Warning Signs Your Building’s Air Ducts May Need Cleaning

City Wide Facility Solutions
Published on February 10, 2020
commercial air duct cleaning services

The cleaners show up and leave the building in excellent condition every day. However, are you noticing an accumulation of dust on desks or conference tables by lunchtime? Your facility’s air ducts could be the culprit of your frustration.

What exactly are air ducts? Think of them as the veins of the building that deliver and remove air. In other words, they are how your facility supplies air, returns air, and exhausts air. It’s the way your facility is able to control indoor air quality and keep its thermal comfort.

READ: What’s Living Inside Your Building’s Air Ducts?

We talked with Scott Brown, Director of National Accounts at AdvantaClean, to find out some answers to frequently asked questions about air duct cleaning and the warning signs to look for to know it’s time to schedule a cleaning. Scott is NADCA certified as an Air Systems Cleaning Specialist (ASCS) with Ventilation System Mold Remediator (VSMR). Read on below for our Q&A session with him.

Q: Do facility owners forget to clean air ducts for long periods of time?
A: All the time. If it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind. Typically, we will get a call whenever there is visible dust around the HVAC registers or if there is particulate/dust blowing out of the HVAC system. Also, if the occupants are complaining of odors when the system is running, we get called to inspect the system.

Q: Is it possible for AdvantaClean to estimate how long it’s been since air ducts were last cleaned?
No, this would depend on the environment and if the facility is maintaining their HVAC system, especially routinely changing the filters for the system. We can visually inspect inside the ductwork and tell if there is buildup of debris in the ductwork, but many times there are other signs of issues with the system that warrants the duct cleaning, such as particulate blowing out of the system and landing on desks and furniture.

Q: Why is it important to clean a commercial building’s air ducts?
A: In a commercial building, an HVAC duct cleaning can lead to better indoor air quality, reducing dust, debris, and odors that originate from the HVAC system. If the ductwork has not been cleaned and there are visual signs of issues around the register covers plus the ceiling area around the registers, a duct cleaning will improve the appearance of these areas.

Q: How often should a facility have their ducts cleaned?
: This depends on the type of building. All air handler units should be inspected annually in addition to the normal air filter changes. While doing the annual inspection of the air handler unit, the ductwork should be inspected also. Some HVAC systems may need to be cleaned annually, such as in a medical facility. But typical recommendations for an office building are to have the system cleaned every three to five years. I recommend checking out the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) website for additional information.

Q: Can the air duct cleaning process look different for each building? What is the process typically like and how long can a cleaning take?
A: Each HVAC duct cleaning project is unique for commercial buildings. To clean per the NADCA standard, the HVAC system is put under negative air pressure and source removal techniques are used to clean the ductwork. That process is the same for all ducts, but the techniques in the cleaning can be unique depending on the building and the system. Depending on the size of the building or the system, the cleaning can take from one day to weeks to complete for a large commercial facility.

WATCH: What Happens When a Furnace Filter Wasn’t Changed After Only 5 Months

Q: Does the process disrupt or create a mess in buildings?
A: The duct cleaning process typically needs to be done after hours in commercial buildings. The equipment used for the duct cleaning is noisy, the system will need to be shut off, there are air lines and hoses running through the building for the cleaning, and it can be disruptive to normal business operations.

Q: What are the biggest warning signs it’s time for a building to have their air ducts cleaned?
A: Dust and dirt accumulations around HVAC register covers and dirty register covers are a sign the ductwork needs to be cleaned. Or, if there are any odors that appear to be stronger when the HVAC system is running. Also, if anyone in the office is complaining of breathing issues, headaches, or feeling bad at work, it could be a sign the ductwork should be evaluated for cleaning.

How to Schedule a Duct Cleaning for Your Facility

City Wide can help schedule the industry’s top professionals to clean your facility’s air ducts. Fill out the form to the right to contact us today. We’ll be happy to give you a free quote on air duct cleaning or any other 20+ solutions we can schedule so you don’t have to.