New York City Commercial Air Duct Cleaning

Air Quality in the OfficeAny building in New York City that lacks proper ventilation can easily become the source of a wide range of dangerous and costly problems. Most of the times, the lack of or improper cleaning of the AC, ventilation and heating unit poses a high risks to people inside the building, since it’s only a matter of time until bacteria, mold and dust begin to form. In any building where there’s little to no ventilation, the chances of these contaminants to spread are high and they can wreak havoc on the health of employees. Most of the times, the building owners have poor excuses for not maintaining the ventilation system properly, while others claim it’s too expensive and time consuming.

But as a business owner, you should know that a badly ventilated environment can only negatively affect your employees’ performance. According to the EPA, if the heating and cooling coils of your HVAC gather enough dust and contaminants, not only can these severely reduce its performance, but also pose severe health risks to everyone in the building. As an employer, you probably know that paying sick days is not good for the marketing company in new york.

A second issue you should worry about is the amount of electricity faulty or improperly maintained HVAC systems use. The US Department of Energy released a report in which it was clearly stated that a poorly maintained HVAC system uses between 25% and up to 40% more electricity than one in perfect working order. On top of that, since it’s forced to function for longer hours and at higher capacity, its lifespan is greatly reduced. Don’t be surprised if you do have to change it later on, since that’s what happens to most badly maintained HVAC systems: they fail completely.

Air Duct Cleaning NYIf you want to ensure that won’t be the case with yours and that it’s also not going to cause various respiratory problems to anyone within the building, you’d better get in touch with a certified and professional commercial air duct cleaning service. The professionals at Better Air Quality are fully trained and experienced in HVAC maintenance and therefore it’s recommended you contact them right away if your unit needs urgent repairs.

BAQ is very dedicated to making sure the air quality in your commercial or residential building is as best as possible and they also make sure the NADCA standards are always met. As a conscientious building owner, it’s your duty to ensure an excellent indoor air quality for your employees and clients at all times.

Serving the New York City area for several decades, Better Air Quality managed to prove itself time and time again and earn the respect and loyalty of thousands of customers thanks to its superior approach and excellent quality services. When using our services, customers receive video evidence (before and after) of their HVAC system so they can easily gauge the hard work we’re doing to ensure the IAQ is safe for everyone inside the building. Not only are we happy to help you, your employees and customers breathe a fresher air and stay safe from respiratory conditions, but we also make a difference on the electricity bill.

Over the years, we successfully completed several thousand projects in New York City and greatly improved the production and performance of our clients in sectors like:

  1. Mid-rise and high-rise buildings.
  2. Manufacturing facilities.
  3. High security facilities.
  4. Universities and hospitals.
  5. Critical care facilities.

Better Air Quality is in full compliance with the OSHA and helps protect your health and the environment by using the best EPA registered products.

We strongly recommend you to prioritize the maintenance and cleaning of your commercial building’s HVAC system in New York City by hiring a professional service. To find out more about how we can help improve your building’s air quality, make sure to contact us at today at (631) 379-8282.

Manhattan Commercial Air Duct Cleaning

Example of flexible ducting.

Air Duct Cleaning

When it comes to residential and commercial buildings in Manhattan, poor ventilation can easily become the source of many problems. In fact, most of the times the AC, ventilation and heating unit is not cleaned properly and that is when mold, dust and bacteria will form. In time and in the absence of a proper ventilation system, these contaminants are going to spread throughout the building and negatively affect the health of its occupants. As expected, fixing these issues not only takes time, but it’s also very expensive.

Making sure the ventilation is working properly in your commercial building is vital if you want to ensure your employees’ productivity is not hampered. Based on information from the EPA, if enough dust and other contaminants accumulate on the cooling and heating coils of your HVAC, they’ll decrease its efficiency by up to twenty one percent. Not only that, but if someone gets sick, you’ll be forced to pay them sick days.

Another issue with improperly maintained HVAC systems is the amount of electricity they use. According to info from the US Department of Energy, a HVAC system that’s badly maintained will waste between 25 to 40 percent more energy compared to one that benefits from regular maintenance. On top of that, the former’s lifespan is also reduced, so there’s a much higher chance it’ll require replacement much sooner.

In order to reduce the chances of HVAC failure, but also allergies and even severe respiratory infections, you should get in touch with a certified and professional commercial air duct cleaning service. The technicians at BAQ (Better Air Quality) are well trained in maintaining various types of HVAC systems and can be easily contacted if you need to clean your unit.

Air quality is of utmost importance to them and they make sure that the standards set by NADCA are always met. As a building owner or property developer, it falls upon you to make sure the IAQ (indoor air quality) of your premise is good in order to protect inhabitants from respiratory conditions.

air-duct-cleaning-nyBetter Air Quality has been serving the Manhattan area (New York) for many years now and during this time it managed to earn the trust of many commercial business thanks to its high quality work and overall professionalism. Each of our customer receives video evidence of their HVAC system which clearly shows them it’s been cleaned properly and doesn’t pose health risks to anyone in the building. On top of offering you high quality HVAC cleaning services for a low price, we also help you save a lot on energy.

To date, we completed thousands of projects in Manhattan and helped improve the performance and production of all our clients in sectors such as:

  1. Mid-rise and high-rise buildings.
  2. High security facilities.
  3. Manufacturing facilities.
  4. Critical care facilities.
  5. Universities and hospitals.

Better Air Quality complies with OSHA and uses the best EPA registered products in order to fully protect the environment and human health.

We recommend you make cleaning your Manhattan commercial building’s HVAC system a priority and consider it on a regular basis. For more information, don’t hesitate to call BAQ today at (631) 379-8282.

NYC Commercial Air Duct Cleaning

HospitalBoth commercial and residential buildings in NYC need good ventilation, otherwise air quality inside them will suffer, something that would in turn lead to invisible hazards and huge losses, especially for commercial buildings. Some of the contaminants that would normally hoard your heating, ventilation & air conditioning system (HVAC) include dust, mold and bacteria. If left unattended, such contaminants could be carried to the ductwork and subsequently reach the entire building via the ventilation system. Apart from being viewed negatively by occupants, the building may also incur very huge costs when property managers try rectifying this situation.

If mold, dust and pollen are allowed to continue circulating in your building without the situation being rectified, they can result in lower employee productivity, diseases as well as tenant dissatisfaction. The situation could also turn away your business’ potential customers and clients. When contaminants like these accumulate on the HVAC’s heating and cooling coils, the efficiency of the system is reduced by up to 21%, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In addition, the American Lung Association also terms poor air quality as the lead cause of missing school and/or work by the vast majority of individuals who do so. We are sure that you will therefore agree with us that commercial air duct cleaning is a very vital part of your business.

Contaminants also cause the heating and cooling unit to expend higher amounts of energy since they have to work past the contaminants to keep the temperature of the building as desired. According to the US Department of Energy, the energy wastage accrued from this alone ranges from 25% to around 40%. Such amount of additional work on the HVAC system significantly lowers its life span, making its maintenance very expensive for you.

We really cannot avoid air pollutants and other contaminants such as dust, mold, chemicals, dander and pollen in our HVAC systems because these things exist everywhere around us and are released into our environment even without us being aware. Though they may appear simple, these contaminants will circulate and re-circulate inside these systems roughly 5-7 times per day, leading to a lot of accumulation over time, with almost all parts of the HVAC unit, including air ducts, supply and return ducts, blowers, cooling coils, heat exchangers, filters, etc. being clogged.

air-duct-cleaningAll this risk that is brought upon your building by accumulated contaminants could be greatly lowered if you seek the help of a certified commercial air-duct cleaning service company. With our extensive knowledge and experience in applying the most proper procedures for controlling air pollutants and contaminants, Better Air Quality (BAQ) technicians are best placed to know the remedies that will fit your contaminated HVAC system even if it is already greatly polluted. We will do a thorough inspection of your HVAC system and discuss with you what cleaning options are best for the unit. Due to their mindfulness of your building’s air quality for the safety of its occupants, BAQ technicians strictly make sure that they adhere to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) standards. It is also your obligation as a Property developer or owner of the building to check your premise’s Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) regularly so as to avoid risks that can result from aggravated problems.

