Is Out of Sight, Out of Mind Making People Sick?

Cartoon of man scared of dirt coming out of air vent

Day in, day out, little by little; the air you’re breathing is getting worse.

The most overlooked area within most facilities is the ductwork for your heating and cooling system (HVAC) . Dust, mold, mites and allergens may be accumulating in your ducts, and they are being spread every time air is being moved.

If you don’t know when the system was cleaned last, it’s time. If your building has undergone renovations, it’s definitely time. If mold or mildew are a challenge due to high humidity, it’s past time.

A thorough inspection of the entire system from air handler down to individual air vents should be performed annually for most facilities. Light commercial is extended to two years. While the inspection doesn’t always lead to cleaning, if ducts have been cleaned sporadically or not at all, it’s highly likely to be necessary.

An inspection isn’t necessarily focused on dust accumulation. Rather, issues such as high moisture within the HVAC system will be identified and solutions presented. If mold or mildew are found, their elimination as quickly as possible is always far less expensive than leaving them untreated. When ignored, the remedy is often removal and replacement of the affected components.

Air duct cleaning is misleading

While typically referred to as air duct cleaning, the reality is that every component which is in the air stream from start to finish must be inspected, and when necessary cleaned. Coils, fans, dampers; if it is part of the enclosed air system it should be part of “air duct cleaning.” Contaminants left within any components will eventually find their way into the air building occupants breathe.

Choosing a reputable contractor.

Duct cleaning is being offered by a wide variety of businesses, some legitimate and some not. Companies, or technicians, unfamiliar with the proper service and repair of heating and cooling systems are not qualified to access your ductwork. Depending on your location, state licensing may be required for any contractor who services any part of your HVAC system, including air ducts. In Michigan, the state requires a category 3 mechanical contractors license for both commercial and residential duct cleaning. In situations where sanitizers or deodorizers are to be applied, Michigan requires a pesticide license.

Unlicensed contractors simply aren’t able to do a thorough, professional job.

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