HVAC restoration & air duct cleaning: fact or fiction?

Air duct cleaning has been known to enhance HVAC efficiency, provide energy savings, money savings and reduce HAIs by improving indoor air quality. There are a lot of “facts” circulating about HVAC restoration and air duct cleaning. They include how to efficiently clean air ducts, what to look for in a contractor, what cleaning and restoration actually accomplishes and more. Can you guess if the following statements are fact or fiction?

Hospitals can create up to 40% energy savings by running efficient and clean HVAC systems.

Fact. “With the right peak performance strategy and technologies, it is possible to cut HVAC and central plant energy use by as much as 40%. As case in point, one of the nation’s largest public healthcare systems, Broward Health Medical Center (BHMC), registered savings of $311,000 in just one year, including more than $30,000 in a single month” Read more at here

NADCA recommends cleaning your air ducts annually.

Fiction. NADCA suggests that all components of HVAC systems in hospitals be inspected annually. They also suggest that in commercial buildings, as a minimum, the air handling unit be inspected annually and the supply and return ductwork be inspected every two years. Cleaning should only take place if the inspection shows it needs to.

Hospital executives are upgrading or replacing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems as a key component to producing significant energy improvements.

Fact. On a 2011 Hospital Energy Management Survey, organizations indicated they are seeking savings through tried-and-true methods. 37 percent of hospital executives said they are focusing on HVAC/air handling improvements in order to produce savings. Check out the survey results here.

Your building can save up to $40,000 a year just from restoring one air handling unit.

Fact. Recently, a study was presented by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) of coil cleaning on energy costs. The cleaning of one air handling unit was predicted to lead to energy savings of up to $40,000 a year. Read more about ASHRAE’s findings here.

Air duct cleaning can be performed safely and efficiently by anyone with a common knowledge of air ducts and cleaning procedures.

Fiction. It’s important to choose a company that is National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) certified with an Air Cleaning Specialist on staff. They have the specific equipment (containment units, HEPA collection devices) and are trained to use proper infection control methods and clean your system without worsening indoor air quality. You can find a list of certified contractors here.

Air duct cleaning practices can actually cause or create air quality complaints.

Fact. If you choose a contractor that doesn’t use the appropriate methods, post-cleaning levels of contaminants can be higher than pre-cleaning levels. It’s important to choose a duct contractor that is NADCA certified. All members must have a certified Air Cleaning Specialist on staff, who have passed the NADCA Certification Examination

Air duct cleaning can only provide up to 5% in energy savings.

Fiction. A research project by NADCA found that cleaning even just a lightly fouled system provides, on average, an 11 percent savings. Cleaning heavily-fouled systems is expected to produce an even greater savings. Check out the research project here.

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