One of the most important parts of an HVAC system is the duct. It is a simple part that rarely breakdowns but which serves a very crucial purpose in the system. Besides, they can prove unhealthy to your body too if not appropriately maintained. Below is an illustration of the importance of cleaning the duct and how to go about it.
There are four particular groups (although all people could benefit) that need the best possible air quality in the home:
- Infants to 16-years-old
- Adults, age 60 plus
- No age restriction – immune-compromised individuals, pregnant women, and persons with chronic respiratory disorders, and those recovering from surgical procedures or illness
- Pet owners with domestic animals – dogs, cats, and birds
Scientist believes the principal transmission mode of the Coronavirus is by respiratory droplets, which may travel several feet from someone who is coughing or sneezing. Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze is the first step to control the spread. However, residual contaminants can travel through your HVAC system, where all air in the home is circulated and can contribute to the spread of an airborne virus. The Coronavirus has the same traits as other viruses such as the common cold, the flu, and a sore throat, by how it is spread from person-to-person.
Source control is always the first step when dealing with IAQ concerns such as mold, dust, odor, and even viruses. There are many remedies when it comes to managing IAQ in a home. Some products range from a higher Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rated filter, electronic air cleaners, and ultra-violet sterilization systems. The HVAC system and duct system can contribute to spreading unwanted pathogens in the air, not because your system came contaminated from the factory, but because the air in your home became contaminated.
Tiny pathogens spread in the air can be fungi, bacteria, or viruses. The difference between a virus and bacteria is viruses are much smaller than bacteria, and viruses cannot survive without a host. According to the Mayo Clinic, fewer than 1% of bacteria cause disease in people.
In addition to spreading viruses through an HVAC system, another nemesis is mold, a biological growth. Mold is, in the simplest terms, part of the “dust to dust” program. Everything living will die, it will return to the food chain, whether it’s a mighty oak tree, your favorite leather shoes (once upon a time, a cow), or that forgotten orange in the back of the refrigerator.
Your HVAC system can provide biological growth the perfect opportunity to form and grow. There are three things needed to support biological growth. Food is the number one source of supporting biological growth. One example of food sources is skin cells that have flaked off and floated into the HVAC system. The next item to support organic growth is moisture. Once those skin cells made it through the system, they can become attached to the evaporator coil or blower motor. When the coil starts to produce condensation along with the food source, it becomes the perfect recipe for biological growth. The final item to contribute to organic growth is the absence of ultraviolet light. HVAC professionals and homeowners who manage these factors, reduce the risk of biological growth.
To set the record straight:
- Mold and viruses are not a factory option
- AC units do not create mold or viruses
- If you have mold or viruses, it is your mold and viruses
- An ultra-violet system will not keep your home mold or virus-free
When an ultra-violet system is used correctly and installed to the manufacture’s guidelines, it can prove to be a useful tool. Ultra-violet exists in natural sunlight (it’s why we wear sunscreen, and mold grows under a rock), it disassembles the DNA of organics. It reduces them to nitrogen and oxygen. Ultra-violet is most effective as surface irradiation (with a limited “kill zone”) and is used in many applications. It is used to sterilize medical instruments, clean reclaimed water in treatment plants, saltwater aquariums, and is used in food processing.
Contractors should educate customers on the value of IAQ and provide solutions and options to help the homeowner make educated decisions. An HVAC system should be inspected at a minimum, twice a year. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association recommends having your ducts cleaned every five years, and an HVAC technician can recommend products that can help you breathe cleaner, fresher, healthier air.
In times like these, when emotions run high, and everyone is concerned about the unknown, HVAC professionals need to shine as a beacon of truth and good faith. Quality maintenance, good hygiene, and proven best practices such as; improved indoor air quality, source control for contamination, and keeping a clean house are the keys to successfully navigating current health issues.
Reference Sources https://www.epa.gov/report-environment/indoor-air-quality https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6908e1.htm https://www.lung.org/ https://www.ashrae.org/ https://www.acca.org/news/guest-blog/coronavirus-other-contaminants-indoor-air
Importance of cleaning the duct
The air you breathe is a mixture of many elements, including tiny dust particles that may be harmful to the human body. Some of these components are dust and pollen that may have severe effects on the lungs, especially to people with allergies. Air also contains disease-causing microorganisms such as the coronavirus, bacteria, and mold spores, which may lead to fatalities such as hospitalization and even death.
So, why don’t individuals fall sick all the time, yet they are surrounded by these particles every day? The answer to this question has a lot to do with the quantities of these particles. Even though the particles are constantly present in the air, their concentration in most cases is too low to cause a significant impact on your immune system. Besides, this is where the ducts come into play.
You might be taking your home cleanliness very seriously and still not be able to do away with airborne contaminants. This is because the pollutants tend to accumulate in the ducts, which are usually not within your rich on an ordinary cleaning day. As a result, contaminants can thrive for a long time without any human interference. Then you use appliances such as the air conditioner or heater that blows the particles, and through diffusion, they fill the air in your house. This poses an even higher risk, and it might be worse if there is an allergy sufferer in the house.
Advantages of cleaning the duct
Cleaning the duct might seem like an ordinary activity but may have a significant impact on your health. It helps to prevent the accumulation of airborne pollutants in your home and thus reduce their concentration in the air you breathe. The good thing about duct cleaning is that it does not have to happen on a daily or monthly basis since the contamination is only lethal after a massive buildup. Luckily, it takes some time for a significant accumulation, and thus duct cleaning can be done at least once in a year. The most important message is you should ensure to clean them. If you haven’t cleaned them recently, you should make a point to do so very soon.