Air Duct Cleaning

 Should you treat your ducts with chemicals for cleaning?

When you are about to hire a duct cleaning company, you are more conscious about the expertise and experience of the cleaners than anything else. Well, it is not wrong to know these before you sign them up for the job, but there is another parameter that you have to consider. Firstly you should know the condition of your ducts. If it is laden only with dirt and debris or there is mold and mildew growing actively. Your cleaner can tell you about this. But the best way is to locate the black patches that are symptoms of mold. Take a small portion of it on a sticky tape and send it to a micro biological laboratory for confirmation. Another symptom of mold is strange discoloration at the vents. Once it is established that there is mold growing in your duct work, you should ask the cleaner how he is going to remove it from the roots. Source removal is the methodology that gives the best results. Just wiping and cleaning the mold patches will have them growing there before long. This time the growth rate will be greater than before.

What most duct cleaners recommend to terminate microbial growth in the duct is sealants, chemicals, and biocides. Let’s see the various options available to disinfect ducts from bacterial growth-

 Antimicrobial

These are a class of chemicals that are specially manufactured to disinfect the HVAC system from molds, fungi and bacteria. These grow often in duct pipes, HVAC coils, and blowers. Antimicrobial are quite efficient in controlling microbial growth but spraying them in ducts can lead to health hazards. These chemicals will find their way in to your rooms with the air that passes through ducts. When the contractor is using these chemicals, take a look at the label on the dispenser to know the procedures of using it and the possible side effects. Ensure that these are strictly adhered to.

 Resurfacing Solutions

These solutions are used after cleaning your ducts thoroughly off all debris, dirt and mold patches. These solutions are applied on the inside surface of the duct. It coats the internal surface with a thin layer that will keep mold and mildew at bay. It will also protect your system from rust and moisture. It increases the lifespan of your ducts and prevents duct deterioration over a long time. The best part of applying resurfacing solution is that it will make the internal surface smoother and boost airflow.

 Coil cleaning chemicals

These reused if your HVAC ducts and coils are dirty beyond description. They are generally applied on the hard surfaces of a HVAC system. It removes build ups quite fast without heavy scrubbing. There are generally two types of coil cleaner. The acidic one works very fast. It liquidates and removes the buildup. The alkaline one also works in the same way but it uses natural products like hydroxide. However, when using these keep in mind the harshness of the solution.

 Soaps and detergents

Detergents are used when your ducts and other HVAC components have been taken care of by you quite systematically and meticulously. As a result the surfaces have not been covered by dust-mat. In such a case soaps or detergent can be used to dissolve the minimal buildup. Soaps and detergents have certain advantages over duct cleaning chemicals. First of all they are not likely to cause health hazards. Being mild they will not cause any harm to the sur-face. They are also easy to use and are cheaper. 

In case your contractor is recommending use of duct cleaning chemicals for cleaning your ducts, take a look at the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) on the solution to know its side-effects as well as potential results. If the contractor can't show you the MSDS, don't agree to the use of the chemical in your home.

 The NADCA does not encourage duct cleaning chemicals

The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) is a body that stipulates rules for HVAC maintenance and restoration. It is urging contractors and unit owners to keep duct cleaning chemicals away as a far as possible. It recommends adhering by the Assessment Cleaning and Restoration (ACR) standards for duct cleaning and treatments. ACR always lays emphasis on physical removal of source.