Why Cleaning Your Air Ducts Is Essential for Health and Safety

January 19 2021

Why Cleaning Your Air Ducts Is Essential for Health and Safety

Taking a deep breath of fresh air is often taken for granted and can go unnoticed. However, air ducts in a building can deliver less than fresh, clean air if not maintained properly.

As time goes by, harmful dust, dirt, mold, chemicals, and other contaminants can develop in the HVAC air filters and build up in the system. These contaminants can compromise the quality of the air inside the building, leading to respiratory infections, allergies, and serious illness. On top of removing these everyday contaminants, stopping the spread of the cold and flu viruses, and even the COVID-19 virus are also critical reasons to regularly clean your HVAC air ducts.

Cleaning your building's air ducts is an essential step in ensuring that the air occupants breathe inside your building is high quality, and free of irritants and germs.

The Health Hazards of Contaminated Air

Air quality is essential to good health. When a building has contaminants in the HVAC system, every inhabitant is at risk of negative health effects. Providing quality air to building inhabitants and tenants is as much a critical responsibility for a building manager or owner as providing necessary repairs or hot water.

Many aspects of a building inhabitant's health could be negatively impacted by poor air quality.

  • Allergies - Having excessive dust, chemicals, and even mold blowing through your air ducts can wreak havoc on someone's allergies. Continued breathing of these irritants for long periods may leave those who live or work in the building constantly suffering from allergy symptoms.
  • Cold and Flu - Viruses and pathogens expelled through particulates can stay in the air for minutes or even hours, making it easy to pass the illness between co-workers and visitors in the building through air circulation systems if these systems are not cleaned.
  • SARS-CoV-2 - The strain of coronavirus that causes COVID-19 circulates through particulates in the air, as well. According to The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), efforts in filtration and purification of your HVAC system can vastly reduce the transmission of the virus. Protecting building inhabitants from a major outbreak is absolutely necessary to provide a safe environment, as well as mitigating the chances of incurring costly decontamination and cleaning fees in the future.

As employees and building tenants return to office spaces, cleaning HVAC air ducts is even more essential. Many building managers lessened or even nearly eliminated HVAC services while buildings were vacant, allowing dust, mold, and contaminants to settle and grow over that period of time. If these systems are not properly cleaned before they are turned back on, those contaminants will be pumped through the system and spread throughout the building.

The National Air Duct Cleaners Association recommends meeting with an HVAC expert before building reopening buildings, and establishing a plan of action to neutralize any harmful buildup.

Maintaining Efficient HVAC Systems

Contaminants in your HVAC system don't only adversely affect people’s health, but also the efficiency of your airflow. Dust, mold, and contaminants that buildup in a building’s air ducts can block airflow, leading to more contaminants in the system as the overall efficiency of the system decreases.

Not only will this affect how much clean air is circulating through the HVAC system, but it also will drastically affect the building’s air conditioners and heaters. HVAC systems are designed for efficient airflow by filtering pollutants or contaminants out of the air that passes through them, delivering climate-controlled fresh air throughout the building. Buildup in the system requires equipment to work harder, increasing strain on them and decreasing their energy efficiency.

Cleaning HVAC Air Ducts in Your Building

An HVAC professional can evaluate your system and design a routine cleaning schedule based on your building’s needs. Cleaning air ducts yourself or with in-house personnel is often a tall order for even the most experienced of maintenance staff. A certified HVAC professional has all the necessary tools and can more effectively accomplish the task and in much less time than an inexperienced worker.

During the pandemic, many people have taken great care to social distance, wash their hands, and wear masks to protect those around them. Unfortunately, if the air in your building is working against you due to dirty HVAC systems and air ducts, the effectiveness of those tools can be severely limited. Providing clean, fresh air is always imperative in a building for the happiness, convenience, and health of its inhabitants, but in our current state, it is also necessary for safety.

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