Commercial air ducts play a crucial role in maintaining air quality as they are responsible for distributing cooled or heated air throughout your property. This essential component of modern HVAC systems regulates airflow by creating a critical connection between the equipment that releases heated and cooled air and the internal spaces inside the building.
In addition, it is also important to properly seal and insulate the commercial air ducts to prevent leakage. The air loss can significantly increase energy expenses and maintain the heat or coldness of the airflow. When choosing the ductwork material, considering all necessary factors such as size, price, and quality will ultimately help you purchase the right product. These factors are also essential in ensuring that your heating and cooling are consistent and efficient.
Since air ducts serve as a passageway, air contaminants such as bacteria, mold, and viruses can easily contaminate the unit, causing the infected air to circulate into the interior space. It may not seem direct, but the cleanliness of your commercial air ducts can adversely affect your business. Dirty and clogged vents can cause an impact on your business by:
- Higher energy costs
- Poor employee work performance (absenteeism and low productivity)
- Reducing efficiency of HVAC system
- Additional repair costs
- Pest infestation
- Moisture buildup
Understanding the negative impact of poor air quality on your business is critical for its prevention. You can generally prevent these adverse effects by properly maintaining and cleaning your commercial air ducts. But when should you schedule a clean-up, and how often should you have the ducts cleaned?
Air Duct Cleaning
Commercial duct cleaning generally refers to the thorough cleaning of HVAC components. A professional cleaning program can effectively remove dust particles, molds, and other build-ups throughout the entire air system. Aside from servicing visible areas, an effective cleaning team must also pay close attention to all parts of the HVAC system.
Air pollution is a severe risk, and while you cannot isolate the poor indoor air quality to dirty ducts, keeping the system clean provides more benefits than leaving it clogged and dusty. Finding a highly experienced HVAC cleaner and installing duct access doors and panels are essential in ensuring the cleanliness of your air ducts. They can inspect the whole system and make recommendations based on their findings.
Inappropriate installation, lack of service maintenance, and inadequate cleaning of these critical components can make them vulnerable to contamination. For instance, moisture buildup is a sufficient breeding ground for mold. Their spores can transfer to the air passage and be released indoors. These spores can trigger allergic reactions and further deteriorate a weakened lung when exposed.
When to Have Your Commercial Air Ducts Cleaned
Maintaining clean air in your commercial property is crucial in ensuring a stable workflow and increased work productivity. Our knowledge about the benefits of cleaning air ducts is limited since conditions in every building are different. Therefore, the frequency of cleaning will primarily depend on the needs of the building.
As a general rule, experts suggest having the entire ductwork system and air handling unit cleaned annually or whenever these signs of damage or contamination become evident.
- Visible mold and a lingering musty smell
- An excessive amount of dust, no matter how often you clean
- Dust buildup on fixtures and furniture
- Vermin and insect infestation
- Animal droppings
- Rising energy costs
- Your space has undergone a major renovation
- Excessive cold or allergy symptoms
- Uneven air distribution
If you are unsure whether commercial air duct cleaning is necessary, you can always talk to a professional. Start by reaching out to the same company that services your HVAC unit. Many HVAC companies offer cleaning. If they don’t, they can make a good recommendation from their network — research the cleaning company’s reputation, certifications, insurance, and reviews to help you decide.
Things to Expect From an Air Duct Cleaning Service Provider
Just because you will leave the cleaning to the professionals, it would also help understand the cleaning process. Find a team that follows the standardized cleaning methods from the National Air Duct Cleaning Association’s (NADCA) since their procedures ideally establish the proper cleaning of residential and commercial HVAC systems.
Step 1: Inspect the Ducts
An initial inspection of the ducts leading to the return and supply air registers is crucial for two reasons. First, visually inspecting the air tubes using probe cameras allows the cleaners to assess the amount of buildup beforehand and confirm the changes after cleaning the unit.
Second, a professional cleaner understands that inspecting the ducts before doing any work allows them to thoroughly check the system for any damage or leakage. By making a detailed assessment of the commercial ductwork, the team can make proper repair recommendations.
Step 2: Create Negative Pressure
Duct cleaning contractors include efficient portable vacuum collection devices in their cleaning itinerary to safely remove dust from the ductwork. Before performing the task, there are some preliminary steps that technicians must first accomplish:
- Hook the vacuum device’s large hose to the duct closest to the air handler. The technician can accomplish this by cutting an access hole, connecting the vacuum, and closing the connection.
- The next step is to properly seal each air register with an adhesive cover. This step is highly crucial as leaving the registers uncovered can compromise the effectiveness of even the most powerful vacuum system.
After finishing these preliminary steps, the cleaner would create negative pressure using the vacuum unit. This method can successfully siphon contaminated particles and debris from your commercial ductwork.
Step 3: Agitate the Dust
Immediately after setting the ducts under negative pressure, the technician would remove and clean the registers one by one. You can distinguish a NADCA-certified contractor with the time spent on each register.
You can distinguish an inexperienced contractor if they would quickly move on after a short burst of air and a spore of disinfectant. This method is undoubtedly inefficient as the dust will just be blown inside the ductwork.
Licensed technicians will use several tools such as rotating brushes, compressed air tools, and small vacuum cleaners to ensure that the duct is free from dust.
Step 4: Clean The Rest of the System
NADCA’s standardized cleaning methods recommend cleaning the whole HVAC system, including the other components. Maintaining these essential parts, along with cleaning or changing the filter, will significantly improve the air quality inside your property and increase the performance of your commercial HVAC unit.
The Bottom Line
To determine when you should have your commercial air ducts cleaned primarily depends on your ability to identify and distinguish the signs of a dirty ductwork system. Improving air quality throughout your building offers many benefits to the business and, most notably, to the health of your occupants as well. While there are several contributing factors involved in air pollution, proper cleaning of your HVAC system can significantly mitigate the health risks produced by air contaminants.