In buildings that have ventilation systems installed, like air conditioning, the air travels through air ducts built into the ceiling gaps and then down through vented units into indoor atmosphere. Over a period of time, there will be a build-up of dust, debris, indoor pollutants and bacteria which will eventually affect the air quality people are breathing in. Ultimately, this may cause people serious health problems.
To avoid this from happening and to prevent the build-up of the dust, dirt and pollutants, it is important to ensure that air duct cleaning is carried out on a regular basis.
What Are Air Ducts?
Air ducts are the network of tunnels or tubes – usually manufactured using a synthetic material, like plastic or metal – which connect together in order to convey the air in a building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system.
Stale internal air is drawn into the air ducts, pushed through an air cleaning unit which either cools or heats the air, and then drives the clean air back through the air ducts into the building.
Why Is It Important To Carry Out Air Duct Cleaning?
When the stale air is drawn in to the air ducts, it also takes in various indoor pollutants, like dust particles, virus-carrying bacteria, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), pesticides and if the air ducts are a little old, there may well be small bits of debris as well.
Over time, these pollutants and other harmful bacteria will attach themselves to the air particles and are later pushed back into the indoor atmosphere. This means that people will be breathing in contaminated air which could cause health problems. The types of symptoms may range from headaches, wheezing and coughing to nausea and more serious issues, like respiratory infections, lung cancer and heart disease.
This is why it is important air duct cleaning is carried out on a regular basis. By doing this, the indoor air quality will improve significantly, thereby reducing the possibility of contaminated air from entering the internal atmosphere.
Improving the internal air quality will also reduce the potential for mould forming in rooms, like bathrooms and kitchens which generate a lot of moisture. Mould releases harmful spores into the atmosphere which are also damaging to a person’s health.
In addition, with regular air duct cleaning to remove clogged up air ducts will improve the efficiency of heating, cooling, ventilation or air conditioning systems within the building. Clean air ducts ensure the system is able to perform at its optimum level, and that the indoor air quality is at its highest.
Workplaces, like hospitals, care homes and hospitals, and even laundry rooms that create a high level of dust and pollutants will find that these particles travel through the air ducts quickly. By making sure they are regularly checked and cleaned, not only will the air quality improve, but it will also reduce the risk of fire hazards and breakdowns, which could lead to unwanted downtime.
Is It A Legal Requirement?
In the UK, business owners and employers are legally obliged, under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Occupiers Liability Act 1984, to make sure the workplace environment is a healthy and safe place in which to work. This includes ensuring the indoor air quality is of a high standard. Part of complying with this legal responsibility is to ensure all air ducts within the building are checked, cleaned and maintained on a regular basis.
The TR19® Guide to Good Practice – Internal Cleanliness of Ventilation Systems provides business owners and employers with best practice guidance on how to test and maintain the required high standards. It includes the UK and European standards for air ducts, particularly kitchen extraction air ducts to make sure the build-up of grease, which could be a fire risk, is reduced.