BAQ has been serving commercial businesses in NYC over the years, making a reputation for ourselves due to the quality of our top-notch cleaning services. What’s more, BAQ provides videotaped evidence as well as certified data that your HVAC system has been thoroughly cleaned and in case of any health issue you are protected. With this kind of service, you will be able to maintain good air quality in your building at very low costs. The service also helps you to save on energy expenses since your HVAC system will now work very efficiently and ensure maximum performance and productivity.

As a commercial air-duct cleaning service company, BAQ is renowned all across NYC, having successfully accomplished projects in the sectors listed below:

– Critical care facilities;
– Hospitals & universities;
– Manufacturing facilities;
– High & mid-rise buildings;
– High security facilities.

BAQ services comply with OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) safety standards. We are also a member of the US NADCA (National Air Duct Cleaners Association). We use only the very best (Environmental Protection Agency) EPA-registered products to ensure the protection of both the environment and human health.

Make it a priority to have your ductwork in your commercial building inspected on a regular basis. Choose the best air duct cleaning company in NYC. Call us at (631) 379-8282 for more information.

Queens NY Commercial Air Duct Cleaning

air-duct-cleaning-ny

Commercial Air Duct Cleaning

When there is poor ventilation your Queens commercial or residential building, the air quality inside the building is poor which in turn can result in invisible hazards and great losses for commercial buildings. The heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit (HVAC) is mostly hoarded by contaminants such as bacteria, dust and mold. These contaminants, if neglected, spread to the ductwork and therefore are transported to the entire building through the ventilation system. This results in negative view of the building from its occupants and also leads to costly expenditure by property managers in trying to rectify the situation. Constant circulating of dust, mold and pollen can lead to reduced employee productivity, illness, tenant dissatisfaction, and even turn customers and clients away from your business. According to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), accumulation of contaminants on the heating and cooling coils leads to decrease in HVAC efficiency by up to 21%. It should also be noted that poor air quality is the main reason that many individual miss school and work, as per the American Lung Association, and why commercial air duct cleaning is vital to every business.

When there are contaminants in the heating and cooling unit, much more extra energy is required to maintain the desired temperature. This is because the unit has to work past the contaminants before heating or cooling your building. This results to wastage of between 25% and 40% of energy according to research by the United States Department of energy. With this extra work from the system, its life span reduces significantly and therefore maintaining the system becomes very costly.

It is evident that air pollutants and contaminants like dust, chemicals mold, pollen and dander cannot be avoided since there are all around us and are released even without our knowledge. It is these simple contaminants that circulate and re-circulate through the HVAC system approximately 5 to 7 times daily and within a short while they accumulate in most parts of the HVAC including the air ducts, return ducts supply ducts, cooling coils, blowers, heat exchangers and even the filters.

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NADCA Member

The risk of accumulated contaminants can be reduced by using the help of certified commercial air duct cleaning services. Better Air Quality (BAQ) technicians have extensive knowledge in proper procedures of controlling pollutants and also the remedies to apply in an already polluted HVAC system. BAQ technicians will inspect the HVAC system and discuss the possible cleaning options with you. They are very mindful of the air quality of the building for the safety of the occupants and therefore they strictly ensure that the standards set by (NADCA) National Air Duct Cleaners Association are met. As a Property developer or building owner, it is your responsibility to regularly have checked the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) of your premise to avoid the risk of aggravated problems.

We have been serving commercial businesses in Queens, NY for many years and have made a reputation for providing first class cleaning services to our clients. When you use the services of BAQ, you get videotaped evidence and certified data that your system is clean and you are protected in case of any health issue. This helps in sustaining good air quality in your premises with minimal expenses. Also plenty of energy is saved and your system works efficiently ensuring maximum performance and production.

Better Air Quality is a renowned commercial Air duct cleaning service provider, in Queens NY, and has successfully completed projects in the following sectors:

  • Hospitals and universities
  • Critical care facilities
  • Manufacturing facilities
  • High security facilities
  • High and mid-rise buildings

Better Air Quality complies with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards for safety and is a member of the NADCA (National Air Duct Cleaners Association).  BAQ uses only the best EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) registered products to protect human health and the environment.

Make it a priority to have your ductwork in your commercial building inspected on a regular basis. Choose the best air duct cleaning company in Queens, NY. Call us at (631) 379-8282 for more information.

 

Long Island Air Quality Index

Air Quality Index (AQI) Forecast for New York and Long Island

The Air Quality Index is an index report of daily air quality. It tells you how polluted or clean the air is, as well as any health effects which might be caused by the quality. The index was developed as an easy method to correlate the different levels of pollutants to one scale. The higher the AQI value, the greater the health risk. When the AQI levels of ozone and or fine particles are excepted to or have exceeded an AQI value of 100, an Air Quality Health Advisory is issued alerting sensitive groups to take necessary precautions.

The Air Quality Forecast displays the forecasted maximum AQI Index value for eight Air Quality Health Advisory regions in New York state. It also displays the observed maximum values for the previous day. DEC’s Air Quality Health Advisory regions consist of the following:

  • Region I Long Island – Nassau and Suffolk
  • Region II New York City Metro – New York City, Rockland, and Westchester
  • Region III Lower Hudson – Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Ulster, and Sullivan
  • Region IV Upper Hudson – Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, and Washington
  • Region V Adirondacks – Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, northern Herkimer, Lewis, St. Lawrence, and Warren
  • Region VI Eastern Lake Ontario – northern Cayuga, Jefferson, Monroe, Oswego, and Wayne
  • Region VII Central – Allegany, Broome, southern Cayuga, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, southern Herkimer, Livingston, Madison, Onondaga, Oneida, Ontario, Otsego, Tioga, Tompkins, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, and Yates
  • Region VIII Western New York – Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, and Wyoming

Air quality measurements from our statewide continuous monitoring network are updated hourly where available. Parameters monitored include ozone, fine particulate, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, methane/nonmethane hydrocarbons, and meteorological data.

The Air Quality Forecast website

AIRNow NY Air Quality Forecast

Duct HVAC Cleaning Long Island

Fire-resistance rated mechanical shaft with HVAC sheet metal ducting and copper piping, as well as “HOW” (Head-Of-Wall) joint between top of concrete block wall and underside of concrete slab, firestopped with ceramic fibre-based firestop caulking on top of rockwool.

Ducts are used in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) to deliver and remove air. These needed airflows include, for example, supply air, return air, and exhaust air. Ducts also deliver, most commonly as part of the supply air, ventilation air. As such, air ducts are one method of ensuring acceptable indoor air quality as well as thermal comfort.

A duct system is often called ductwork. Planning (‘laying out’), sizing, optimizing, detailing, and finding the pressure losses through a duct system is called duct design

Materials

Ducts can be made out of the following materials:

Galvanized mild steel is the standard and most common material used in fabricating ductwork. For insulation purposes, metal ducts are typically lined with faced fiber glass blanket (duct liner) or wrapped externally with fiber glass blankets (duct wrap).

Polyurethane and Phenolic insulation panels (pre-insulated air ducts)

Traditionally, air ductwork is made of sheet metal which is installed first and then lagged with insulation as a secondary operation. Ductwork manufactured from rigid insulation panels does not need any further insulation and is installed in a single fix. Light weight and installation speed are among the features of preinsulated aluminium ductwork, also custom or special shapes of ducts can be easily fabricated in the shop or on site.

The ductwork construction starts with the tracing of the duct outline onto the aluminium preinsulated panel, then the parts are typically cut at 45 degree, bent if required to obtain the different fittings (i.e. elbows, tapers) and finally assembled with glue. Aluminium tape is applied to all seams where the external surface of the aluminium foil has been cut. A variety of flanges are available to suit various installation requirements. All internal joints are sealed with sealant.

Among the various types of rigid polyurethane foam panels available, the foaming process of a new water formulated panel is obtained through the use of water and CO2 instead of CFC, HCFC, HFC and HC gasses. Most manufacturers of rigid polyurethane foam panels use pentane as foaming agent instead of the CFC, HCFC, HFC and HC gasses, so do manufacturers of rigid phenolic foam panels.

A rigid phenolic insulation ductwork system is listed as a class 1 air duct to UL 181 Standard for Safety.

