Clean air ducts mean healthier building occupants
How clean are your air ducts in your facility and why does it matter? Clean working environments and quality indoor air maintenance are essential to the health of building occupants. Indoor air contaminants and pollution caused by dirty or blocked air ducts can create harmful side effects.

What contaminants are most commonly found?

Dead human skill cells, mold, dust mites, rodents, rodent’s fecal matter and pollen are just some of the things on the list.

How can dirty air ducts affect health?

Maintaining clean air in your facility is necessary for the well-being of occupants, patients, and employees alike. Ductwork can become contaminated with dust, mold and other unhygienic matter that has the ability to build up and become a breeding ground for mold spores and act as a reservoir for microbial growth. As air flows from the air duct into the room, these contaminants have the ability to travel into occupied areas.

Are there bigger risks in more sensitive environments?

Clean air ducts are especially important in more sensitive environments such as surgical suites and ICUs in hospitals, where microbial contamination and harmful pathogens are more easily collected and housed. Patients with compromised immune systems are highly susceptible to increases in illness due to poor air quality, so it’s important to make sure you’re regularly checking your air ducts to ensure there is no excessive build up. There also needs to be particular considerations taken in special use areas which include facilities with clean rooms, laboratories, or areas with specific requirements for infection control.

What are some of the actual risks?

“Sick building syndrome” (SBS) is used to describe building occupants who experience acute health and comfort effects (exacerbation of asthma, conjuctival inflammation, fatigue, persistent cough, etc.) linked to time spent in a building. What are the cited causes for SBS? They include inadequate ventilation due to HVAC systems not effectively distributing air, chemical contaminants from outdoor sources flowing into the building as well as bacteria, molds, pollen and viruses that may breed in stagnant water that’s accumulated in ducts.

What are some of the steps to prevent these risks?

According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) routine maintenance of HVAC systems including periodic cleaning and replacement of filters helps to reduce the risk of SBS. Both EPA and NADCA insist that when hiring someone to clean your ducts, it’s important to make sure they are qualified and know what they’re doing. Hiring an inexperienced contractor can actually worsen conditions by kicking up particles and damaging the HVAC system. Choosing professionals that follow NADCA standards and are members of NADCA will ensure they follow strict infection control procedures and can clean your air ducts correctly and thoroughly.

Need help cleaning your air ducts? Learn more about Prevent’s duct cleaning services.
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