As people continue to head back to the office after a prolonged period of working from home, and educational facilities re-open after the summer break, thoughts should be turning to duct work. Many of today’s modern office buildings will have been built with ventilation systems. Indeed, lots of schools, colleges and universities are installing ventilation systems to cope with the recent trend of long, hot summers and warm winters.

However, duct work collects dust, debris, bacteria and other indoor pollutants over time, particularly when they haven’t been in use. Suddenly turning on ventilation systems will cause an excess of dust and dirt to be circulated into the indoor environment, seriously affecting the air quality. Without duct cleaning, which should be done on a regular basis, it could cause breathing difficulties and even more harmful health problems, if this dirty air is breathed in.

Why should duct cleaning be carried out?

Air ducts pull in air and at the same time, it draws in a variety of other pollutants, such as dust particles, virus-carrying bacteria, VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and pesticides. If the air ducts are old and not maintained, it’s even more likely that small bits of debris will be drawn into the air ducts.

Over time, these pollutants and other harmful bacteria will attach themselves to the air particles which are then pushed back into the indoor atmosphere attached to the clean air. This means that people breathing in the now contaminated ‘clean’ air may end up suffering from respiratory and other health problems. Symptoms may range from headaches, wheezing and coughing to nausea and more serious issues, like respiratory infections, lung cancer and even heart disease.

This is why it is important to use a professional duct cleaning service, like the service provided by Swiftclean, on a regular basis. By doing this, not only will you be reducing the amount of contaminated air entering the system, it will also improve the indoor air quality significantly and ensure your building’s duct work is well-maintained.

Improving the internal air quality will also reduce the potential for mould forming in certain rooms, like bathrooms and kitchens which generate a lot of moisture. Mould releases harmful spores into the atmosphere which are also damaging to a person’s health.

In addition, using a regular duct cleaning service to remove debris that is clogging up the air ducts will improve the efficiency of a building’s heating, cooling, ventilation or air conditioning systems.  Clean air ducts mean the system is able to perform at its optimum level and that indoor air quality is at its highest.

Workplaces, like care homes, hospitals and laundry rooms will create a high level of dust and pollutants that are drawn into and travel through the air ducts quickly. By making sure they are regularly checked and cleaned, not only will the air quality improve, but it will also reduce the risk of fire hazards and breakdowns, which will reduce the potential for unwanted downtime.

Is duct cleaning a legal requirement?

In the UK, business owners and employers are legally obliged, under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Occupiers Liability Act 1984, to ensure the workplace environment is a healthy and safe place for their employees. Part of complying with this legal responsibility is to ensure duct cleaning is carried out on a regular basis, as well as implementing a robust maintenance system.

It is also a legal requirement in healthcare, educational and accommodation buildings for all duct work to be the subject of regular cleaning and maintenance. TR19 is a guidance document about the hygiene of ventilation systems within these environments and details the minimum accepted standard.

You may also find that some building insurers will incorporate duct cleaning and maintenance on a regular basis as part of the insurance policy’s requirements, in accordance with TR19. Non-compliance may result in the insurance policy being void.


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