Both polyurethane foam panels and phenolic foam panels are manufactured with factory applied aluminium facings on both sides. The thickness of the aluminium foil can vary from 25 micrometres for indoor use to 200 micrometres for external use or for higher mechanical characteristics. The finish for external ductwork exposed to the weather can be an aluminum or aluminium / zinc alloy coated sheet steel, a multilayer laminate, a fibre reinforced polymer or other waterproof coating.

Fiberglass duct board (preinsulated nonmetallic ductwork)

Fiberglass duct board panels provide built-in thermal insulation and the interior surface absorbs sound, helping to provide quiet operation of the HVAC system. The duct board is formed by sliding a specially-designed knife along the board using a straightedge as a guide; the knife automatically trims out a “valley” with 45° sides; the valley does not quite penetrate the entire depth of the duct board, providing a thin section that acts as a hinge. The duct board can then be folded along the valleys to produce 90° folds, making the rectangular duct shape in the fabricator’s desired size. The duct is then closed with outward-clinching staples and special aluminum or similar ‘metal-backed’ tape. Commonly available duct tape should not be used on air ducts, metal, fiberglass, or otherwise, that are intended for long-term use; the adhesive on so called ‘duct tape’ dries and releases with time, further the ‘duct tapes’ do not meet the required UL standards for fire resistance.

Flexible Ducting

Example of flexible ducting.

Example of flexible ducting.

Flexible ducts, known as flex, have a variety of configurations, but for HVAC applications, they are typically flexible plastic over a metal wire coil to make round, flexible duct. In the United States, the insulation is usually glass wool, but other markets such as Australia, use both polyester fibre and glass wool for thermal insulation. A protective layer surrounds the insulation, and is usually composed of polyethylene or metalised PET. Flexible duct is very convenient for attaching supply air outlets to the rigid ductwork. However, the pressure loss through flex is higher than for most other types of ducts. As such, designers and installers attempt to keep their installed lengths (runs) short, e.g., less than 15 feet or so, and to minimize turns. Kinks in flex must be avoided. Some flexible duct markets prefer to avoid using flexible duct on the return air portions of HVAC systems, however flexible duct can tolerate moderate negative pressures – the UL181 test requires a negative pressure of 200 Pa.

Fabric

Fabric ducting, Usually made of special polyester material, fabric ducts can provide air to a space more effectively than a conventional exposed duct system.

Fabric duct is a misnomer as “fabric duct” is actually an “air distribution device” and is not intended as a conduit (duct) for conditioned air. However, as it often replaces hard or metal ductwork it is easy to perceive it simply as duct. Fabric air dispersion systems, is the more definitive name. As they may be manufactured with venting or orifices for even air distribution along any length of the system, they commonly will provide a more even distribution and blending of the conditioned air in a given space. As “fabric duct” is used for air distribution, textile ducts are not rated for nor should they be used in ceilings or concealed attic spaces. Applications for fabric duct in raise floor applications; however, are available. Depending on the manufacturer, “fabric duct” is available in standard and custom colours with options for silk screening or other forms of appliques.

“Fabric duct”, depending on the manufacturer, may be available in air permeable(porous) or non-porous fabric. As a benchmark, a designer may make the determination of which fabric is more applicable by asking the question if the application would require insulated metal duct? If metal duct would be insulated in a given application or installation, air permeable fabric would be recommended as it will not commonly create condensation on its surface and can therefore be used where air is to be supplied below the dew point. Again; depending on the material and manufacturer, material that eliminates moisture may also be healthier and may also be provided with an active anti-microbial agent to inhibit bacteria growth. Porous material also tends to require less maintenance as it repels dust and other airborne contaminants.

Duct system components

Besides the ducts themselves, complete ducting systems contain many other components.

Vibration isolators

A duct system often begins at an air handler. The blowers in the air handlers can create substantial vibration and the large area of the duct system would transmit this noise and vibration to the inhabitants of the building. To avoid this, vibration isolators (flexible sections) are normally inserted into the duct immediately before and after the air handler. The rubberized canvas-like material of these sections allow the air handler to vibrate without transmitting much vibration to the attached ducts. The same flexible section can reduce the “bang” that can occur when the blower engages and positive air pressure is introduced to the ductwork.

Take-offs

Downstream of the air handler, the supply air trunk duct will commonly fork, providing air to many individual air outlets such as diffusers, grilles, and registers. When the system is designed with a main duct branching into many subsidiary branch ducts, fittings called take-offs allow a small portion of the flow in the main duct to be diverted into each branch duct. Take-offs may be fitted into round or rectangular openings cut into the wall of the main duct. The take-off commonly has many small metal tabs that are then bent to retain the take-off on the main duct; round versions are called spin-in fittings. Other take-off designs use a snap-in attachment method, sometimes coupled with an adhesive foam gasket to provide improved sealing. The outlet of the take-off then connects to the rectangular, oval, or round branch duct.

Stacks, boots, and heads

Ducts, especially in homes, must often allow air to travel vertically within relatively thin walls. These vertical ducts are called stacks and are formed with either very wide and relatively thin rectangular sections or oval sections. At the bottom of the stack, a stack boot provides a transition from an ordinary large round or rectangular duct to the thin wall-mounted duct. At the top, a stack head can provide a transition back to ordinary ducting while a register head allows the transition to a wall-mounted air register.

Volume Control Dampers

Ducting systems must often provide a method of adjusting the volume of air flow to various parts of the system. VCDs (Volume Control Dampers – Not To Be confused with Smoke/Fire Dampers) provide this function. Besides the regulation provided at the registers or diffusers that spread air into individual rooms, dampers can be fitted within the ducts themselves. These dampers may be manual or automatic. Zone dampers provide automatic control in simple systems while VAVs allow control in sophisticated systems.

Smoke/Fire Dampers

Smoke and Fire dampers are found in ductwork, where the duct passes through a firewall or firecurtain. Smoke dampers are automated with the use of a mechanical motor often referred to as an Actuator. A probe connected to the motor is installed in the run of duct, and detects smoke within the duct system which has been extracted from a room, or which is being supplied from the AHU (Air Handling Unit) or elsewhere within the run. Once smoke is detected within the duct, the Actuator triggers the motor release and the smoke damper will automatically close until manually re-opened.

You will also find Fire dampers in the same places as smoke dampers, depending on the application of the area after the firewall. Unlike smoke dampers, they are not triggered by any electrical system, which is perfect in the event of an electrical failure where the Smoke dampers would fail to close. Fire dampers may be mounted in either horizontal or vertical configurations. Vertically mounted fire dampers are gravity operated while horizontal fire dampers are spring powered. In either case, a fire damper’s most important feature is known as a fusible link. A fusible link is a piece of metal that will fail at a specified temperature allowing the damper to open under gravity or spring power, effectively sealing the duct, containing the fire, and denying it the necessary air to burn.

Turning vanes

Turning vanes are installed inside of ductwork at changes of direction in order to minimise turbulence and resistance to smooth air flow.

Plenums

Plenums are the central distribution and collection units for an HVAC system. The return plenum carries the air from several large return grills (vents) or bell mouths to a central air handler. The supply plenum directs air from the central unit to the rooms which the system is designed to heat or cool.

Terminal units

While single-zone constant air volume systems typically don’t have them, other types of air distribution systems often have terminal units in the branch ducts. Usually there is one terminal unit per thermal zone. Some types of terminal units are VAV ‘boxes’ of either single or dual duct, fan-powered mixing boxes of either parallel or series arrangement, and induction terminal units. Terminal units may also include either, or both, a heating or cooling coil.

Air terminals

‘Air terminals’ are the supply air outlets and ‘return’ or ‘exhaust air inlets’. For supply, diffusers are most common, but grilles, and for very small HVAC systems such as in residences, ‘registers’ are also used widely. Return or ‘exhaust grilles’ are used primarily for appearance reasons, but some also incorporate an air filter and are known as ‘filter returns’.

