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    Poorly maintained heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)

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    systems harbor mold, fungi, bacteria and other disease-carrying

    biological pollutants that are re-circulated through forced-air systems.

    Given the right conditions of temperature and moisture, these contaminants can flourish in ductwork and flow out into the workspace, causing issues for your employees as well as your equipment. Employing the services of a professional commercial air duct cleaning service helps combat this.

    Proper air duct cleaning not only leads to better indoor air quality (IAQ) but also improves employee efficiency, increases employee retention, helps ensure a safe working environment and reduces equipment maintenance costs. This means that keeping your facility clean can be good for your bottom line.

    But how do you know if your air ducts need cleaning? In this blog, we’ll discuss a few red flags that indicate when there’s a need for commercial air duct cleaning.

    How to Tell if Your Air Ducts Need Cleaning

    1. Spikes in Your Energy Bill

    Are you noticing an increase in your energy bill, but there’s no explanation for the spike? If so, your HVAC system may be dirty, which reduces the system’s efficiency. Steadily climbing energy bills signify that there is a block or a leak in your ductwork.

    For example, when dirt and dust accumulation restrict airflow, the system won’t be able to effectively circulate warmed or cooled air throughout your facility. Leaking ducts can also cause heated or cooled air to escape through the gaps in your ductwork, forcing your HVAC system to run longer and use more energy.

    Commercial air duct cleaning can reduce your energy bills. When your HVAC system is cleaned and leaks are fixed, your system doesn’t have to work as hard, thus using less energy and improving cost-effectiveness.

    2. Dirt or Dust Around the Vents and Registers

    The National Air Duct Cleaners Association’s (NADCA) rule of thumb is “If your air ducts look dirty, they probably are.” They recommend that dirty HVAC systems be inspected by a reputable, certified HVAC professional. 

    If you see dust and debris around your air vents, your HVAC system likely has a large number of contaminants flowing through the air ducts. When this happens, not only does it make your facility dusty, but your health can be negatively impacted. Dirty ducts can trigger allergy symptoms and other respiratory illnesses. 

    3. Mold

    Your HVAC system can develop condensation, leading to the growth of mold. Mold can grow anywhere, and it’s especially common if you live in a humid climate.

    Mold grows fast, and you may spot mold near your vent registers. Unfortunately, many components of your system aren’t easily accessible, making mold in your air ducts difficult to detect visually. While mold may be difficult to see, it usually gives off a musty odor.

    If you have mold in your air ducts, it’s important to take action quickly to preserve your building’s IAQ. A commercial air duct cleaning technician will be able to identify and remediate any mold issues and help to prevent them in the future.

    4. Your Facility Was Just Built or Has Undergone a Major Renovation

    Construction is messy. No matter what’s being built or what materials are used, there’s always a residual mess that is created during and after the project—especially dust and debris.

    No matter how diligent contractors are about cleaning up and closing off work areas to keep the rest of the site tidy, dust and debris will always find a way inside your ductwork. And because construction and remodeling dust can contain numerous OSHA-regulated toxins and carcinogens, it’s best to get the issue under control quickly before respiratory problems develop.

    5. No Record of Prior Duct Cleaning

    If you have an older building (10 years or older) and you possess no record from previous owners of any air duct cleaning, it probably has never had this service, or it’s been a long time.

    In the same way that regular oil changes are important to the efficiency and safety of operating your vehicle, cleaning your air ducts is crucial to the ongoing health of your HVAC system. Like with oil changes, time itself can be an excellent way to decide if you need duct cleaning. When was the last time you had your HVAC system serviced? Has it been five years? Has it been 10 years?

    This alone is a warning sign, because you’re allowing a potential problem to manifest and become much more severe than it should be. People don’t ignore things like oil changes with their cars because they know it will inevitably cause problems in the future. You should treat your indoor air quality with the same care.

    The Cost of Sick Buildings

    A “sick building” is defined as a building in which the environment puts the occupants at risk for upper respiratory infections. According to NADCA:

    • One in every four buildings in the U.S. can be classified as sick.
    • IAQ problems cost the U.S. economy as much as $168 billion per year.
    • An estimated $60 billion is lost in productivity due to poor IAQ.
    • U.S. adults miss about 14 million workdays per year as a result of asthma, an issue commonly triggered by poor IAQ.
    • The efficiency of a cooling system with dirty coils can be reduced by as much as 30%. 

    Benefits of Cleaning Air Ducts

    NADCA sets the industry standard for HVAC cleaning. When done correctly, HVAC cleaning can have many benefits, including:

    • Cleaner, healthier indoor air
    • Lower operational and maintenance costs
    • Reduced energy costs by over 30%
    • Greater work productivity due to fewer illnesses
    • Improved government inspection ratings
    • Cleaner offices, classrooms, facilities and other workplace environments
    • A more professional image with an improved environment

    How Often Should Air Ducts Be Cleaned?

    Air ducts, like any other HVAC system, require regular cleaning to ensure maximum efficiency. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) recommends air duct cleaning every three to five years.

    In some settings, however, the need for commercial air duct cleaning is more immediate. Food manufacturers, for instance, require duct cleaning services on a quarterly, semi-annual and annual basis due to the food particulate they get in their systems, leading to mold and pest concerns. The same goes for manufacturing operations that create combustible dust hazards.

    Hospitals also need air duct cleaning services on a much more regular basis because they’re concerned about any kind of particulate that might pose a risk to patients.

    Discover the Benefits of Better IAQ

    At Service-Tech Corporation, we offer solutions for all air duct cleaning needs. We have extensive experience and knowledge to help you maintain a clean and safe work environment for your employees. 

    Contact us today to find out more about our commercial air duct cleaning services and the importance of keeping your facility clean with healthy indoor air.


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