Clean Ducts Will Give You a Healthier Environment in Your Living Spaces
Air pollution comes with its own share of hazards, and while this may be difficult to control when you are out in traffic, you can make an endeavor to make your indoor air clean and safe, through having it pass through efficient filtration, and also the regular cleaning of any air ducts.
Air ducts are common in HVAC systems that are used or both heating and cooling, and where you have centralized units for the dispersal of conditioned air that is meant to increase the sense of comfortable living. These ducts will pick up dust even with the best of filtration. The major contributor to dust, pet hair and other debris that gets into ducts comes from the return air that carries this away from the living spaces after they have cooled or heated them. These can again get back into the system, and cause problems like nasal congestion, asthma, and many respiratory diseases. Children and the elderly are the most vulnerable to these problems.
It, therefore, becomes important, that in order to ensure a clean home environment or even any working space, duct cleaning be undertaken at regular intervals in order to rid the insides surfaces of the duct of all the accumulations it has gathered from a large number of air exchanges that is has facilitated during its working. The process of cleaning ducts is relatively simple, but properly attended to, can make for an overall improvement in conditions that can ensure good health for all the people using that space.
Air ducts are square, rectangular, or round and can be made of metal or fiberglass. Metal ducts may need insulation in order to preserve temperatures. These ducts are part of the ventilation system in any home or other building. The dirt and debris that accumulates in ducts can also increase the cost of operation of the HVAC system, and regular duct cleaning has been known to increase the efficiency of the system by as much as 20%. Duct cleaning is also necessary, as a dirty duct can cause the air in the living and working space to be five times more polluted than the outside environment, thus making it difficult to breathe in. Most HVAC system use filters to trap dust and debris, but in reality, 10 percent of the pollution does get through, and more so, when the cleaning of filters or replacing them is a neglected activity. This pollution that has escaped the filters then settles on surfaces and furniture, thus endangering the inside environment. You will, as a matter of housekeeping, clean the floors, dust collecting surfaces, and furniture, but even during this process dust can get into the air and find its way into the ducts when the air is being returned to the heating or cooling equipment. This dust will then accumulate in the duct, reduce the efficiency of operations, and continue to be a health hazard.
Another problem that can occur when dust and dirt accumulate in ducts, is that they can become a food source for many other forms of organic contamination. The ducts are dark, and sometimes damp and this makes the conditions ideal for promoting the growth of viruses, fungi, bacteria, and mold. Dead skin cells, pet dander, and moisture from exhalation constantly find their way into ducts, and then produce the unhealthy conditions that lead to respiratory problems.
The best duct cleaning is carried out by professionals who will use various techniques and tools to clean the duct thoroughly and give you a duct system that is clean and healthy to use. These experts will first assess the degree of degradation of the air through air sampling, and may even take samples from inside the duct. This will give them an indication of the areas that require maximum attention, and may also give them an indication of whether the dirt is a result of poor filters or other extraneous conditions. During any cleaning process, the grills that let out or take in the air will be sealed with plastic. The cleaning crew may introduce small cameras with lights into the ducts that will enable them to see the actual condition of the ducts and decide on the techniques to be used for cleaning. They will then use special tools to loosen the debris that has built up, and then use high power vacuums to remove the loosened dirt and debris. The cleaning process can also use brushes that are introduced into the duct, and controlled by cables. The type of brushes used will depend on the material that the duct is made up of, as fiberglass ducts are better cleaned with softer brushes. Every part that is cleaned will be thoroughly inspected again, and the process of cleaning continued till the surfaces are back to their original condition. Sanitizing solutions may then be introduced to give some degree of protection to the inside surfaces of the duct.
It is essential that this process of duct cleaning be carried out at least once every three years if the living spaces are constantly being used. It is equally important to pay a lot of attention to filters and see that they are cleaned or replaced as suggested by the professionals. The use of HEPA filters which have a high degree of particle removal can increase the quality of air, and reduce the need for cleaning of ducts to longer periods. Duct cleaning is important for both heating and air conditioning systems, and more so, if the ducts are common.
During the process of duct cleaning, you may often get other information about the condition of the ducts, and whether they are leaking at any part of their traverse of your living or working space. The repairs to these leaks and sealing them can, in turn, increase the efficiency of heating and cooling, and lead to lower power consumption. It is also essential that while the ducts are being cleaned, other parts of the HVAC systems are also cleaned of all dirt and debris, as otherwise, this contamination can get back into the system.