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Why you Should Maintain your Commercial HVAC with Regular Professional Air Duct Cleaning

Posted on October 20, 2021

Consider having your commercial air ducts cleaned by a professional at regular intervals. This will keep the indoor air in your workspace clean, keep rising energy costs under control, and mitigate the spread of airborne pathogens like bacteria and viruses.

Indoor air quality is one of those precarious things that is easy to forget about. Going about the day-to-day grind at work can make anybody forget about the last time air ducts were cleaned or filters were replaced. However, commercial HVAC systems perform at their peak when maintenance is done consistently every three to five years.

Be kind to the filters
When HVAC ducts are not cleaned regularly, problems will spring up over time. As dust, sediment, mold, and dirt start to line the inside of the ductwork, it increases the load placed on the filters, which reduces indoor air quality. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) estimates that indoor air pollutants are often two to five times higher than outdoor levels. This is particularly alarming given the current prevalence of respiratory illness caused by the pandemic.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate absorbing filters, are whatsit at the end of most ducts where the air is released. They are highly effective at removing airborne particulate and have remained the institutional gold standard in indoor air quality for decades. Generally, they remove 99% of airborne particulate that are 0.3 micrometers in size or smaller. When the ducts that feed the filter are particularly dirty, the filters are essentially is constant use. This means that the operator would have to change the filters prematurely to attain the same level of air quality if they were clean.

This is problematic because if the operator is not having the air ducts cleaned regularly, it is unlikely that they are on top of things with the filters either. One of the most toxic substances that collect in dirty ducts is mold. When airborne mold is inhaled, it is notorious for causing acute asthma attacks and migraines. Both of these can have devastating impacts on worker health and productivity. A 2019 study from the Journal of Asthma and Allergy estimated that the average percentage of work hours missed in a single week due to asthma was 9.3%. One of the worst outcomes for office morale is Sick Building Syndrome or SBS. This is when people develop illnesses from being in the building where they work or reside. SBS is caused by volatile organic compounds, that release pathogens into the air. Mold is one such compound.

Keep the moving parts clean
In the summertime, a dirty air conditioning coil will reduce the system’s ability to cool the air efficiently. Not as much cold air will be dispersed, so it will require more running time to cool the building. Similarly, a blocked or clogged condenser will reduce the threshold of heat transfer that normally occurs. When this happens, the temperature of the condenser will rise, reducing baseline efficiency. If this is not dealt with, the condenser could fail, leaving the occupants without any indoor air temperature control. In colder months, a clogged or dirty heat exchanger will lessen the amount of warm air that travels from the furnace, so a longer running time will be required to attain the desired temperature. Such strained usage will shorten the life of the equipment.

Another issue is the performance of the blowers. When dirt and dust get near the blower motors, it can cause them to overheat, because the belt does not turn as smoothly. Or, if they use brushes, the brushes do not rotate as seamlessly. Such repeated strain can cause them to fatigue, and eventually fail. Blower motor failure is disastrous. Often, the whole system must remain shut down until they can be replaced, which means relocating everyone and everything temporarily. Because blower motors are not a part that is replaced too often, it can take some time for new ones to be ordered.

Call in the professionals
Using a professional HVAC cleaning and maintenance service can prevent these things from happening altogether. The technicians clean the air ducts, making sure they are free of dust, dirt, and debris, as well as making sure the diffusers are free of blockages too. And then there is also the task of ensuring that the condenser is free of blockages and not overheating.

The crews also clean and maintain the blowers. This will reduce the risk of them failing and causing problems in the future. One way they can determine how well your system functions overall is by testing the air quality. This will reveal the level of particulate in the air, which indicates how well the filters are performing. Doing all of this regularly and consistently will deliver the best results in the long run.

Ultimately, most of these things are important for safeguarding the health and productivity of the occupants. No employer wants their place of business to be a spreader or facilitator of illness. Like any machine with lots of moving parts, there is always wear and tear. Preventing it entirely is impossible, but there are always ways to mitigate the problems. Reduced worker productivity due to illness and rising energy costs can begin to add up. Although lowering costs by avoiding maintenance may seem attractive in the short run, the true negative effects will show up sooner or later in the form of having to relocate everyone due to HVAC failure, or hospital admission due to acute asthma attacks, elevated by poor indoor air quality. At a time when reputation and trust are everything in the business world, why take the risk?

Airtek has successfully completed over 95,000 duct cleaning jobs across California in almost 30 years. Contact commercial HVAC professionals today!

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