A growing concern in the indoor air quality business, is that in IAQ investigations the hvac systems are so frequently overlooked.
After attending courses on IAQ and talking with the industrial hygienists, hvac contractors, building engineers, and others related to the field, I find an alarming number of IAQ investigators are finding the cause but are overlooking the need for an hvac cleaning company to clean the systems.
In most cases of SBS (sick building syndrome PDF) or where there is an IAQ problem, the need to have the duct system professionally cleaned is being grossly overlooked. Also, the need for adequate air filtration is being ignored.
By having 18 years of experience in the hvac cleaning business, I have been involved in numerous stages of IAQ investigations and almost every time, the ventilation system was overlooked. in most cases the ductwork, heating units, and air filters were so poorly maintained and dirty that they often were the cause of SBS.
In most cases, once these systems are professionally cleaned and the proper air filtration installed, the SBS and IAQ complaints go away.
I look at these IAQ courses being held all over the country and I think there needs to be a block of instruction on the importance of cleaning and maintaining the hvac systems from an IAQ perspective. In our high-tech world, too often people look for complicated solutions, when it is often very simple.
The advantages of a clean hvac system for building engineers who are having problems with balancing a system and answering all the complaints would be to have a much-more-efficient system with less complaints and a much more cost-effective system.
For building owners, the advantages are again more-efficient, less-costly systems and happy tenants — also, a lower risk for lawsuits.
I personally have been involved in several phase-one IAQ investigations, and in most cases, solved the problem before it got out of control by simply cleaning the system.
Matthew E. Willard
Willard Power Vac, Inc.