healthcare facility air duct cleaning

Healthcare Facility Air Duct Cleaning: 5 Contractor Traits to Look For

Hospitals and healthcare facilities are 24/7 living, breathing environments and that means that maintaining indoor air quality is an integral part of operations and vital in the effort to prevent the spread of airborne disease, especially in critical areas of hospitals, in which patients are immunocompromised. This is exactly why regular air duct cleaning needs to be performed by licensed and experienced professionals.

In addition, HVAC system cleaning allows systems to run more efficiently by removing debris from sensitive mechanical components, and clean, efficient HVAC systems are less likely to break down, have a longer life span, and generally operate more effectively than dirty systems.

Here are five traits healthcare engineers can keep in mind when searching for a contractor to help keep air quality high at their facility:

1. Industry Standard

Schedule routine servicing and cleaning of air ducts with a contractor who is trained in and uses use the HVAC industry’s standard requirements – ACR: The NADCA Standard – to ensure that HVAC systems are assessed, cleaned and restored safely and efficiently.

2. Preventative Solutions
In addition to routine servicing and cleaning, facilities manager and healthcare engineers should also keep an eye forward to work with their air duct provider on preventative maintenance solutions that stop problems before they start.

3. Focused on Partnership
Does your contractor work with (and around) the needs of your nursing staff, engineers, and facilities personnel? Are they proactive in building relationships and developing plans to keep everyone on the same page and working effectively and safely?

4. Certification Expertise
Is your air quality and air duct cleaning partner experienced in achieving and maintaining certification from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations?

5. Valid License
Always check the license status of your contractor. You can look up your contractor at or call 1-800-321-2752.

By looking out for these five traits, you can be more secure in your choice of an air duct cleaning provider that understands the unique needs and challenges presented in a healthcare facility.

Read more about the project AirTek completed for a Los Angeles health clinic.

Stop Ebola in Africa

Preventing the Spread of Infectious Disease

Luckily, it sounds like an outbreak of the Ebola virus in the US has been averted, but we have all been thinking about how to stop infections diseases from infecting more people every day. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are (or should be) accustomed to the practices which prevent infectious disease from spreading from patient to patient and patient to caregiver.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1 in 25 hospital patients “end up with hospital acquired infections.” That sounds like a lot of people getting sick from being in the hospital. They estimate that in 2011 75,000 deaths were related to hospital acquired infections.

Hospital acquired infections can range from urinary tract and surgical site infections to viral infections when sick populations interact with patients who are immune compromised.

Some hospitals are much worse than others. What’s the difference?

Preventing Hospital Acquired Infection and the Spread of Infectious Disease

Your hospital should be:

Cleaning and maintaining ventilation systems

Cleaning and maintaining water systems

Training facilities personnel in best practices

You should be:

Washing your hands with soap and water frequently, even in the hospital

Get vaccinated on schedule

Stay home if you are sick

Don’t share personal grooming items or cosmetics

Don’t touch your eyes or nose unless you have just washed your hands

Staying out of the hospital if possible by getting regular healthcare before you are in an emergency situation

AirTek offers many services to healthcare facilities, including:

  • Infection Control
  • Fire and Smoke Damper Inspections
  • Fire Stopping Services
  • Complete Air Duct Cleaning
  • HVAC Cleaning
  • Dryer Vent Cleaning
  • Kitchen Hood and Exhaust Cleaning
  • Video Inspection

We would be happy to help your facility prevent infectious diseases, even when we are not all talking about Ebola 24/7.



commercial hood cleaning

Commercial Hood Cleaning for Healthcare Facilities

The kitchen ranges used in hospitals and other healthcare facilities accumulate grease inside the exhaust hood, which if left unchecked can become sticky and dirty exposing you, your employees and patients to fire and health hazards.

Healthcare engineers and facilities managers need to ensure that the kitchen exhaust hoods are being cleaned every 90 days by a contractor who is fully trained in accordance with the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) and International Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning Association (IKECA) regulations and procedures.

If possible, it’s best to have an IKECA-certified exhaust cleaning specialist (CECS) who will have been trained in best practices, completed 1,000 hours of work experience, and have passed a comprehensive exam on industry guidelines, codes and standards.

