Holistic HVAC hygiene is a common sense, proactive maintenance concept. It demonstrates how each component of an HVAC system works together to provide fresh air exchange and temperature control in a building. A single component being compromised can have a chain effect on the rest of the system and impact building health. Let’s take a brief look at how holistic HVAC hygiene can be tested and maintained.
Basic HVAC Function & Design
The HVAC system is designed to provide heating, ventilation and cooling to a building. Hence the acronym “HVAC”. Think of it like the respiratory system of the building. In the most basic sense the ventilation part of the HVAC system consists of the air handler units (AHU), ductwork, and sometimes variable air volume (VAV) boxes within the ducts. The AHU has dampers, return plenums, filters, evaporator coils, heating coils, drain pans, fans, motors, insulation and supply plenums. Holistic HVAC hygiene accounts for the cleanliness of all of these components at a systemic level. Deficiencies in any of these areas quickly compound throughout the system and affect Indoor Air Quality.
Measurement & Verification
There are a couple of ways to get insights on holistic HVAC hygiene. Often times HVAC maintenance, including duct cleaning is deferred. However, the old adage “Out of sight, out of mind” is not always the case. Occupants, in many cases, are the first to report HVAC hygiene or IAQ issues by observation. Odors, degraded comfort, and an influx in allergies while in a building can all indicate a problem with the HVAC system. Occupant complaints should be taken seriously and act as a catalyst for professional IAQ testing.
True visibility into holistic HVAC hygiene is provided by measurement and verification testing. Building Sciences at Pure Air Control Services conducts indoor air and environmental testing for HVAC systems.
The HVAC Hygiene Assessment investigates both cleanliness and performance criteria and reports on the conditions. The system is visually inspected then air and surface samples are collected from the different components. These samples are then analyzed by our Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory for microbial and other factors like bacteria, mold and particulates. Performance data like differential pressure, total air supply in cubic feet per minute, temperature differential, cooling output, relative humidity and more is collected to determine the system’s impact on the building. When significant problems are found, recommendations for correction are made.
Remote IAQ Monitoring
Another way to keep an eye on the holistic HVAC hygiene conditions is with the IAQ Guard real-time monitoring program. IAQ Guard is a set of wireless remote sensors placed throughout a building’s HVAC zones. These sensors continuously monitor specific IAQ parameters like temperature, humidity, CO2, particulates, and VOC. The real-time data is sent via a node to a cloud-based dashboard that Building Sciences uses to detect trends and anomalies in the building envelope. If any of the monitored parameters trend outside of normal baseline conditions an alert is sent, and corrective action can be taken before the situation worsens. IAQ Guard is great for ongoing proactive monitoring and is also used in conjunction with sensitive remediation or construction projects.
Holistic HVAC Hygiene Maintenance
Maintaining the HVAC system needs to be a number one priority for facility managers. After all, it is the number one factor affecting building and occupant health. Building Remediation Sciences at Pure Air Control Services provides a suite of engineered solutions to keep your building’s HVAC system in great shape!
PURE-Duct is an IAQ driven duct cleaning service. It is performed with maximum containment to minimize the risk of cross contamination. A high attention to detail is not only paid to cleaning ductwork, but also other inline components such as VAV boxes, reheat coils and smoke detectors.
PURE-Steam is a Green Clean Institute certified solution that disinfects the entire AHU and deeply cleans HVAC coils. There have been many white papers and case studies published about its efficacy. PURE-Steam effectively eliminates microbes and restores operational efficiency.
HVAC New Life adds antimicrobial coatings, drain pan liners and closed cell insulation with PURE-Steam to restore aging AHU’s for additional years of service. It can be procured with CAPEX and far more cost effective than new replacement.
The combination of these routine cleaning services and IAQ testing/monitoring ensure optimal holistic HVAC hygiene. It not only benefits building occupants but also the bottom line.
For more information on IAQ testing or our engineered solutions please call 1-800-422-7873 or contact us here.