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The Complete Guide to Ductwork Cleaning

21/01/2022
The Complete Guide to Ductwork Cleaning
First impressions matter and this is why business owners work so hard to create the perfect atmosphere in their buildings when clients walk in. Clients, sometimes sub-consciously, recall all that they see, smell, and hear. The sense of smell is the one that activates the limbic regions of the brain and that instant like or dislike impression is often caused by a lingering but not exactly pleasant back odour emanating from the fabric and history of the building.

 Your ductwork contains vehicle fume deposits. Silicates from the building process, paper dust and dead skin cells from previous occupants, and all these allergens and dust that affect the overall ambience of your business are clustering for your nose, your employer’s nose and your Client’s nose’s attention! 

Yes, sometimes, the dirtiest and most unhealthy sectors of your business are not the parts you see or can even reach and that is why regular ductwork cleaning will keep your workplace air cleaner. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about ductwork cleaning. 

Signs Your Ductwork Need Cleaning

Several indicators reveal that you need a ductwork cleaning service for cleaning ductwork. You might be tempted to try to just reach up through a duct and clean it yourself but you would only be scratching the surface to be honest and a professional will have the equipment and experience to do the job fully. Here are a few basic signs that your ductwork needs cleaning: 

New Move

When you move into a new building, you should hire a ductwork cleaning service to clean the ductwork systems. Make this a part of your moving budget. You do not know how much time has passed since the last cleaning. If the builder cannot show you a cleaning report of the systems cleaned to TR19, you have a right to contra-charge him for the cost of getting them cleaned. After all, if someone sold you a new car and it was full of the delivery driver’s takeaway wrappers, cigarette butts and dirty tissues, you would get it valeted and give the seller the bill wouldn’t you? No-one wants to live and work in someone else’s mess! The same applies to the plumbing and water system too, surely?
 
Having clean ductwork also means that your ventilation system isn't pumping unwanted allergens or dust out through the grilles and spewing contaminants into your breathing air. It assures a better smelling building as well. Furthermore, if you are recovering from COVID19 for example, the last thing you need is other people’s breath–contents.

New Construction

If you have carried out a refurbishment in your building, always engage ductwork cleaning professionals to clean it. Builders dust causes asthma and other health problems for employees and clients new to the building. So, in the same way that a builder employs a builders clean team after construction, you need to bring in a cleaning crew to remove the silica, plaster and grinding dust from your ductwork. 

The Nature Of Your Business

The nature of your business is best understood by you so, for example, if you're working with animals that have dander or with textiles that produce fibres, you would best understand the amount of dust and where the worst of it plus the general air debris that your business creates. 
 
The more debris your business generates, the more often you should plan on having your ductwork cleaned. The same debris that you can see whilst working will settle in your ductwork, and your ventilation system will continue to try and disperse it. This causes all kinds of health problems for your clients and your employees. 
 
If you've noticed that you or your employees complain of repeated sinus or respiratory infections, then call a ductwork cleaning specialist today to clean your ventilatio0n and massively improve your air quality.

Bad Odours

If you've begun to notice a musty smell in your building, particularly in some heavily used areas, you can get just the extracts done to, let’s say the toilets, as they often have their own bespoke systems which won’t cost too much to clean. You will notice the difference and so will your staff. A ductwork hygiene specialist can identify and then decontaminate any mould that has made its home in your ductwork. Clean ventilation will thus lead to a much more pleasant smelling office. 

Time Has Passed

Experts recommend having your ductwork tested at least once every year. Additionally, if ductwork is in locations likely to gather dust, or if any of your employees have breathing problems such as asthma, you’ll want to have those ducts cleaned on a test and service contract.

Ductwork Cleaning Tools

Cleaning ductwork is a relatively simple job that requires some specialised tools, but it is easy to mess up the systems if you don’t know what all of the component parts in a system do. Here's what a ductwork cleaning crew does to your ductwork. 

1. Inspect the Ducts

A ductwork expert will come in with an expert eye and equipment to identify any problems with your ductwork. They may have a flexible fibreglass rod CCTV camera connected to a suitcase monitor so they can record what's going on in your ductwork to discuss and illustrate the issues to you and solve the problem. 
 
If you have a reduced airflow, you may have a ductwork blockage. Experts will be able to find that item and remove it. VSS’s Ventilation Hygiene experts have found all kinds of things, from balls to contraband to live animals in ducts. Bricks and wood are common, and shut or broken fire dampers are a frequent cause of no air as well as being a fire risk. We have even discovered a homeless person’s cubby hole made into his home inside a huge duct through an access door in an underground carpark!
 
A good inspection will also help the ventilation engineers see if you have any leakage from your ducts. Leakage is noisy and costly to you. A possible product for leaking ductwork is Aeroseal. Aeroseal is a reliable duct sealing technology that seals points of ductwork leakage internally. The process is less invasive and labour intensive than traditional methods of duct sealing and results in airtight, high-performance ductwork.

2. Create Negative Pressure

Duct cleaning experts will use a high-powered HEPA-filtered vacuum equipment called air-movers to suck the debris from your ductwork and capture it in 3 stage filtration devices. First, though, they need to create negative pressure so all the dislodged dust goes the right way into the collection device.
 
An access panel is installed into your ductwork, and a huge flexible duct-hose is sealed onto the system. All grilles are plastic sealed and then the vacuum unit is activated. 

3. Agitate the Dust

The  ductwork cleaners will then clean the ducts systematically in sequence, driving the debris back in a logical fashion to the HEPA filter collector. They will use specialised tools like compressed air tools, a powerful specialised twin motored HEPA vacuum cleaner and a super-long hose, plus motorised rotary brush techniques to agitate, dislodge and decontaminate the various parts and components of the dust and debris.
 
4. Clean the System
 
Your ventilation engineer will clean your ductwork system. They will either clean or change the many types of filters in your air handling units so as to maximise your indoor air quality.
 
After a thorough decontamination such as this one, you will clearly see why you need a ductwork cleaning budget as a subline under your main cleaning budget.

After the Cleaning
 
Once the ductwork cleaning team have done their job, you still have a responsibility to maintain indoor air quality. Focus on keeping your building as clean as possible. Pay close attention to your filtration needs and monitoring equipment, and put in place a service contract with our engineers to perform cyclical replacement in good time. Keep a spare set of filters with the AHUs (Air Handling Units) at all times. This may be pre-filter pads,Bag filters, and possible HEPA filters. Lead times for some of these can be 6 weeks.

As you monitor your filtration and your supply and extract ductwork systems, you can rest confidently knowing that you’re doing your part to keep your indoor air quality clean. You can breathe fresh air and know that you’re keeping your employees and clients healthy. You may even see a boost in productivity with less illness, boosted immune systems, and an overall more positive culture because of an improved work aesthetic.
 
Clean the Corners
 
When you think of keeping your employees healthy, ductwork cleaning might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But you can now see how having a ventilation hygiene professional come into your business to evaluate your system will greatly benefit your employees' health. 
 
If you would like an evaluation or to book ductwork cleaning, contact us. We can keep your team and your clients breathing easy again.