An Overview of the Cleaning Process
A thorough servicing will include the cleaning of the hood, plenum, duct risers, filtration system and filters, grease boxes, kitchen equipment, exhaust fans, washable ceilings, floors, ductwork, and rooftop. The technician(s) will then use a power washing and steam cleaning process that cleans ductwork down to the “bare metal” and reaches into the depths of the duct for thorough servicing.

In addition, if the grease buildup is initially too excessive for power and steam cleaning, it’s important that the technicians conduct an initial scraping of the duct systems.

The cleaning procedure – step by step

Cleaning the Receptacles

Commercial hood cleaning starts with dismantling the exhaust system. Once the parts are dismantled, the next step is to remove the grease receptacles and thoroughly clean them.

Typically the receptacles slide outwards from the sides of the exhaust hood and any liquid found on the receptacles will be carefully removed and safely disposed. The receptacle is then soaked into a mixture of grease cutting detergent and hot water until the grease is completely removed. At which time the receptacles are taken out of the mixture and hung to dry.

While the receptacles soak, the inner surfaces of the exhaust hood will need to be scrubbed to remove any baked grease residue lining the interiors.

Cleaning the Filters

After removing the grease receptacles, it’s time to take down the filters from the commercial hood. The filters are soaked in a solution of detergent and hot water (note that the soaking time will vary based on the severity of the grease build-up.) As soon as the grease residue becomes loose enough, the filters will be taken out of the solution and lightly scrubbed to take off any remaining bits of residue. Once clean, they’ll be air dried before fitting them back into the hood.

Cleaning the Rest of the Commercial Exhaust Hood

A degreasing solution will be sprayed on the exhaust hood and will loosen any grease residue on the surfaces. The residue will fall off on its own and a sponge or cloth will be used to wipe the surfaces to remove any remaining residues.

If stubborn spots persist, a scraping will be done using nylon sponges and plastic scrapers to avoid damaging the surfaces of the hood. Afterwards the hood will be rinsed and dried at which point the filters will be replaced as well as the receptacles.

Cleaning the Rest

After the initial cleaning, it’s time for the power washing and steam cleaning portion of the job. This level of servicing will ensure that grease is removed from even the places in the duct that cannot be reached by hand.

Consider Professional Commercial Hood Cleaning

It would be misleading to say that you can’t clean your hoods on your own. However, for the most thorough and safe cleaning, it’s always best to hire a professional. Look for the following four qualities when hiring a contractor:

  • IKECA membership – IKECA stands for the International Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning Association. Members of the association uphold the highest standards in kitchen exhaust cleaning.
  • IKECA-certified exhaust cleaning specialist (CECS) – They will have been trained in best practices, completed 1,000 hours of work experience, and have passed a comprehensive exam on industry guidelines, codes and standards.
  • Multiple cleaning methods – Exhaust cleaning isn’t just about hand scraping the grease off surfaces. Ask the contractor to walk you through all of the steps they take when servicing a kitchen hood. Steam cleaning and power washing should be part of the process.
  • Help with servicing the larger air control system – The cleanliness of the kitchen exhaust system affects your entire air control system. A reputable hood cleaner will know this and offer suggestions on how to improve the entire air system of your facility overall.

Read more about the project AirTek completed for a Los Angeles health clinic.

infectious control

Infectious Control: 3 Considerations During Healthcare Facility Renovations

Healthcare engineers and facilities managers gearing up for a renovation project understand just how important it is to manage the infectious control process and protect the facility’s integrity during construction activities that can affect air quality, increase the risk of infection in some patients, and stir up dust and other airborne particles.

Here are three areas to consider when vetting out an infectious control contractor to maintain the health and well-being of patients and healthcare workers during renovation and construction projects at healthcare facilities.

Permits & Risk Assessments & Safety Strategies
Does your contractor have experience generating permits for similar jobs? There will likely be need for ICRA (infection control risk assessments) permits and assessments before work begins so you’ll want to make sure they know how to coordinate and pull necessary permits. Your contractor should work closely with facility management to develop control and safety strategies, beginning with conducting an infectious control risk assessment that will be instrumental in constructing a project management plan.