Duct cleaning

The position of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is that “If no one in your household suffers from allergies or unexplained symptoms or illnesses and if, after a visual inspection of the inside of the ducts, you see no indication that your air ducts are contaminated with large deposits of dust or mold (no musty odor or visible mold growth), having your air ducts cleaned is probably unnecessary.” A thorough duct cleaning done by a professional duct cleaner will remove dust and debris-pet hair, paper clips, children’s toys and whatever else might collect inside. Ideally, the interior surface will be shiny and bright after cleaning. Insulated fiber glass duct liner and duct board are able to be cleaned with special non-metallic bristles. Duct cleaning may be justifiable to you personally for that very reason: you may not want to have your house air circulated through a duct passage that is not as clean as the rest of the house. However, duct cleaning will not usually change the quality of the air you breathe, nor will it significantly affect airflows or heating costs.

Signs and indicators

  • When cleaning, you need to sweep and dust your furniture more than usual.
  • After cleaning, there’s still left over dust floating around the house that you can see.
  • After or during sleep you experience headaches, nasal congestion, or other sinus problems.
  • Rooms in your house have little or no air flow coming from the vents.
  • You’re constantly getting sick or are experience more allergies than usual
  • When you turn on the furnace or air conditioner there’s a musty or stale odor
  • You’re experiencing signs of sickness: fatigue, headache, sneezing, stuffy or running nose, irritability, nausea, dry or burning sensation in eyes, nose and throat.

Duct sealing

Duct Sealing is the sealing of leaks in air ducts in order to reduce air leakage, optimize efficiency, and control entry of pollutants into the home or building. Air pressure combined with air duct leakage can lead to a loss of energy in a HVAC system and duct sealing solves issues of energy loss in the system.

Before sealing duct work it is imperative to ensure the total external static pressure of your duct work and equipment will fall within your equipment manufacturer’s specifications. If not, higher energy usage and reduced equipment performance may be expected.

Duct tape is not used for sealing ducts. Building codes call for special fire-resistant tapes, often with foil backings and long lasting adhesives.

Signs of leaky or poorly performing air ducts include:

  • Utility bills in winter and summer months above average relative to rate fluctuation
  • Spaces or rooms that are difficult to heat or cool
  • Duct location in an attic, attached garage, leaky floor cavity, crawl space or unheated basement.

Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned?


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EPA 402-K-97-002, October 1997
PDF Version (18 pp., 280 K, about PDF)

Summary

Knowledge about air duct cleaning is in its early stages, so a blanket recommendation cannot be offered as to whether you should have your air ducts in your home cleaned. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urges you to read this document in it entirety as it provides important information on the subject.

Duct cleaning has never been shown to actually prevent health problems. Neither do studies conclusively demonstrate that particle (e.g., dust) levels in homes increase because of dirty air ducts. This is because much of the dirt in air ducts adheres to duct surfaces and does not necessarily enter the living space. It is important to keep in mind that dirty air ducts are only one of many possible sources of particles that are present in homes. Pollutants that enter the home both from outdoors and indoor activities such as cooking, cleaning, smoking, or just moving around can cause greater exposure to contaminants than dirty air ducts. Moreover, there is no evidence that a light amount of household dust or other particulate matter in air ducts poses any risk to your health.

You should consider having the air ducts in your home cleaned if:

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There is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system. There are several important points to understand concerning mold detection in heating and cooling systems:

  • Many sections of your heating and cooling system may not be accessible for a visible inspection, so ask the service provider to show you any mold they say exists.
  • You should be aware that although a substance may look like mold, a positive determination of whether it is mold or not can be made only by an expert and may require laboratory analysis for final confirmation. For about $50, some microbiology laboratories can tell you whether a sample sent to them on a clear strip of sticky household tape is mold or simply a substance that resembles it.
  • If you have insulated air ducts and the insulation gets wet or moldy it cannot be effectively cleaned and should be removed and replaced.
  • If the conditions causing the mold growth in the first place are not corrected, mold growth will recur.
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Ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents or insects); or
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Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.

 

If any of the conditions identified above exists, it usually suggests one or more underlying causes. Prior to any cleaning, retrofitting, or replacing of your ducts, the cause or causes must be corrected or else the problem will likely recur.

Some research suggests that cleaning heating and cooling system components (e.g., cooling coils, fans and heat exchangers) may improve the efficiency of your system, resulting in a longer operating life, as well as some energy and maintenance cost savings. However, little evidence exists that cleaning only the ducts will improve the efficiency of the system.

You may consider having your air ducts cleaned simply because it seems logical that air ducts will get dirty over time and should be occasionally cleaned. Provided that the cleaning is done properly, no evidence suggests that such cleaning would be detrimental. EPA does not recommend that the air ducts be cleaned routinely, but only as needed. EPA does, however, recommend that if you have a fuel burning furnace, stove or fireplace, they be inspected for proper functioning and serviced before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you do decide to have your air ducts cleaned, take the same consumer precautions you normally would in assessing the service provider’s competence and reliability.

Air duct cleaning service providers may tell you that they need to apply chemical biocide to the inside of your ducts as a means to kill bacteria (germs) and fungi (mold) and prevent future biological growth. They may also propose the application of a “sealant” to prevent dust and dirt particles from being released into the air or to seal air leaks. You should fully understand the pros and cons of permitting application of chemical biocides or sealants. While the targeted use of chemical biocides and sealants may be appropriate under specific circumstances, research has not demonstrated their effectiveness in duct cleaning or their potential adverse health effects. No chemical biocides are currently registered by EPA for use in internally-insulated air duct systems (see Should chemical biocides be applied to the inside of air ducts?).

Whether or not you decide to have the air ducts in your home cleaned, preventing water and dirt from entering the system is the most effective way to prevent contamination (see How to Prevent Duct Contamination).

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What is Air Duct Cleaning?

Most people are now aware that indoor air pollution is an issue of growing concern and increased visibility. Many companies are marketing products and services intended to improve the quality of your indoor air. You have probably seen an advertisement, received a coupon in the mail, or been approached directly by a company offering to clean your air ducts as a means of improving your home’s indoor air quality. These services typically — but not always — range in cost from $450 to $1,000 per heating and cooling system, depending on the services offered, the size of the system to be cleaned, system accessibility, climatic region, and level of contamination.

If you decide to have your heating and cooling system cleaned, it important to make sure the service provider agrees to clean all components of the system and is qualified to do so.

Duct cleaning generally refers to the cleaning of various heating and cooling system components of forced air systems, including the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, condensate drain pans (drip pans), fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing (See diagram).

If not properly installed, maintained, and operated, these components may become contaminated with particles of dust, pollen or other debris. If moisture is present, the potential for microbiological growth (e.g., mold) is increased and spores from such growth may be released into the home’s living space. Some of these contaminants may cause allergic reactions or other symptoms in people if they are exposed to them. If you decide to have your heating and cooling system cleaned, it is important to make sure the service provider agrees to clean all components of the system and is qualified to do so. Failure to clean a component of a contaminated system can result in re-contamination of the entire system, thus negating any potential benefits. Methods of duct cleaning vary, although standards have been established by industry associations concerned with air duct cleaning. Typically, a service provider will use specialized tools to dislodge dirt and other debris in ducts, then vacuum them out with a high-powered vacuum cleaner.

In addition, the service provider may propose applying chemical biocides, designed to kill microbiological contaminants, to the inside of the duct work and to other system components. Some service providers may also suggest applying chemical treatments (sealants or other encapsulants) to encapsulate or cover the inside surfaces of the air ducts and equipment housings because they believe it will control mold growth or prevent the release of dirt particles or fibers from ducts. These practices have yet to be fully researched and you should be fully informed before deciding to permit the use of biocides or chemical treatments in your air ducts. They should only be applied, if at all, after the system has been properly cleaned of all visible dust or debris.

Note: Use of sealants to encapsulate the inside surfaces of ducts is a different practice than sealing duct air leaks. Sealing duct air leaks can help save energy on heating and cooling bills. For more information, see
EPA’s www.energystar.gov/ducts

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Deciding Whether or Not to Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned

Click on the thumbnail for a larger version of the graphic.

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Knowledge about the potential benefits and possible problems of air duct cleaning is limited. Since conditions in every home are different, it is impossible to generalize about whether or not air duct cleaning in your home would be beneficial.

