy. You’ll want to air seal these areas, so your school doesn’t suffer from drafty rooms or areas that can’t retain heat.

Inspect Your Pipes

Winter brings the cold, and if your school isn’t properly heated, this can cause more problems than just frigid temperatures. If your school suffers from the cold, or loses power, this can have a huge effect on your pipes. These pipes can freeze and burst, so you’ll want to be sure that not only are they in great shape, but they’re getting enough heat to remain at any optimal temperature.

Perform a Test of Your Generator

Due to the snow and ice buildup on tree branches, they can often buckle and break under the tremendous weight and the brisk temperatures, which can be troublesome if there are any nearby powerlines. If you lose power, which is a significant certainty during the winter, you’ll be relying on your backup generator to make sure your school remains at an acceptable temperature, so your pipes don’t freeze and any electronics don’t suffer.

Replace Faulty or Broken Components

On day one of winter break, you’ll want to perform an inspection of your school and its various fixtures and

The doors and fixed panels used in the Eclipse partition system provide both high design and privacy. Here we show how to ensure proper gapping and consistency on all panels and doors in order to achieve the desired sleek lines.

components. This can include lights, water fountains, electrical outlets, or even radiators. Check each of these components to make sure they’re working, or if they need to be replaced before the students and teachers come back to resume the school year.

Inspect the Roof

During the winter, the roof of your school takes quite a beating from the snow, rain, and ice, especially if your roof is flat and doesn’t have any slopes or angles that can help combat the elements. You can work to remove any of the snow and ice build-up with a shovel or rock salt, but you’ll also want to look for any issues or problems that could affect the integrity of your roof. Be sure your drain pipes are free of debris and caulk any noticeable cracks.

Clear the Snow & Ice

Depending on how hard the weather hits your area, this may be a continuous process during winter break. You’ll want to clear the parking lots and designate the snow piles to areas out of the way. Clear the walkways and paths to your school’s entrances, and salt the ground to help reduce any ice buildup.

Invest in New Floor Mats

The floors in your school can take quite a beating during the winter, with students tracking in clumps of snow and even rock salt from the walkways. You’ll want to get some heavy-duty floor mats for the entryways to help reduce the snowy debris from damaging your floors. For the best results, place heavy-duty floor mats outside the entrances to pick up most of the snow and salt, which will reduce the amount actually making it into the school.

Start a Germ & Bacteria Removal Plan

School absences and sickness are rampant during the winter, so one of the best ways to combat this is by focusing on areas with considerable germ and bacteria buildup. The most susceptible areas are the restrooms and the locker rooms. A thorough cleaning can do the trick; however, if there is mold within the components, like your partitions, you may need to find a suitable replacement. HDPE plastic partitions can drastically reduce sickness because they don’t absorb moisture and won’t sprout mold.

Get Your Painting Done

Due to the lack of students filling the hallways and classrooms, now’s the time to get some painting done. If there are components or features in your school that are starting to fade in color, or if they’re chipping, you can get the painting done without having to worry about the VOC emissions affecting student health. Be sure to do this early in the break, so the paint can be dry, ensuring your school is free of the paint smells by the time students and teachers return. You can even invest in HDPE lockers to help avoid any locker painting in the future.

Use your winter break wisely and get these crucial services completed, so you can avoid any major problems that occur throughout the winter.

Want some more tips and tricks on most effective facility maintenance methods? Download this free eBook, The Ultimate Guide for Facility Maintenance & Property Solutions, from your friends at Scranton Products.

 

 

HDPE vs. Metal: Which Material Comes Out on Top?

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When you’re searching for products for your facility, one of the most important factors to consider is material. The material of your products makes all the difference when it comes to durability, sustainability and aesthetics. You also want to make sure that you’re purchasing materials that will hold up over time Some popular materials include high density polyethylene (HDPE) and metal. If you’re torn between the two or you’re just looking for more information, keep reading to find out which material is the better option based on what matters most to you.

Pleasing Aesthetics

You want to make sure that the products in your facility add to your building, or blend in, rather than standing out and looking unsightly. Traditional metal lockers have vents and handles that protrude from the surface, which is not aesthetically pleasing. These protruding elements may also lead to bumps and scrapes and reduce safety in the facility. HDPE plastic lockers have vents built into the surface with recessed handles and locks for a smooth, clean look. The recessed handles and locks help to improve safety by eliminating the risk of bumps and scrapes.

Damage Resistant

Overall, HDPE plastic holds up better than metal against damages such as impacts, scratches and even graffiti.

  • Impact: Traditional lockers are made from 16 gauge steel which makes the material less than 1/16 of an inch thick. HDPE plastic lockers are made of rigid 1/2 inch thick rigid HDPE plastic which makes them 59 times stronger, which means that plastic lockers are more resistant to impacts and dents than traditional metal lockers.
  • Scratches: Scratches are also commonly seen on metal lockers which expose the metal underneath the paint. This requires paint to cover up or complete replacement. However, HDPE plastic lockers are one solid color throughout. You won’t have to spend time and money covering scratches or chips in the paint.
  • Graffiti: If you have to deal with graffiti in your facility, you’ll want to choose a material that can easily be cleaned. Markers can be very difficult to remove from metal lockers, and could even leave behind residue, but because HDPE is easy to clean, graffiti readily wipes off of the plastic’s non-porous surface. Stickers and contact paper can also be easily removed.

Maintenance

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Choosing locker materials that constantly need to be repaired, replaced or cleaned gets costly. While budget is always an important factor in choosing materials, it’s crucial to understand that products that are the least expensive initially could end up costing you in the future. Traditional metal lockers have a low initial cost, making them a top choice for facilities. However, additional expenses for these lockers, such as cleaning, painting and general maintenance will add up. The initial cost of metal lockers is lower than HDPE plastic, but HDPE plastic is less expensive over time. If you’re considering installing lockers or bathroom partitions into your facility, consider HDPE plastic over metal lockers for durable and sustainable products. Click here to find out where to buy Scranton Products.