Containment Barriers
Setting up proper containment methods and as well as being knowledgeable in the proper equipment usage is key in coordinating a successful renovation or construction project. Does your contractor use on-site safety officers and quality controllers to inspect the work and ensure proper setup?

Find out if they have experience:

  • building and utilizing containment areas for controlling and monitoring negative air pressure
  • conducting terminal cleaning
  • ensuring compliance with health and safety rules and regulations
  • coordination of firewall penetration installations
  • inspections of fire stopping in compliance with current fire codes

Non-invasive Activities
Ask after the strategies they employ as regards non-invasive activities and inspections. Do they use short duration activity strategies to create minimal dust? What are the tried and true methods they use during demolition, building component removal, and new construction projects which can create moderate to high levels of dust?

Read more about the project AirTek completed for a Los Angeles health clinic.

The Importance of Having a Sealed Ventilation System

Sealed Ventilation Systems

Having a clean ventilation system is important because it can maintain the indoor air quality at neutral levels and help the system work properly. The importance of a sealed ventilation systems is important in any environment. Having an air duct system sealed also plays an important part in maintaining your environment comfortable. The air we breathe indoors is circulated to maintain proper indoor conditions. Our HVAC systems will operate to heat, cool, dehumidify and filter out contaminants indoors. Contaminants found indoors can be dust, debris and pet dander. However, when a system is not properly sealed many problems can arise and cause the system to perform poorly.Below are the some examples of what happens when ducts are not sealed.


  • Avoid any leaks: When a system leaks it can cause musty and moldy odors.
  • Air leakage: Air will bypass to the air filter and you might see dust covered in several areas when  you have finished cleaning your home.
  • High Energy Bill.
  • Moisture Build-Up
  • Unconditioned air can be drawn into return ducts through the unsealed ducts.

It is important to maintain proper maintenance in HVAC systems but it is also important to have sealed ducts to avoid any issues and to maintain a comfortable healthy environment The National Air Duct Cleaners Association states, ” Many times the air ducts are not installed with proper support, and over time the joints pull apart.”Business owners also can see these same problems and can lead to occupant complaints. If you have any questions regarding your HVAC system, we service many areas in California and industries. Contact us with any of your concerns and questions and we will be of assistance. AirTek strives in creating cleaner, healthier and more energy efficient indoor environments and have been doing so for over 25 years.


Air Pollution in Jerusalem Down 99% – How Did They Do It?

A recent World Health Organization study reported that Israel’s air quality is remarkably poor. In fact they ranked 22nd worst for air pollution out of the 1600 countries measured.

With so many beloved and important sites in Israel, one would hope that they would do a better job protecting their infrastructure if not their population. But in common with many other small countries with high population density, Israel has a problem with emissions and particles.

Israel tied with Chile and Sri Lanka for particulate matter.

Last week, however, during the Yom Kippur holiday, Jerusalem’s air pollution was down an amazing 99%! How did they do it?

No traffic.

Everyone stayed home.

The Environmental Protection Ministry put it best:

“The great improvement in air quality on this day is indicative of the impact of transportation as the main source of air pollution in big cities.” Jerusalem Post

What do you think would happen in the US if, instead of jumping in our cars on Thanksgiving, we stayed home? Thanksgiving is the biggest travel day of the year here and we all want to see family, but I wonder what would happen if we decided to stay local? How much of a difference would it make to our air quality?

We usually stay home for Thanksgiving, but this year we will be taking the train down to Orange County. How far will you be going and how much pollution will you produce? Worth a thought!

Creating Comfortable Environments in Old Buildings

old and new window contrast

As more and more people are doing their research in establishing comfortable and environmentally friendly environments, we see more buildings getting renovated. Many buildings might get a cosmetic renovation and other buildings are renovated from floor to roof. This also means that an improvement in the HVAC system will also change. The News Magazine recently wrote an article about a building being renovated in the city of providence in Rhode Island. One of the buildings exterior was designed beautifully, however the energy costs were sky rocketing. Two conflicts were costing the building to fail. Operating costs were getting expensive and the indoor air quality was not improving. Comfort levels inside the building also were not exceeding expectations. The building was getting damp year round and the HVAC system was also failing.

