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AIR DUCT CLEANING AND DECONTAMINATION
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A healthy indoor environment is one in which the surroundings contribute to productivity, comfort and a sense of health and well being. The qualities of good indoor air include:
For many years health authorities and governmental agencies have raised our awareness to the dangers of outdoor air pollution and have concentrated their efforts on finding ways to reduce pollutants generated by automobiles, factories, construction and mining. Over the past two decades scientist have been carefully examining the indoor air environment of our offices, factories and homes and they have found this environment to be even more hazardous to our health than outdoor air.
Indoor air contaminants can originate within the building or be drawn in from outdoors. Particulate matter can come from far away places like blowing desert sands & volcanic eruptions or from nearby sources such as pollinating trees, industrial emissions, vehicle exhaust, cleaning chemicals & pesticides. If these contaminant sources are not controlled, IAQ problems can arise. Statistics show that 1 out of 5 (50 million) Americans suffer from allergies caused by substances found in the home and office. Deaths related to asthma have risen 40% in the past two decades.
When grouped together in a poorly ventilated area, office machines, furnishings and even the seemingly innocent supplies in your desk drawer can emit a combination of pollutants strong enough to make your head ache, eyes water and throat itch. Here are some prime office offenders and their possible effects:
Prolonged exposure to dirty air can needlessly plague workers with skin irritations, respiratory problems and other chronic ailments. Radon or asbestos entering through cracked foundations or broken ceiling tiles can lead to cancer and other life threatening diseases. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who live in modern buildings come down with respiratory infections 45 percent more often than people in older structures.
The following air duct cleaning steps are for a full service air duct cleaning. The process of air duct cleaning involves four steps:
1) Clean the furnace/air conditioner.
After testing the system for proper operation, we will disconnect the power before opening the unit for safety. Next, vacuum the interior surfaces of the Furnace/Air Conditioner. Then clean the cooling coils with a HEPA vacuum and a coil cleaner, and clean the blower unit.
2) Clean the supply and return registers and grills.
Remove wall, ceiling and floor registers. Then wash register with Dynamite cleaner and rinse.
3) Clean the supply and return ducts.
Clean all air ducts using powerful air duct cleaning equipment. Decontaminate cleaned ducts with Soot Set duct sealant, and Odor Kill Deodorizer.
4) Install electrostatic air filter and odor control products.
Install Solid Odor Kill in the return to control odors for up to 3 months.
The extent of sick-building syndrome and the degree to which offices are affected can be difficult to pin down. Doctors haven’t determined what concentration of office pollutants is necessary to cause illness or exactly how they make people sick. Symptoms such as headaches, weariness, nausea, malaise, sneezing, wheezing and rashes may be brought on by chemicals in cleaning supplies, insecticides, and even high concentrations of molds & bacteria caused by standing water or they could simply be signs of flu, allergies or depression.
More frequently the victims make the connection between workplace illnesses themselves, following a gradual accumulation of evidence and doctor bills. Once workers establish a possible link it may take several months of complaining before administrators acknowledge that there may indeed be a problem. Many workers worry that they will be branded troublemakers for pushing the clean air issue and feel that company management will think it’s just a lot of hysterics.
Studies have shown that indoor air can be 2 to 5 times MORE polluted than outside air. Most disposable filters remove about 10% of these pollutants allowing 90% to enter the air system, even during the construction of a new home. The pollutants contain dust, pollen, mold spores, animal dander and much more. These materials collect in the furnace, air conditioner and duct surfaces, just as they do on the furniture and floor surfaces. The furniture and floor are cleaned regularly but the duct surfaces are hidden from view and can only be reached by specialized duct cleaning equipment. These pollutants can migrate out into the room again, or become a food source for mold and bacteria, which can thrive in this dark comfortable environment from high humidity or moisture from the air conditioner or humidifiers. Biological growth can release mold spores or toxins into the air system
Mold spores require a stable temperature, a food source and moisture to live and reproduce. Dust and dirt that go through the filter are a good food source. The furnace/air conditioner is designed to maintain a comfortable temperature, and moisture is available from humid conditions in the environment, the humidifier in the furnace or the cooling coils in an air conditioner. Live molds can release spores that will trigger allergic or asthmatic reactions, sometimes severe, in about 10% of the population. Mold both living and dead can produce toxins that may cause short term allergic reactions. Long term exposures to low levels of some mold toxins can result in permanent chemical sensitivity to common compounds in the environment.
All inside air was once outside air, so all of the dust, chemicals, pollen, insects and mold spores in the outside air can be pulled into the air system. People shed millions of tiny dead skin cells every hour. Cooking smoke, household insect sprays, personal care products are also a source of pollutants. Many construction materials, carpets, wood products and plastics give off pollutants as well. During construction or remodeling activities, many types of dust are produced and find their way into the duct work. If the duct components were stored outside prior to construction, they may have collected dust, rain water and even mold before they were installed in a system.
Once an air system is thoroughly cleaned, it should remain clean for 3 to 7 years if properly maintained and a high arrestance filter is installed. A standard disposable filter only stops about 10% of the airborne contaminates, allowing 90% of the dust in the room to flow back into the air system. To maintain protection against biological growth, an EPA registered biocide should be applied every 6 to 12 months by a qualified Duct Cleaning Professional.
Depending on the amount of contamination and its location, energy consumption could be increased. If the fan blades, evaporator coil or other control components of the system are heavily contaminated, the system may have to run much longer to cool or heat the occupied space, wasting a lot of energy.
This can depend on a lot of factors, such as the size of the home, the number of supply ducts, how long since the ducts were cleaned, etc. The whole system should be cleaned and a more efficient filter installed to keep the system clean longer. A competent duct cleaning company would not be able to do this for less than $200 for a small home or $800 for a large home.
Air system cleaning is a simple four step process. To view the details of this process, please view our duct cleaning procedures page.
There are 3 major parts to an air system:
All 3 components must be cleaned. If only one or two of the components are cleaned, the contaminates from the 3rd component will rapidly contaminate the ones that were cleaned.
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