Whether you’re at work or at home, your HVAC system (Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning) has a major impact on the air you breathe. A well-maintained HVAC system controls the temperature indoors, the humidity, and brings clean air in from outside, but one that’s neglected can be a vector of unwanted pollutants and health hazards.

What does HVAC system maintenance involve? Is it enough to clean the system, or does it need to be sanitized and disinfected as well? Can you do it yourself, or is it best left to the professionals?

Find out in this article!

The importance of a clean HVAC system

HVAC systems are essential for good air quality indoors, but they are often overlooked when it comes to cleaning and maintenance. Dust accumulates in the ducts, clogging filters and vents and contaminating the air. Any condensation or leakage can lead to the proliferation of mould and fungi. If HVAC systems are not properly sanitized, viruses and bacteria can circulate and develop freely to a point that can generate health problem to your family.

In addition to lowering the air quality and increasing the presence of allergens and other health hazards, the pollutants clogging the system can also affect its performance, drive up energy costs and shorten its lifespan.

How to clean an HVAC system

Manual cleaning removes solid particles from the ducts. If you undertake the task yourself, it’s important to wear a recommended mask and gloves to avoid inhaling or coming into direct contact with the pollutants as you clean. Please see all the recommendation related BEFORE to work on your unit. It seems simple, but you must be really careful not to damage your equipment performance or reliability.

The procedure for cleaning an HVAC system is as follows:

  • Read all instruction manual for maintenance unit and procedure. Please, keep away children and animal during the maintenance process and cleaning.
  • Clean the vents, grilles and registers by wiping them down thoroughly.
  • Cover the supply vents to prevent dust and debris from blowing out while you’re cleaning other parts of the HVAC system.
  • Loosen any build-up of dust and debris in the ducts If you have a “fan on” option on your thermostat, turning it on can help move the dust.
  • Clean the air ducts by vacuuming as far into them as you can reach, then wiping them down with a damp cloth.
  • For more in-depth cleaning, vacuum the blower compartment, return air boot and furnace fan. You’ll need to remove the panels to access the compartment. Don’t forget to shut off the fan and furnace before this step!
  • Clean or replace the filters. The filters should be rinsed thoroughly every month and replaced every three months or follow recommend maintenance process from the manufacturer. Look at your instruction manual.

Cleaning an HVAC system is a complex task that often requires some disassembly and specialized equipment to access the hard-to-reach areas. Professionals generally have the equipment and expertise needed to do a thorough job. During regular HVAC maintenance, the technician will clean the system and inspect it for problems such as leaks. Cleaning and maintenance are very important, but they don’t truly sanitize the HVAC system.

How to sanitize an HVAC system

Sanitization goes a step further, eradicating the microorganisms that are too small to be affected by manual cleaning. Without it, dirt and debris may be eliminated but viruses, bacteria, mould and fungi will be able to proliferate unchecked.

Chemicals

There are professional fogging services you can get to sanitize and disinfect your HVAC system. They will use chemicals such as sporicidal disinfectant to kill the microorganisms in the system and purify the air.

While these chemicals are effective, they can present problems of their own. The temperature and humidity variations intrinsic to HVAC systems can interact with the chemicals and cause harmful off-gassing, which is then circulated through the building and breathed in by its occupants.

If you choose chemical sanitizing for your HVAC system, it should generally be done once every six months.

UV light

UV lights can be installed inside the HVAC system to continuously disinfect the air without the use of hazardous chemicals. UV light penetrates microorganisms and disrupts their molecular structure, rendering them inactive or killing them outright.

Commercial HVAC coil cleaners equipped with high-intensity UV lamps can be installed near the evaporator coils to sanitize the HVAC system, and UV air disinfection units can be placed directly in the ducts to eliminate contaminants. Air purifiers with UV technology can also be used in residential and commercial settings to improve the quality of the air.

HVAC sanitizing solutions from Sanuvox

If you want to breathe clean air that’s free of pollutants and keep your HVAC system operating at peak efficiency, then it’s important to have it properly sanitized. There are steps you can take to clean the system yourself, but they won’t be as effective as professional products and services. Chemical treatments are effective at eradicating viruses, bacteria and mould, but they can create their own health hazards and they aren’t permanent solutions.

Sanuvox’s patented high-intensity UV lamps are a safe and effective way of sanitizing both air and surfaces. Whether they are installed in the HVAC system or working as a component of an air purifier, they improve the quality of the air so that you can breathe freely. Contact us to find out more about our air purification solutions today!

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