If no one in your household suffers from allergies or unexplained symptoms or illnesses and if, after a visual inspection of the inside of the ducts, you see no indication that your air ducts are contaminated with large deposits of dust or mold (no musty odor or visible mold growth), having your air ducts cleaned is probably unnecessary. It is normal for the return registers to get dusty as dust-laden air is pulled through the grate. This does not indicate that your air ducts are contaminated with heavy deposits of dust or debris; the registers can be easily vacuumed or removed and cleaned.

On the other hand, if family members are experiencing unusual or unexplained symptoms or illnesses that you think might be related to your home environment, you should discuss the situation with your doctor. EPA has published Indoor Air Quality: An Introduction for Health Professionals and The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality for guidance on identifying possible indoor air quality problems and ways to prevent or fix them.

You may consider having your air ducts cleaned simply because it seems logical that air ducts will get dirty over time and should occasionally be cleaned. While the debate about the value of periodic duct cleaning continues, no evidence suggests that such cleaning would be detrimental, provided that it is done properly.

On the other hand, if a service provider fails to follow proper duct cleaning procedures, duct cleaning can cause indoor air problems. For example, an inadequate vacuum collection system can release more dust, dirt, and other contaminants than if you had left the ducts alone. A careless or inadequately trained service provider can damage your ducts or heating and cooling system, possibly increasing your heating and air conditioning costs or forcing you to undertake difficult and costly repairs or replacements.

You should consider having the air ducts in your home cleaned if:

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There is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system. There are several important points to understand concerning mold detection in heating and cooling systems:

  • Many sections of your heating and cooling system may not be accessible for a visible inspection, so ask the service provider to show you any mold they say exists.
  • You should be aware that although a substance may look like mold, a positive determination of whether it is mold or not can be made only by an expert and may require laboratory analysis for final confirmation. For about $50, some microbiology laboratories can tell you whether a sample sent to them on a clear strip of sticky household tape is mold or simply a substance that resembles it.
  • If you have insulated air ducts and the insulation gets wet or moldy it cannot be effectively cleaned and should be removed and replaced.
  • If the conditions causing the mold growth in the first place are not corrected, mold growth will recur.
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Ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents or insects); or
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Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.

 

Other Important Considerations…

Duct cleaning has never been shown to actually prevent health problems. Neither do studies conclusively demonstrate that particle (e.g., dust) levels in homes increase because of dirty air ducts or go down after cleaning. This is because much of the dirt that may accumulate inside air ducts adheres to duct surfaces and does not necessarily enter the living space. It is important to keep in mind that dirty air ducts are only one of many possible sources of particles that are present in homes. Pollutants that enter the home both from outdoors and indoor activities such as cooking, cleaning, smoking, or just moving around can cause greater exposure to contaminants than dirty air ducts. Moreover, there is no evidence that a light amount of household dust or other particulate matter in air ducts poses any risk to health.

EPA does not recommend that air ducts be cleaned except on an as-needed basis because of the continuing uncertainty about the benefits of duct cleaning under most circumstances. EPA does, however, recommend that if you have a fuel burning furnace, stove, or fireplace, they be inspected for proper functioning and serviced before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning. Some research also suggests that cleaning dirty cooling coils, fans and heat exchangers can improve the efficiency of heating and cooling systems. However, little evidence exists to indicate that simply cleaning the duct system will increase your system’s efficiency.

If you think duct cleaning might be a good idea for your home, but you are not sure, talk to a professional. The company that services your heating and cooling system may be a good source of advice. You may also want to contact professional duct cleaning service providers and ask them about the services they provide. Remember, they are trying to sell you a service, so ask questions and insist on complete and knowledgeable answers.

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Suggestions for Choosing a Duct Cleaning Service Provider

To find companies that provide duct cleaning services, check your Yellow Pages under “duct cleaning” or contact the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) at the address and phone number in the information section located at the end of this guidance. Do not assume that all duct cleaning service providers are equally knowledgeable and responsible. Talk to at least three different service providers and get written estimates before deciding whether to have your ducts cleaned. When the service providers come to your home, ask them to show you the contamination that would justify having your ducts cleaned.

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Do not hire duct cleaners who make sweeping claims about the health benefits of duct cleaning — such claims are unsubstantiated. Do not hire duct cleaners who recommend duct cleaning as a routine part of your heating and cooling system maintenance. You should also be wary of duct cleaners who claim to be certified by EPA. Note: EPA neither establishes duct cleaning standards nor certifies, endorses, or approves duct cleaning companies.
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Do not allow the use of chemical biocides or chemical treatments unless you fully understand the pros and the cons (See “Unresolved Issues of Duct Cleaning).
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Check references to be sure other customers were satisfied and did not experience any problems with their heating and cooling system after cleaning.
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Contact your county or city office of consumer affairs or local Better Business Bureau to determine if complaints have been lodged against any of the companies you are considering.
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Interview potential service providers to ensure:

  • they are experienced in duct cleaning and have worked on systems like yours;
  • they will use procedures to protect you, your pets, and your home from contamination; and
  • they comply with NADCA‘s air duct cleaning standards and, if your ducts are constructed of fiber glass duct board or insulated internally with fiber glass duct liner, with the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association’s (NAIMA)
    recommendations.
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Ask the service provider whether they hold any relevant state licenses. As of 1996, the following states require air duct cleaners to hold special licenses: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan and Texas. Other states may require them as well.
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If the service provider charges by the hour, request an estimate of the number of hours or days the job will take, and find out whether there will be interruptions in the work. Make sure the duct cleaner you choose will provide a written agreement outlining the total cost and scope of the job before work begins.

 

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What to Expect From an Air Duct Cleaning Service Provider

If you choose to have your ducts cleaned, the service provider should:

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Open access ports or doors to allow the entire system to be cleaned and inspected.
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Inspect the system before cleaning to be sure that there are no asbestos-containing materials (e.g., insulation, register boots, etc.) in the heating and cooling system. Asbestos-containing materials require specialized procedures and should not be disturbed or removed except by specially trained and equipped contractors.
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Use vacuum equipment that exhausts particles outside of the home or use only high-efficiency particle air (HEPA) vacuuming equipment if the vacuum exhausts inside the home.
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Protect carpet and household furnishings during cleaning.
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Use well-controlled brushing of duct surfaces in conjunction with contact vacuum cleaning to dislodge dust and other particles.
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Use only soft-bristled brushes for fiberglass duct board and sheet metal ducts internally lined with fiberglass. (Although flex duct can also be cleaned using soft-bristled brushes, it can be more economical to simply replace accessible flex duct.)
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Take care to protect the duct work, including sealing and re-insulating any access holes the service provider may have made or used so they are airtight.
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Follow NADCA‘s standards for air duct cleaning and NAIMA‘s recommended practice for ducts containing fiber glass lining or constructed of fiber glass duct board.

 

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How to Determine if the Duct Cleaner Did A Thorough Job

A thorough visual inspection is the best way to verify the cleanliness of your heating and cooling system. Some service providers use remote photography to document conditions inside ducts. All portions of the system should be visibly clean; you should not be able to detect any debris with the naked eye. Show the Post-Cleaning Consumer Checklist to the service provider before the work begins. After completing the job, ask the service provider to show you each component of your system to verify that the job was performed satisfactorily.

If you answer “No” to any of the questions on the checklist, this may indicate a problem with the job. Ask your service provider to correct any deficiencies until you can answer “yes” to all the questions on the checklist.

Post Cleaning Consumer Checklist Yes No
General Did the service provider obtain access to and clean the entire heating and cooling system, including ductwork and all components (drain pans, humidifiers, coils, and fans)?
Has the service provider adequately demonstrated that duct work and plenums are clean? (Plenum is a space in which supply or return air is mixed or moves; can be duct, joist space, attic and crawl spaces, or wall cavity.)
Heating Is the heat exchanger surface visibly clean?
CoolingComponents Are both sides of the cooling coil visibly clean?
If you point a flashlight into the cooling coil, does light shine through the other side? It should if the coil is clean.
Are the coil fins straight and evenly spaced (as opposed to being bent over and smashed together)?
Is the coil drain pan completely clean and draining properly?
Blower Are the blower blades clean and free of oil and debris?
Is the blower compartment free of visible dust or debris?
Plenums Is the return air plenum free of visible dust or debris?
Do filters fit properly and are they the proper efficiency as recommended by HVAC system manufacturer?
Is the supply air plenum (directly downstream of the air handling unit) free of moisture stains and contaminants?
Metal Ducts Are interior ductwork surfaces free of visible debris? (Select several sites at random in both the return and supply sides of the system.)
Fiber Glass Is all fiber glass material in good condition (i.e., free of tears and abrasions; well adhered to underlying materials)?
AccessDoors Are newly installed access doors in sheet metal ducts attached with more than just duct tape (e.g., screws, rivets, mastic, etc.)?
With the system running, is air leakage through access doors orcovers very slight or non-existent?
Air Vents Have all registers, grilles, and diffusers been firmly reattached to the walls, floors, and/or ceilings?
Are the registers, grilles, and diffusers visibly clean?
SystemOperation Does the system function properly in both the heating and cooling modes after cleaning?

