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Commercial Air Conditioning, Commercial HVAC, Preventive Maintenance Agreements

Cleaning Air Ducts Improves Comfort Conditions in Older Buildings


If you’ve got a business located in an older building in an urban location, such as brownstones in New York City, chances are you have heating and air conditioning systems with ducts. And it’s likely that those ducts have been there for a number of years. Especially given the pollution levels in the city, a lot of nasty stuff can build up in those ducts over time: including dust, allergens, chemicals, microorganisms and mold.

If you are experiencing comfort problems in your building, such as odors, inconsistent temperatures, and even allergies and other health issues, cleaning air ducts can make a big difference.

4 reasons cleaning air ducts is beneficial for older buildings

1. Cleaning air ducts ELIMINATES ODORS

Ever wonder why older buildings can be plagued by musty, mildew odors, even when all the furnishings are new? In many cases it’s because of mold and mildew growing in the ductwork. That can happen when moisture, dust and microorganisms build up in the ducts over time. If you are experiencing this problem in your building, have your ducts inspected by a professional air duct cleaning company. If mold is found, cleaning air ducts as well as mold remediation will likely be necessary to banish the odors and improve the air in your space.

2. Cleaning air ducts IMPROVES AIR QUALITY

It’s no secret that, especially in the city, there are contaminants in the air that impact the quality of the air we breathe. Because all the air in your space circulates through your HVAC system and your ductwork, those contaminants can build up in the ducts. Over time, concentrated amounts can accumulate and be released into the air in your space, affecting the health of people occupying the space.

Here are some examples:

  • Particles from tobacco smoke. In an older building, there’s a good chance people smoked in the building in the past, and the particles may be still living in your ducts. This alone is a smart reason for cleaning air ducts!
  • Smog and outdoor pollution. In the city, there’s pollution from cars, industrial manufacturing, and other sources of exhaust that can make their way into your HVAC system and your ducts.
  • Dust. Have you ever noticed that there’s more dust in older buildings? Now you know why: it’s been building up in your ducts and being blown around for decades. More about that to come.
  • VOCs. These are chemical by-products of cleaning products, paints, dry cleaning, pesticides and even off-gassing from furniture. Even your office equipment can produce VOCs.
  • Pollen, mold and bacteria. Are your employees experiencing health symptoms such as respiratory problems, headaches, eye irritation, dizziness or nausea while in the building? Or frequent colds? That could be due to high concentrations of allergens, and illness-causing bacteria being circulated through the air by your HVAC system. This is another very important reason for cleaning air ducts. Learn more from this related article:
    Could Your New York HVAC System Be Making You Sick?

3. Cleaning air ducts REDUCES DUST

Beyond health and air quality issues, high levels of dust can be more than an annoyance for a business. Accumulating dust can harm mechanical equipment. Your cleaning service may be charging you more because of it. And don’t forget the impression you’re giving to customers when they see clouds of dust hanging in the air of your space. For a restaurant, fitness or healthcare facility in particular, excess dust can even drive away customers. Cleaning air ducts removes the dust that’s accumulated. Also, to cut down on dust don’t forget about changing your HVAC air filters regularly.

Learn more from this related article:
What Happens When You Don’t Change the AC Filter

4. Cleaning air ducts HELPS YOUR HVAC WORK BETTER

You’re probably imagining layers of dust in your ducts (and you’re probably right) but there could be worse things lingering there. It’s not uncommon, especially in an older building, for pests and vermin to make their way into the ducts. We’ve found birds nests, rodents, and insects living in there. When that happens, it not only makes for an unhealthy environment but also impedes HVAC air flow which reduces the effectiveness of your equipment.

Reduced air flow means your heating and air conditioning systems have to run longer and work harder to heat and cool your space. The result is humidity problems, inconsistent temperatures, and higher energy bills for you. Not to mention the repair issues that can happen due to impeded air flow, such as frozen AC coils, water leaks and even compressor failure.

Need any more convincing about cleaning air ducts? We’re guessing you’re on board. But chances are you’ve got questions. Take a look at this guide to find out everything you need to know: FAQ: Duct Cleaning and Your Indoor Air Quality.

FAQ: Duct Cleaning and Your Indoor Air Quality. What you don't know could hurt you. Get the free guide today.

How to choose an air duct cleaning service

One common question people have is how to find a service provider for cleaning air ducts that they can trust to do the job correctly. Here’s a tip: the best resource to turn to is the National Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA). This organization has developed the standards for the ductwork inspection, cleaning and maintenance industry. NADCA-certified Air Systems Cleaning Specialists follow the rigorous standards for equipment, processes, and cleaners, so you can be sure the job will be done right.

It’s also a good idea to ask any provider you’re considering about their experience with mold remediation. If this problem is found in your commercial space, you want to be sure you’re working with a company that has the expertise to handle the removal properly and safely.

The only way to know for sure if cleaning air ducts is needed in your building is to get an inspection (many providers do this for free). The sooner you do that, the sooner you’ll have improved comfort conditions in your space.