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If you are building operations manager faced with a dirty air duct system, getting them clean without breaking your budget can be a challenge. Hiring an air duct cleaning company, or purchasing an air duct cleaning system is always an option. But if your company already owns a pressure washer, consider doing the work yourself. Pressure washer dealers sell duct cleaning attachments which cost less than purchasing a duct cleaning system. All attachments are not made equal! You will need the gallons-per-minute rating and PSI rating of your particular pressure washer in order to safely convert it into duct cleaning equipment. Depending on the size of your air duct system, you may need a differently-sized pressure washer to handle the job. The rule air duct cleaning services follow is to use a pressure washer no larger than 75 percent of the space which needs to be cleaned. Any larger and maneuvering becomes practically impossible.
A home duct cleaning project can be a real chore, even while using your pressure washer. Preventive maintenance cuts down on the need to do a complete home duct cleaning, and the pressure washer is the perfect tool for that maintenance. Use it to clean the cooling coils and drain pans to prevent mold. Take care when cleaning the coils, use low pressure and keep the spray aimed in the opposite direction of the air flow. Some people use "no rinse" detergents or other additives to clean ducts, coils, and pans. Don't trust the "no rinse" packaging, always give the job a complete rinse with clean water before calling it a day.
If your home was built before 1970, you may have asbestos in your insulation. Before starting a first-time do it yourself duct cleaning project, take a good look your ventilation system. Open all access ports and doors to see if there is any stray insulation in your air duct system. How do you recognize asbestos? It was used in "blanket" insulation primarily in houses built between 1930 and 1950, and may resemble any other type of insulation you've seen. A good rule of thumb? Any insulation installed prior to 1970 should be considered contaminated with asbestos. If you find some before cleaning ducts, call a professional immediately and do not proceed with your home duct cleaning. Let the pros handle it. They will test the material and let you know exactly what you are dealing with.
If the indoor temperature is too high in spite of the air conditioning running full blast, it's time to get out your pressure washer and clean your air conditioner's ducts. The rotating arm of the duct cleaning attachment allows you to get a thorough cleaning, even catching corner areas that other methods can miss, but before cleaning the ducts with a pressure washer, check them for holes or leaks. Not only do they make your air conditioning run less efficiently, those leaks could allow pressure washer water to leak out of the duct system. Repair the leaky areas with a sealant, and begin the home duct cleaning once the sealant is dry. It's possible to save up to $300 a year after sealing the leaks and scouring the duct system with the pressure washer.
When you undertake a home duct cleaning project, even using your pressure washer it is an ordeal. Preventative measures will ensure that duct cleanings are few and far between. Think your pressure washers job is done? Think again. Your pressure washer is as important for maintenance as it is in the air duct cleaning. Use your pressure washer to clean the cooling coils and drain pains regularly, or they will become a source of moisture contamination and mold growth. Always use the highest efficiency air filter for your heating and cooling system, change filters regularly, and check for missing filters or gaps around the holder that would allow air to bypass the filter. If you are doing construction or remodeling in your house, seal off supply and return registers, and do not operating heating or cooling systems until the dust is removed.
Duct cleaning is tricky for those who have never done it before--how can you tell that the job is done, and done well? The first thing to do is to get your ventilation or air conditioning system running again after using the duct cleaners. How is the air flow? Do you notice an improvement? Are things about the same? Or does the system work worse than before? If so, you'll need to make an inspection where you did the duct cleaning. Was anything left behind in the ducts? Is there a missed spot to go back and perform additional duct cleaning? Did you reattach all your registers and grilles after the work? Double check the work before calling it a day. It's easy to leave something behind or undone when you have such a large job to do!
Your ducts may need cleaning if you notice moisture and mold, or if you see an abundnace of dust and 'fluff' gathered around the vents. Closer inspection may reveal that dust is just a surface issue that can be cleaned with a rag. If not, you may need to get out the duct cleaners and get to work. If you notice any kind of rodent infestation in your ducts, you should definitely do some kind of duct cleaning, if for no other reason than to see if there is something trapped in your ducts that is attracting the pests.
Duct cleaning can create a temporary hazard for asthma sufferers. If you are using duct cleaners, it's very important to choose carefully when considering what kinds of agents used to clean your ducts. Good hepa filters and respirators are key in the operation, but duct cleaning also requires you properly dispose of any refuse created by duct cleaners. Remember that fumes, vapors and other by-products of the chemicals you use in duct cleaning can persist in the ducts. The effects can range from simple odors to asthma symptoms for those who suffer from asthma. You may wish to 'air-out' your duct system for a day or two after a duct cleaning with no one in the home or office.
When your duct cleaning job is finished, you'll want to insure that the duct system is sealed and free from leaks--this can help prevent dirt and dust from entering your duct system. Do a "post duct cleaning" visual inspection of the entire ductwork of your home or office. If you find holes, cracks or other leaky areas, you can seal them with caulk or fiberglass tape. Don't use duct tape, as it tends to loose its adhesive and come loose easily. You can use some kind of special tape or "mastic" to seal those leaky sections. You can also consider replacing that length of duct of the leaks are severe. Once the duct cleaning job is done, give your duct system a tune up!
The American Lung Association recommends clearing out a home or office space during duct cleaning for the safety of the homeowners or office workers health. Duct cleaning and duct cleaners can stir up a great amount of inhalable debris that could damage the lungs without the proper protection. Never perform a duct cleaning without respirators or other safeguards for your lungs--your health depends on it!
Air duct cleaning is vital to the operations of any business, especially restaurants and food retailers. Poor ventilation can lead to improper storage temperatures for food, as well as the growth of fungi or bacteria that can make customers and employees alike seriously ill.
As ducts in a building become clogged, it impedes the flow of cool air from air conditioners and heat in the colder months. What this means is your air conditioning and heating systems have to work overtime to get the job done. This leads to the systems overheating and eventually braking down. Now, in addition to cleaning ducts, you need to have those other systems repaired as well.
This is one of the most common causes for poor ventilation and problems with air conditioning units in restaurants, stores and office buildings. So save yourself the hassle of dealing with the aftermath of ignoring the ducts by simply cleaning them every couple of months. In the end, it is cheaper to pay the air duct cleaning cost every so often than it is to pay it once in a great while but get saddled with other repair costs as a result.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|