Cinnaminson, NJ, February 22, 2017
The air ducts in a home or building are a crucial component of the building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Air ducts allow for ventilation and a path for conditioned air to provide a comfortable indoor environment for families or building occupants. However, if the ducts become dirty and contaminated, they may not operate efficiently and could create indoor air quality (IAQ) concerns.
To help prevent air duct contamination, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides the following tips:
- Use the highest efficiency air filter recommended by the manufacturer of the heating and cooling system.
- Change filters regularly.
- If filters become clogged, change them more frequently.
- Be sure there are no missing filters and that air cannot bypass filters through gaps around the filter holder.
- When having the heating and cooling system maintained or checked for other reasons, be sure to ask the service provider to clean cooling coils and drain pans.
- During construction or renovation work that produces dust indoors, seal off supply and return registers and do not operate the heating and cooling system until after cleaning up the dust.
- Remove dust and vacuum regularly using a high efficiency vacuum (HEPA) cleaner or the highest efficiency filter bags the vacuum cleaner can take.
- If the heating system includes in-duct humidification equipment, be sure to operate and maintain the humidifier strictly as recommended by the manufacturer.
To prevent ducts from becoming wet and supporting microbial growth, the EPA recommends:
- Promptly and properly repair any leaks or water damage.
- Pay particular attention to cooling coils, which are designed to remove water from the air and can be a major source of moisture contamination of the system that can lead to mold growth. Make sure the condensate pan drains properly.
- Make sure ducts are properly sealed and insulated in all non-air conditioned spaces (e.g., attics and crawl spaces).
- If replacing an air conditioning system, be sure that the unit is the proper size and that all ducts are sealed at the joints.
“If a building’s air ducts are dirty or contaminated, they could cause issues for people with allergies and respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as other conditions,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “At EMSL, we help to identify indoor air quality issues and air duct contamination by offering comprehensive air and surface testing services for microbial contaminants and other substances. We also provide air monitoring instruments for particulate matter and inspection tools such as boroscopes.”
EMSL also recently sponsored an educational video with tips to help prevent air duct contamination that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/w9om_GZXJL0. To learn more about indoor air quality, environmental or occupational testing services and monitoring equipment, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical, Inc. is one of the leading testing laboratories with over 40 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.