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Moisture Control Plan

Introduction

The Departments of Resident Life, Fraternity & Sorority Life, and Residential Facilities are looking forward to the year ahead, and to welcoming summer guests and new and returning Terps to campus in the fall. 
 
When our area experienced record-breaking heat, rain, and humidity during the fall of 2018, we saw a significant increase in reports of mold in our residence halls and our 21 University-owned fraternity and sorority chapter houses. To address the problem, we took actions including relocating some residents for a short period of time to local hotels during remediation, hiring independent contractors to assist in the remediation efforts, reviewing our processes and procedures for remediation, inspecting and approving rooms for re-occupancy and identifying the root causes of the mold issue. Based on the recommendations of our consultants, we developed a multi-faceted approach to ensure moisture control and dehumidification in our residence halls and University-owned fraternity and sorority chapter houses moving forward. 
 
Our staff have assessed and evaluated approximately 2.2 million square feet of residential living space, 38 residence halls, and 21 University-owned fraternity and sorority chapter houses to develop a comprehensive plan to address moisture control. Based on the facility evaluations and recommendations from consultants, over 100 projects in 19 residence halls and 11 fraternity and sorority chapter houses were identified for implementation and are scheduled to be completed by fall 2019.

Moisture Control Plan

The safety, health, and well-being of each and every resident is a matter of utmost concern for the Departments of Resident Life, Fraternity & Sorority Life, and Residential Facilities at the University of Maryland.  Our comprehensive Moisture Control Plan to address high humidity that may occur in the future is tailored to each affected residence hall or chapter house. Highlights of the plan include:
  • Over 100 projects in 19 residence halls and 11 University-owned fraternity and sorority chapter houses were identified for implementation of the moisture control plan and are scheduled to be completed by fall 2019. Several permanent solutions and short-term measures will be expedited, based on each building’s specific technical needs.
  • Short-term measures include equipment or infrastructure that will remain in place until the building is renovated as per the On-Campus Housing Strategic Plan, such as window replacements, dehumidifiers and piping insulation.
  • Permanent solutions include equipment or infrastructure installed for the life of the system, such as roof replacements, HVAC upgrades and foundation waterproofing.
  • Portable dehumidifiers will be installed in 16 air-conditioned residence halls and 8 University-owned fraternity and sorority chapter houses. Please view 'Project Updates' section of this site to learn more about the tailored projects for these halls. 
  • Humidity sensors will be placed in Elkton and Bel Air Hall as part of a pilot program to help proactively monitor temperature and humidity. The sensors take humidity and temperature readings and that data is transmitted wirelessly to Residential Facilities staff to monitor.

Project Updates

The Department of Residential Facilities' plan to address moisture control in the residence halls includes over 100 projects in 19 residence halls and 11 University-owned fraternity and sorority chapter houses. These projects began in spring 2019 and are scheduled to be completed by Fall 2019. For the most up-to-date information about our past and upcoming work, please click here.

Current Initiatives

The Departments of Resident Life, Fraternity & Sorority Life, and Residential Facilities are committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for our students, families, and visitors, and to ensuring our buildings are ready for occupancy.
 
In addition to the multitude of moisture control projects underway, we are implementing extensive training for Residential Facilities staff at all levels to recognize and identify potential mold. Staff continue to proactively look for mold when cleaning and performing other daily duties and work to address any potential mold issues as soon as they are observed and/or reported. An enhanced standard operating procedure for identifying and inspecting mold will include safety awareness and technical training and expanded training for specialists. Processes will be modified to track inspections and high priority cases.
 
Staff will conduct inspections throughout the year in all buildings, to look for moisture control issues.
 
We are also creating an educational campaign to partner with our residents to help prevent mold and mildew and to educate them on the equipment installed in their rooms. Upon arrival this fall, students will see a variety of messages throughout the residence halls, the 21 University-owned fraternity and sorority chapter houses, and within their rooms and be reminded to report issues immediately to the Residential Facilities 24/7 Service Center by calling 301.314.9675.
 

How residents can help

  • Close windows when the air conditioning is on. This keeps humidity out, helps prevent mold and mildew, and lets your A/C unit work properly.
  • Keep furniture and personal belongings at least 12” (1 floor tile) away from the front, top, and sides of the heating/air conditioning units in your room. Blocking the unit prevents it from circulating air in the room and heating or cooling your room effectively.
  • Use your dehumidifier properly, if you have one in your room (see Dehumidifier Guide below)
  • Wipe off condensation if noticed on the air conditioning unit.
  • Hang wet clothing and towels to dry properly.
  • Report issues immediately to the Residential Facilities 24/7 Service Center at 301.314.9675.
 
Typical Portable Dehumidifier Installed in Selected Residence Hall Bedrooms
 

Actions and Communications Fall 2018

As of October 10, 2018, mold remediation efforts in our residence halls were complete and all Elkton Hall students were back in their rooms. The Department of Residential Facilities continued to respond individually to isolated reports of mold. Additional information about this issue and the university’s subsequent actions can be found here.

Additional Resources

Dehumidifier Guide

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