The solution to create a comfortable atmosphere is to revamp an old buildings system

The solution for this old building is to create a dual design system. Technicians in this area installed a 5,100 lineal feet of duct in the building. A very challenging solution but the result was perfect for the building. A neutral temperature of fresh air was delivered, energy costs declined, and programmable thermostats were installed to control the heating and cooling systems when they do not have to be used. This might have been a perfect example of what new technology can do to a building.

If you are looking for a solution to create a comfortable environment for a property that you own, revamp your HVAC system. In addition, if your system needs maintenance contact us to set up an appointment with us. We can help your system work more efficiently again. AirTek strives in creating cleaner, healthier and more energy efficient indoor environments and have been doing so for over 25 years.

ifma luncheon ladies

Fall Fun for AirTek!

With the kids firmly ensconced in school and the temperatures finally dropping, AirTek has had a very busy October already, with more excitement yet to come! Here is some of our fall fun!

We started our week off at the International Facility Management Association luncheon:

IFMA Luncheon

Later in the week, we had a lovely day at the Bank of American United Way Golf Classic:

boaunitedwaygolftournament booth


We even played!


We finished off with Oktoberfest with the California Society of Healthcare Engineering:


We will be making some of our own fall fun later this month, with our own Oktoberfest celebrating the opening of our newest office in Torrance! Watch this space!



Problems Caused by a Dirty Condenser Coil

Hvac systems

There are several parts in an HVAC system that help make the system work more efficiently and help reduce energy usage. One of the components that are part of helping the system work properly and more efficiently are the coils. There are three main mechanical components and are a compressor, an evaporator coil and a condenser coil. The condenser coil plays an important part in the system and should be clean. The condenser coil will release heat, so that the refrigerant can cool off. When the coils are dirty, it forces the compressors to run longer and makes the system work harder. The end result,is an increase in energy usage and in utility costs and less colder air in your home. What’s one the best thing you can do to your system to run more effectively? Make sure that the coils are cleaned when you hire a professional and are inspected at least every year. You want to make sure that the coils are cleaned as necessary.

What happens when a condenser coil is dirty in the system?

  • Decreases air flow
  • Air Quality will decrease and system to fail
  • Decrease the life of the system’s motor
  • Decreased comfort
  • Higher Electricity Bill (30% more energy than needed according to PG&E)

It is important to do a yearly inspection to avoid having the coils packed with dirt.The condenser coil is very delicate and when not properly maintained it cab be very dirty. A technician who is certified is recommended to proceed the cleaning process of your system. If you system needs an inspection you may contact us and we can help your system work more efficiently again. AirTek strives in creating cleaner, healthier and more energy efficient indoor environments and have been doing so for over 25 years.

Air Quality in Los Angeles

Better Air Quality Reducing Cancer Risk by Half

Some great news for those of us who live and work in the L.A. Basin–great strides have been made in improving our air quality!

The South Coast Air Quality Management District is reporting that between 2005 and 2012, measured levels of cancer causing particulates in our air have been significantly reduced. Their computer models predict that the estimated number of persons-per-million who will develop cancer due to those particulates has gone down from 1,194 to 418 over that period.

Barry Wallerstein, executive officer of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, calls it “one of the region’s greatest achievements in pollution control, according to Southern California Public Radio.

But we still have a long way to go. Right now, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment is preparing new guidelines for cancer risk to be published in 2015 which are expected to show that air pollution is more dangerous than previously believed. So while incredible improvements have been made, it has become even more crucial that we continue on down the road to cleaner air.

How can we help reduce air pollution in our environment?

  • Drive less, bike and walk more
  • Take public transportation
  • Don’t idle when waiting to pick up kids from school or other activities
  • Reduce energy usage at home
  • Observe no-burn days
  • Follow smog regulations for your car

The air has improved tremendously in Los Angeles in recent years, but the importance of improving our air quality only increases. The more we know, the more we know we have to do better.

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