5 steps to ensure your air ducts are properly cleaned

If you’re having issues with your airflow or a buildup of debris in your air ducts, it’s probably time to get them cleaned. Air duct cleaning can be a hazardous process, so it’s important the right methods and equipment are used to ensure your system is cleaned efficiently and properly. Follow these 5 steps:

1. Ensure that your system is placed under continuous negative pressure


Large HEPA-filtered vacuum collectors (around 2500 CFM) are hooked up at the end of the area to be cleaned and place the system under negative pressure. This ensures that dust and other debris is drawn down the ductwork in the direction of air flow and collected in these large collection vacuums. By placing the system under negative pressure, you ensure that loosened dust or debris disturbed from cleaning is removed from the system and not distributed into occupied areas.


2. Ensure that the contractor you choose has experience working in facilities similar to yours


If you choose to use a contractor for this process, make sure that the contractor you’re working with is a member of NADCA and uses proper cleaning techniques. Every facility is different, so choosing a contractor that has experience cleaning in similar facilities, is a good way to ensure their credibility. For example, in healthcare, it’s important to ask whether the contractors have experience working in ICUs, surgical suites, and working around patient and facility schedules.


3. Ensure that proper dust containment and/or infection control procedures are followed


Air duct cleaning can be difficult for the inexperienced. Dust often carries biological contaminants that can be harmful for some people. Containing the work area and providing filtering at the registers will ensure that no dust or harmful contaminants from inside the air ducts is accidentally blown into occupied areas. Mobile containment units are used to make certain dust and air is filtered before being released into the surrounding areas. Highly sensitive areas, such as surgical suites, ICUs or laboratories, require more advanced containment methods.

4. Make sure no excessive liquid or chemicals are used


Although some areas of the HVAC system, such as coils, often require washing and cleaning, you should never use liquid cleaners inside ductwork or any other HVAC system components that is absorbent. Any moisture left in the ducts can become a refuge for mold and fungus to grow. NADCA highly recommends that if the HVAC system does require wet process cleaning make sure cleaning is done in accordance with federal, state and local regulations.


5. Insist upon before and after photo documentation


To make sure your air ducts were cleaned completely, it never hurts to ask for before and after photo documentation. This way you have evidence that the money you spent cleaning your air ducts was worth it, and the technicians did their job right. Spot checking at random locations after cleaning is also a good way to verify consistent and thorough cleaning.

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