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How to Prevent Duct Contamination

Whether or not you decide to have the air ducts in your home cleaned, committing to a good preventive maintenance program is essential to minimize duct contamination.

To prevent dirt from entering the system:

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Use the highest efficiency air filter recommended by the manufacturer of your heating and cooling system.
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Change filters regularly.
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If your filters become clogged, change them more frequently.
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Be sure you do not have any missing filters and that air cannot bypass filters through gaps around the filter holder.
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When having your heating and cooling system maintained or checked for other reasons, be sure to ask the service provider to clean cooling coils and drain pans.
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During construction or renovation work that produces dust in your home, seal off supply and return registers and do not operate the heating and cooling system until after cleaning up the dust.
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Remove dust and vacuum your home regularly. (Use a high efficiency vacuum (HEPA) cleaner or the highest efficiency filter bags your vacuum cleaner can take. Vacuuming can increase the amount of dust in the air during and after vacuuming as well as in your ducts).
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If your heating system includes in-duct humidification equipment, be sure to operate and maintain the humidifier strictly as recommended by the manufacturer.

Whether of not you decide to have the air ducts in your home cleaned, committing to a good preventive maintenance program is essential to minimize duct contamination.

To prevent ducts from becoming wet:

Moisture should not be present in ducts. Controlling moisture is the most effective way to prevent biological growth in air ducts.

Moisture can enter the duct system through leaks or if the system has been improperly installed or serviced. Research suggests that condensation (which occurs when a surface temperature is lower than the dew point temperature of the surrounding air) on or near cooling coils of air conditioning units is a major factor in moisture contamination of the system. The presence of condensation or high relative humidity is an important indicator of the potential for mold growth on any type of duct. Controlling moisture can often be difficult, but here are some steps you can take:

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Promptly and properly repair any leaks or water damage.
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Pay particular attention to cooling coils, which are designed to remove water from the air and can be a major source of moisture contamination of the system that can lead to mold growth. Make sure the condensate pan drains properly. The presence of substantial standing water and/or debris indicates a problem requiring immediate attention. Check any insulation near cooling coils for wet spots.
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Make sure ducts are properly sealed and insulated in all non-air-conditioned spaces (e.g., attics and crawl spaces). This will help to prevent moisture due to condensation from entering the system and is important to make the system work as intended. To prevent water condensation, the heating and cooling system must be properly insulated.
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If you are replacing your air conditioning system, make sure that the unit is the proper size for your needs and that all ducts are sealed at the joints. A unit that is too big will cycle on and off frequently, resulting in poor moisture removal, particularly in areas with high humidity. Also make sure that your new system is designed to manage condensation effectively.

 

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Unresolved Issues of Duct Cleaning

Does duct cleaning prevent health problems?

The bottom line is: no one knows. There are examples of ducts that have become badly contaminated with a variety of materials that may pose risks to your health. The duct system can serve as a means to distribute these contaminants throughout a home. In these cases, duct cleaning may make sense. However, a light amount of household dust in your air ducts is normal. Duct cleaning is not considered to be a necessary part of yearly maintenance of your heating and cooling system, which consists of regular cleaning of drain pans and heating and cooling coils, regular filter changes and yearly inspections of heating equipment. Research continues in an effort to evaluate the potential benefits of air duct cleaning.

In the meantime…

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Educate yourself about duct cleaning by contacting some or all of the sources of information listed at the end of this publication and asking questions of potential service providers.

 

Are duct materials other than bare sheet metal ducts more likely to be contaminated with mold and other biological contaminants?

You may be familiar with air ducts that are constructed of sheet metal. However, many modern residential air duct systems are constructed of fiber glass duct board or sheet metal ducts that are lined on the inside with fiber glass duct liner. Since the early 1970’s, a significant increase in the use of flexible duct, which generally is internally lined with plastic or some other type of material, has occurred. The use of insulated duct material has increased due to improved temperature control, energy conservation, and reduced condensation. Internal insulation provides better acoustical (noise) control. Flexible duct is very low cost. These products are engineered specifically for use in ducts or as ducts themselves, and are tested in accordance with standards established by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Many insulated duct systems have operated for years without supporting significant mold growth. Keeping them reasonably clean and dry is generally adequate. However, there is substantial debate about whether porous insulation materials (e.g., fiber glass) are more prone to microbial contamination than bare sheet metal ducts. If enough dirt and moisture are permitted to enter the duct system, there may be no significant difference in the rate or extent of microbial growth in internally lined or bare sheet metal ducts. However, treatment of mold contamination on bare sheet metal is much easier. Cleaning and treatment with an EPA-registered biocide are possible. Once fiberglass duct liner is contaminated with mold, cleaning is not sufficient to prevent
re-growth and there are no EPA-registered biocides for the treatment of porous duct materials. EPA,
NADCA, and NAIMA all recommend the replacement of wet or moldy fiber glass duct material.

In the meantime…

Experts do agree that moisture should not be present in ducts and if moisture and dirt are present, the potential exists for biological contaminants to grow and be distributed throughout the home. Controlling moisture is the most effective way to prevent biological growth in all types of air ducts.

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Correct any water leaks or standing water.
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Remove standing water under cooling coils of air handling units by making sure that drain pans slope toward the drain.
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If humidifiers are used, they must be properly maintained.
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Air handling units should be constructed so that maintenance personnel have easy, direct access to heat exchange components and drain pans for proper cleaning and maintenance.
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Fiber glass, or any other insulation material that is wet or visibly moldy (or if an unacceptable odor is present) should be removed and replaced by a qualified heating and cooling system contractor.
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Steam cleaning and other methods involving moisture should not be used on any kind of duct work.

 

Should chemical biocides be applied to the inside of air ducts?

No products are currently registered by EPA as biocides for use on fiberglass duct board or fiberglass lined ducts so it is important to determine if sections of your system contain these materials before permitting the application of any biocide.

Air duct cleaning service providers may tell you that they need to apply a chemical biocide to the inside of your ducts to kill bacteria (germs), and fungi (mold) and prevent future biological growth. Some duct cleaning service providers may propose to introduce ozone to kill biological contaminants. Ozone is a highly reactive gas that is regulated in the outside air as a lung irritant. However, there remains considerable controversy over the necessity and wisdom of introducing chemical biocides or ozone into the duct work.

Among the possible problems with biocide and ozone application in air ducts:

  • Little research has been conducted to demonstrate the effectiveness of most biocides and ozone when used inside ducts. Simply spraying or otherwise introducing these materials into the operating duct system may cause much of the material to be transported through the system and released into other areas of your home.
  • Some people may react negatively to the biocide or ozone, causing adverse health reactions.

Chemical biocides are regulated by EPA under Federal pesticide law. A product must be registered by EPA for a specific use before it can be legally used for that purpose. The specific use(s) must appear on the pesticide (e.g., biocide) label, along with other important information. It is a violation of federal law to use a pesticide product in any manner inconsistent with the label directions.

A small number of products are currently registered by EPA specifically for use on the inside of bare sheet metal air ducts. A number of products are also registered for use as sanitizers on hard surfaces, which could include the interior of bare sheet metal ducts. While many such products may be used legally inside of unlined ducts if all label directions are followed, some of the directions on the label may be inappropriate for use in ducts. For example, if the directions indicate “rinse with water”, the added moisture could stimulate mold growth.

