Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 5: Facilities, Supplies, Equipment, and Environmental Health

5.2 Quality of the Outdoor and Indoor Environment

5.2.1 Ventilation, Heating, Cooling, and Hot Water Indoor Temperature and Humidity

A draft-free temperature of 68°F to 75°F should be maintained at thirty to fifty percent relative humidity during the winter months. A draft-free temperature of 74°F to 82°F should be maintained at thirty to fifty percent relative humidity during the summer months (1,2). All rooms that children use should be heated and cooled to maintain the required temperatures and humidity.
These requirements are based on the standards of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), which take both comfort and health into consideration (1,2). High humidity can promote growth of mold, mildew, and other biological agents that can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation and may trigger asthma episodes in people with asthma (3). These precautions are essential to the health and well-being of both the staff and the children. When planning construction of a facility, it is healthier to build windows that open. Some people need filtered air that helps control pollen and other airborne pollutants found in raw outdoor air.
Simple and inexpensive devices that measure the ambient relative humidity indoors may be purchased in hardware stores or toy stores that specialize in science products. The ASHRAE Website ( has a list of membership chapters, and membership criteria that help to establish expertise on which caregivers/teachers could rely in selecting a contractor.
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Heating and Ventilation Equipment Inspection and Maintenance
  1. American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers, American Institute of Architects, Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, U.S. Green Building Council, U.S. Department of Energy. 2008. Advanced energy design guide for K-12 school buildings, 148. Atlanta, GA: ASHRAE.
  2. American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). 2007. Standard 55-2007: Thermal conditions for human occupancy. Atlanta: ASHRAE.
  3. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 2008. Care for your air: A guide to indoor air quality. Washington, DC: EPA.