Concern: Howard High School: May 26th, 2023 (CXHOHS2023000285)

Date of IEQ Report Form
Date of Report
A burning odor was present in N103 (Family and Consumer Science (FACS) classroom).
IEQ Investigation Process

Identify deficiencies that may impact IEQ and/or sources of odor concerns. Typically includes the following depending on the nature of concern, but not limited to:

  • interview/questionnaire of concern individual(s)
  • inspection above drop ceiling (condition of roof deck, pipe insulation, return air plenum)
  • inspection of ventilation system (operation of variable air volume box and outdoor air dampers, check controls, measurements of carbon dioxide, temperature and relative humidity, sources near outdoor air intake, measure return and supply air volume, cleanliness of coils, liner and condensate pan)
  • inspection of exterior
  • inspection below drop ceiling (housekeeping, sink and floor drain traps, signs of past and present moisture concern via visual and/or moisture meter, mold growth, ensure connection of current and capping of abandoned sanitary vents, odorizers, excessive plants and fabric items, identify potential pathways, and measure volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, and lighting)

Date of Assessment: May 24, 25, and 26, 2023

A burning odor was noted within the space. Prior to the Office of the Environment arriving, Building Maintenance had removed and assessed a fan motor and found that the motor was not the cause. The odor was traced to a microwave which was then removed from the space. 

An apparent burning odor was still present in the space. Additionally, a slight odor was present in room N205.

Upon arrival, the windows were open and the exhaust fans for each of the hoods was operating.  

The exhaust fans were turned off and the filters were discarded. 

No evidence of burning or soot was observed. It is unknown if the odor was related to the overheating of microwave components or contents within the microwave.

Two air purifiers with carbon filters were placed in room N103 and two were placed in room N205.

The area nearest where the microwave was present was cleaned by a board-approved restoration contractor to include the cabinets, counters, and a nearby stove.

Building Maintenance (HVAC) operated the HVAC unit that serves the space as well as the exhaust fans for the zone overnight to assist in purging the odor.

The odor was reassessed on May 25, 2023. The odor was still significant in room N103 but was not sensed in Room N205. The air purifiers were removed from N205.

Additional review of Room N103 indicated that even after cleaning, the odor was being emitted from a countertop (below where the microwave was), a cabinet (above where the microwave was), select books within the previously referenced cabinet, and the stove.

The above referenced materials, as well as several of the surrounding materials (precautionary) were removed and discarded on May 25, 2023. The filters in the air purifiers were also changed. The two air purifiers from N205 were added to Room N103.

The block-wall located behind the cabinets/casework was also cleaned and encapsulated following the cabinet removal.

The area was assessed on May 26, 2023. A burning odor was not present the morning of May 26, 2023. The air purifiers were removed.

Corrective Actions
May 25th, 2023

A board-approved restoration contractor, placed air purifers, cleaned and removed impacted materials, and cleaned an encapsulated the block wall.   

Tracking Number