All of the products discussed above are registered solely for the purpose of sanitizing the smooth surfaces of unlined (bare) sheet metal ducts. No products are currently registered as biocides for use on fiber glass duct board or fiber glass lined ducts, so it is important to determine if sections of your system contain these materials before permitting the application of any biocide.

In the meantime…

Before allowing a service provider to use a chemical biocide in your duct work, the service provider should:

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Demonstrate visible evidence of microbial growth in your duct work. Some service providers may attempt to convince you that your air ducts are contaminated by demonstrating that the microorganisms found in your home grow on a settling plate (i.e., petri dish). This is inappropriate. Some microorganisms are always present in the air, and some growth on a settling plate is normal. As noted earlier, only an expert can positively identify a substance as biological growth and lab analysis may be required for final confirmation. Other testing methods are not reliable.
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Explain why biological growth cannot be removed by physical means, such as brushing, and further growth prevented by controlling moisture.<

 

If you decide to permit the use of a biocide, the service provider should:

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Show you the biocide label, which will describe its range of approved uses.
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Apply the biocide only to un-insulated areas of the duct system after proper cleaning, if necessary to reduce the chances for re-growth of mold.
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Always use the product strictly according to its label instructions.

 

While some low toxicity products may be legally applied while occupants of the home are present, you may wish to consider leaving the premises while the biocide is being applied as an added precaution.

Do sealants prevent the release of dust and dirt particles into the air?

Manufacturers of products marketed to coat and encapsulate duct surfaces claim that these sealants prevent dust and dirt particles inside air ducts from being released into the air. As with biocides, a sealant is often applied by spraying it into the operating duct system. Laboratory tests indicate that materials introduced in this manner tend not to completely coat the duct surface. Application of sealants may also affect the acoustical (noise) and fire retarding characteristics of fiber glass lined or constructed ducts and may invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty.

Questions about the safety, effectiveness and overall desirability of sealants remain. For example, little is known about the potential toxicity of these products under typical use conditions or in the event they catch fire.

In addition, sealants have yet to be evaluated for their resistance to deterioration over time which could add particles to the duct air.

In the meantime…

Most organizations concerned with duct cleaning, including EPA, NADCA, NAIMA, and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) do not currently recommend the routine use of sealants
to encapsulate contaminants in any type of duct. Instances when the use of sealants
to encapsulate the duct surfaces may be appropriate include the repair of damaged fiber glass insulation or when combating fire damage within ducts. Sealants should never be used on wet duct liner, to cover actively growing mold, or to cover debris in the ducts, and should only be applied after cleaning according to NADCA or other appropriate guidelines or standards.

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To Learn More About Indoor Air Quality

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Office of Radiation and Indoor Air

Indoor Environments Division (6609J) 
www.epa.gov/iaq

1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, DC 20460

The following useful EPA publications are available on this web site, some
can be order from
NSCEP. (see also: www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/)

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To Learn More About Air Duct Cleaning

National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA)

1518 K Street, NW Suite 503

Washington, DC 20005

Phone: (202) 737-2926

E-mail: info@nadca.com

Website: www.nadca.com exiting EPA

Find a NADCA duct cleaner near you
exiting EPA

North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA)

44 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 310, Alexandria, VA 22314

Phone: (703) 684-0084

E-mail: www.naima.org/ exiting EPA

Website: NAIMA Member Company Listing www.naima.org/pages/about/members/members.html exiting EPA

“Cleaning Fibrous Glass Insulated Air Duct Systems; Recommended Practice”, see www.naima.org/pages/resources/library/order/AH122.HTML exiting EPA NAIMA Pub. No. AH122, 40 pages (Cost is $7.50 for a printed version, no free copies available.)

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Other Useful Resources

For a free list of state and local consumer protection agencies and Better Business Bureaus:

The Federal Citizen Information Center (a service of the U.S. General Services Administration)

Consumer Action Website – www.usa.gov

For more information on biocides:

Antimicrobial Information Hotline

Phone: (703) 308-0127 / Fax: (703) 308-6467

Monday-Friday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM EST

E-mail: Info_Antimicrobial@epa.gov

Website: www.epa.gov/oppad001/

The Antimicrobials Information Hotline provides answers to questions concerning current antimicrobial issues (disinfectants, fungicides, others) regulated by the pesticide law, rules and regulations. These cover interpretation laws, rules, and regulations, and registration and re-registration of antimicrobial chemicals and products. The Hotline also provide information health & safety issues on registered antimicrobial products, product label and the proper and safe use of these antimicrobial products.

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Consumer Checklist

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Learn as much as possible about air duct cleaning before you decide to have your ducts cleaned by reading this guidance and contacting the sources of information provided.
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Consider other possible sources of indoor air pollution first if you suspect an indoor air quality problem exists in your home.
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Have your air ducts cleaned if they are visibly contaminated with substantial mold growth, pests or vermin, or are clogged with substantial deposits of dust or debris.
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Ask the service provider to show you any mold or other biological contamination they say exists. Get laboratory confirmation of mold growth or decide to rely on your own judgment and common sense in evaluating apparent mold growth.
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Get estimates from at least three service providers.
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Check references.
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Ask the service provider whether he/she holds any relevant state licenses. As of 1996, the following states require air duct cleaners to hold special licenses: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan and Texas. Other states may also require licenses.
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Insist that the service provider give you knowledgeable and complete answers to your questions.
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Find out whether your ducts are made of sheet metal, flex duct, or constructed of fiber glass duct board or lined with fiber glass since the methods of cleaning vary depending on duct type. Remember, a combination of these elements may be present.
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Permit the application of biocides in your ducts only if necessary to control mold growth and only after assuring yourself that the product will be applied strictly according to label directions. As a precaution, you and your pets should leave the premises during application.
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Do not permit the use of sealants except under unusual circumstances where other alternatives are not feasible.
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Make sure the service provider follows the National Air Duct Cleaning Association’s (NADCA) standards and, if the ducts are constructed of flex duct, duct board, or lined with fiber glass, the guidelines of the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA)
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Commit to a preventive maintenance program of yearly inspections of your heating and cooling system, regular filter changes, and steps to prevent moisture contamination.

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FAQ for Residential – HVAC

  • Residential HVAC

    Residential HVAC

    ·  Are there any health benefits that come from HVAC system cleaning?

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems have been shown to act as a collection source for a variety of contaminants that have the potential to affect health, such as mold, fungi, bacteria, and very small particles of dust. The removal of such contaminants from the HVAC system and home should be considered as one component in an overall plan to improve indoor air quality.

  • ·  How can we determine if the HVAC system cleaning was effective?

The best way to determine if the HVAC system cleaning was effective is to perform a visual inspection of the system before and after cleaning. If any dust or debris can be seen during the visual inspection, the system should not be considered cleaned. While you can perform your own visual inspection using a flash light and mirror, a professional cleaning contractor should be able to allow you better access to system components and perhaps the use of specialized inspection tools. In addition, following this post-cleaning check list can help to ensure a top quality job.

  • ·  How long should it take to clean a typical residential HVAC system?

The amount of time it takes to clean a residential HVAC system depends on many variables such as the size of the home, the number of systems, the extent of the contamination and the number of HVAC cleaners performing the job. Ask at least two contractors to inspect your system and give you a time estimate for your particular system. This will give you a general idea of how long the job should take as well as an idea of how thoroughly the contractor plans to do the job.

  • ·  How often should residential HVAC systems be cleaned?

 Frequency of cleaning depends on several factors, not the least of which is the preference of the home owner. Some of the things that may lead a home owner to consider more frequent cleaning include:

• Smokers in the household.

• Pets that shed high amounts of hair and dander.

• Water contamination or damage to the home or HVAC system.

• Residents with allergies or asthma who might benefit from a reduction in the amount of indoor air pollutants in the home’s HVAC system.

• After home renovations or remodeling.

• Prior to occupancy of a new home.

  • ·  How should a residential HVAC be cleaned?

The most effective way to clean air ducts and ventilation systems is to employ Source Removal methods of cleaning. This requires a contractor to place the system under negative pressure, through the use of a specialized, powerful vacuum. While the vacuum draws air through the system, devices are inserted into the ducts to dislodge any debris that might be stuck to interior surfaces. The debris can then travel down the ducts to the vacuum, which removes it from the system and the home.

  • ·  What are antimicrobial chemicals and why would they need to be used?

Antimicrobial chemicals are applied by some companies to the interior surface of the air ducts, to treat microbial contamination such as fungi (mold), viruses or bacteria. Before any antimicrobial chemicals are used, the system should be thoroughly cleaned. It is critical that any antimicrobial treatment used in your system be registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency specifically for use in HVAC systems. The use of antimicrobial chemicals is an additional service that is not part of a typical air duct cleaning project.

  • ·  What criteria should I use when selecting an HVAC system cleaner?

 You should interview as many local contractors as possible. Ask them to come to your home and perform a system inspection and give you a quotation. To narrow down your pool of potential contractors, use the following pre-qualifications:

• Make sure the company is a member in good standing of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA).

• See if the company has been in business long enough to have adequate experience.

• Get proof that the company is properly licensed and adequately insured.

• Verify that the company is certified by NADCA to perform HVAC system cleaning.

• Make sure that the company is going to clean and visually inspect all of the air ducts and related system components.

• Avoid advertisements for “$99 whole house specials” and other sales gimmicks.

• Ask if the company has the right equipment to effectively perform cleaning, and if the company has done work in homes similar to yours. Get references from neighbors if possible.

  • ·  What is the normal price range for the air duct cleaning service?

 The Environmental Protection Agency says that “duct cleaning services typically – but not always – range in cost from $450 to $1000 per heating and cooling system, depending on the services offered, the size of the system to be cleaned, system accessibility, climactic region, and level of contamination” and type of duct material.

Consumers should beware of air duct cleaning companies that making sweeping claims about the health benefits of duct cleaning – such claims are unsubstantiated. Consumers should also beware of “blow-and-go” air duct cleaning companies. These companies often charge a nominal fee and do a poor job of cleaning the heating and cooling system. These companies may also persuade the consumer into unneeded services with and/or without their permission.

(If you have knowledge of a practicing “blow-and-go” air duct cleaner, contact your local Better Business Bureau to report the company, and your local, federal, and state elected officials to demand legislation.)

  • ·  What kind of equipment is best for cleaning truck mounted vacuums or portable vacuums?

 NADCA does not endorse one kind of equipment over another. There are two main types of vacuum collection devices: (1) those mounted on trucks and trailers, and (2) portable units. Truck/trailer mounted equipment is generally more powerful than portable equipment. However, portable equipment can often be brought directly into a facility, allowing the vacuum source to be located closer to the ductwork. Both types of equipment will clean to NADCA standards.

All vacuum units should be attached to a collection device for safe containment prior to disposal. Any vacuum collection device which exhausts indoors must be HEPA filtered.

A vacuum collection device alone will not get an HVAC system clean. The use of methods and tools designed to agitate debris adhered to the surfaces within the system, in conjunction with the use of the vacuum collection device(s), is required to clean HVAC systems. (For example: brushes, air whips, and “skipper balls.”)

  • ·  Why should I choose a NADCA member to have my air ducts cleaned?

NADCA Members have signed a Code of Ethics stating they will do everything possible to protect the consumer, and follow NADCA Standards for cleaning to the best of their ability, for a list of NADCA members near you, click here. Air duct cleaning companies must meet stringent requirements to become a NADCA Member. Among those requirements, all NADCA Members must have certified Air System Cleaning Specialists (ASCS) on staff, who have taken and passed the NADCA Certification Examination. Passing the exam demonstrates extensive knowledge in HVAC design and cleaning methodologies. ASCSs are also required to further their industry education by attending seminars in order to maintain their NADCA certification status.

You may view the NADCA Code of Ethics here.

  • ·  Will HVAC system cleaning reduce our home energy bills?

Research by the U.S. EPA has demonstrated that HVAC system cleaning may allow systems to run more efficiently by removing debris from sensitive mechanical components. Clean, efficient systems are less likely to break down, have a longer life span, and generally operate more effectively than dirty systems.

 

Queens NY Duct Cleaning

Better Air Quality Inc. offers twenty years of experience.  Located in New  York, Better Air Quality has managed to engrave a distinct position for itself in the market.  BAQ administrates air duct cleaning services with superiority in the Queens New York area.  With a team of professionals, the BAQ staff complies with industry guidelines related to air duct cleaning to ensure safety for all of their clients.

Air duct cleaning is the best  way to increase the quality of air you breathe.  It reduces the levels of dirt, debris, mold, pollen, dust mites and reduces your utility bills by improving the efficiency of your HVAC system.  Better Air Quality will  clean grilles and diffusers, supply and return air ducts, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, fan motor and fan housing, condensation drain pans (drip pans) and the air handling unit housing.

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duct-cleaning-queens-nyQueens New York information

Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City, the largest in area and the second-largest in population. The borough of Queens has been coterminous with Queens County since 1899. The county is now the second most populous county in New York State (behind Kings County), as well as the fourth-most densely populated county in the United States. Queens, as well as neighboring borough Brooklyn, sits on the west end of geographic Long Island. Queens is the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world[1] with a population of over 2.2 million, 48% of whom are foreign-born, representing over 100 different nations and speaking over 138 different languages.

If each New York City borough were an independent city, Queens would be America’s fourth most populous city, after Los Angeles, Chicago, and Brooklyn. Queens has the second-largest and most diversified economy of all the five boroughs of New York City.

The differing character in the neighborhoods of Queens is reflected by its diverse housing stock ranging from high-density apartment buildings, especially prominent in the more urban areas of central and western Queens, such as Astoria, Long Island City and Ridgewood, to large free-standing single-family homes, common in the eastern part of the borough, in neighborhoods that have a more suburban layout like neighboring Nassau County, such as Little Neck, Douglaston and Bayside.

Queens is home to two of the three major New York City area airports (and both major airports in New York City proper), JFK International Airport and LaGuardia Airport. These airports are among the busiest in the world, causing the airspace above Queens to be the most congested in the country. Attractions in Queens include Flushing Meadows Park—home to the New York Mets baseball team and the US Open tennis tournament—Kaufman Astoria Studios, Silvercup Studios, and Aqueduct Racetrack.

Queens was established in 1683 as one of the original 12 counties of New York and was named for the Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza (1638–1705), who was at the time queen of England, Scotland and Ireland.

Duct Cleaning Brooklyn NY

Better Air Quality Inc. (BAQ) is a full-service HVAC air duct cleaning company that has been in business for over 20 years, providing businesses and residences quality air duct sanitation services.  With excellence in the Brooklyn New York area, BAQ has managed to carve a distinct niche for itself in the market.  To insure safety to our clients, BAQ’s team members are thoroughly educated to strict industry guidelines related to air duct cleaning.

Various parts of heating and cooling systems of forced air systems require air duct sanitation maintenance to insure the quality of the air you breathe.    Sanitation of different components such as supply and return air ducts, heating and cooling coils, grilles and diffusers, fan motor and fan house, drip pans, and the air handling unit housing,  are an important part of this process.  Air duct sanitation reduces the levels of mold, pollen, dust mites, dirt and debris and improves the function and efficiency of your HVAC system.

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Brooklyn-NY-Duct-CleaningBrooklyn New York Information

Brooklyn  is the most populous of New York City’s five boroughs, with approximately 2.5 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated county in the United States, after New York County (Manhattan). It is also the westernmost county on Long Island. Today, if it were an independent city, Brooklyn would rank as the fourth most populous city in the U.S., behind only the other boroughs of New York City combined, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

Brooklyn was an independent city until January 1, 1898 when, according to the Charter of “Greater New York”, Brooklyn was consolidated with the other boroughs to form the modern “City of New York”. It continues to maintain a distinct culture. Many Brooklyn neighborhoods are ethnic enclaves where particular ethnic groups and cultures predominate. Brooklyn’s official motto is Eendraght Maeckt Maght. Written in the (early modern spelling of the) Dutch language, it is inspired by the motto of the United Dutch Provinces (currently the official motto of Belgium) and translated “Unity makes strength”. The motto is displayed on the borough seal and flag, which also feature a young robed woman bearing fasces, a traditional emblem of Republicanism. Brooklyn’s official colors are blue and gold.