November 17, 2022

How do you Sanitize Ductwork?

How do you Sanitize Ductwork?
How do you Sanitize Ductwork?

Ever had to deal with a foul smell in your house, and you cannot identify the source? Or having to wipe the dust off surfaces now and then? The problem could be merely emanating from unmaintained ductwork. Ductwork is the respiratory system in your home. All the air you and your family breath circulate in and out of this system. How well you maintain it determines the level of comfort in your home.

Despite the lack of adequate study relating dirty and unsanitary ductwork to health issues and allergies resulting from low-quality air in your living space, it is only logical that we keep them clean. Furthermore, it is more comfortable to sleep at night knowing that no rodents and spiders are crawling in your ductwork

Why Sanitize Ductwork?

Duct sanitizing is simply the process of eliminating microbes, such as bacteria and viruses in your ductwork. It also kills growing molds and prevents regrowth. Unlike other surfaces in the house that we frequently clean, ductwork can stay for quite a long time without getting our attention. There are several reasons why we should sanitize our air duct.

Ductwork is mainly aimed at keeping you and your loved ones comfortable by ensuring the supply of clean and quality air and at the right temperatures. However, if not well maintained, the case is different, and you can find your duct supplying dusty and stuffy air, which could be harmful to your health.

Winning the battle against foul odors in the house can be tough, especially if you cannot trace the source. Unhygienic air ducts are common but the most unexpected source of such smells. Cleaning your ductwork could help, but sanitizing it is the real deal.

Ductwork sanitation is crucial, especially for people with existing health conditions. Such individuals have a delicate immune system and streaming in air containing viruses, bacteria, molds, etc. could be too disastrous to their health

Clean ductwork will facilitate a better flow of air in comparison to an unclean duct. This is due to the absence of debris and other trapped dirt that hinder the proper distribution of air. Additionally, cleaning and sanitization ensure the longevity of the whole duct system.

To some of us, pets are a necessity. However, we easily forget the maintenance that comes along with having them in the house. Pets’ fur quickly gets trapped in the aeration vents harboring bacteria and fungus. This means that the air circulating in your house is contaminated. New homeowners should, therefore, consider sanitizing ductwork as pets dander can exist from the preceding owner.

Difference Between Sanitizing and Cleaning a Ductwork

  • Cleaning is aimed at eliminating dust and dirt that may have accumulated in your ductwork over a while. Mostly ducts are usually dark, and at times insects and rodents may get in, especially during the warmer months when you rarely switch on the heaters and probably die in there. Cleaning is a perfect solution for such issues.

On the other hand sanitizing is aimed at dealing with bacteria, viruses that may have infested the ductwork. Sanitizing also eliminates musty odors emanating from the accumulation of molds

  • Duct Cleaning involves the use of vacuums and pressure pipes. The vacuum pushes dirt and debris out of the duct. However, as mentioned earlier, this only eliminates the material dirt and not microbes.

Ductwork sanitizing entails the application of sanitizers such as microban, envirocon, and F.P sanitizers along the entire duct line. However, it is important to ensure that the chemical used is EPA (environmental protection agency) approved. The use of ozone gas is also an alternative way of sanitization.

Process of Sanitizing Ductwork

There are two methods used in ductwork sanitizing.

  1. Use of Ozone Gas
  2. Application of Sanitizers

Use of Ozone Gas

Your safety comes first. A protective gear entails a mask that protects you from inhaling dust and goggles that ensure particles do not get into your eyes while working. Attempting to clean your duct system without the recommended protection may be way hazardous than not cleaning at all.

It is crucial to ensure your entire ductwork is clean before you begin the process of sanitization. Cleaning the duct simply entails the removal of debris and other dirt that accumulate over time. Use a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner that will facilitate suction of waste along with the entire ductwork. Clean duct covers thoroughly using a brush and soap.

Note; make sure you switch off the power connected to your heating system before you begin cleaning.

  • Seal all the vents except one

Closing other openings along the ductwork ensure that the ozone gas will not leak into your house. The sealing also ensures the effective removal of molds from your ductwork. You may use cardboards or even tapes to ensure that the rest of the vents are entirely sealed.

  • Run ozone gas through your ductwork

Connect a hosepipe to the ozone generator and the ductwork through the open vent. Turn on the generators which will push ozone air to the entire duct of the upsides of using this sanitation method is that all the crevices in the duct are cleaned since unlike liquid sanitizers whose movement may be limited

Note; you may have to ozone gas through your ductwork for several days to ensure that your duct is disinfected thoroughly.

  • Clean the dirt from your ductwork

After using an ozone generator on your ductwork, it is likely like debris will be pushed out of the system to the open space. Sweep the particles and wipe the dust off the surfaces. Be sure to leave your mask and goggles on when cleaning up.

Application of sanitizers

This involves the application of chemicals into the ductwork to ensure the elimination of biological contaminants. Various types of sanitizers can be used in this process

1. Microban

This is the most common type of sanitizer. It is efficient in eliminating mildew, mold, and fungi and prevents their regrowth. It, therefore, helps eliminate bad odors that originate from such biological growths

2. EnviroCon

This sanitizer uses a chlorine dioxide release method that is effective in killing growing microbes and hence reduce the odor at the source. It does not contain perfume or masking agents include a shallow level of toxins.

3. P sanitizers

This type of sanitizer is used on surfaces that have already been cleaned. The concentrated liquid contains a detergent that increases its cleaning efficiency.

These products are EPA approved, meaning they are not harmful to your health. However, it would not be wise to stay in air containing these chemicals deliberately. Persons applying them in air ducts should wear gear to ensure safety.

Process of application

You may have to clean your duct first, depending on the sanitizer you intend to use. The cleaning process involves

  • Wearing protective gear
  • Close all the vents expect one to boost suction through the entire length of the duct
  • Connect a heavy-duty vacuum system to remove all the debris
  • Once you are done cleaning, close the vents.

After these simple steps, use a fogger to push in the sanitizer into the ductwork. However, you may have the fogger hose through various points in the ductwork to ensure effective sanitization. Drying may be required after sanitization depending on the sanitizer used.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often do I need to sanitize my ducts?

It is recommended to sanitize ducts every five years or even less for people with allergies. However, factors such as humidity levels in your area, the presence of a pet in the house, bad odors in the home may alter the frequency of times you need to sanitize your duct.

Note; you may have to clean your ductwork more if you smoke cigarettes in the house.

Do I have to leave my home after ductwork sanitization?

Not necessarily. Chemicals used in duct sanitization are harmful to microbes but safe to humans and pets. For ozone gas, you should avoid inhaling, and you should leave the place being sanitized. However, after a while, ozone dissipates to oxygen.

Do cleaning ducts reduce energy consumption?

Yes. If your ductwork is clean, the system will be efficient. This results in lower energy required to keep your house at the desired temperatures. You may just notice a reduction in your energy billing after cleaning your ducts.

Final Verdict

Having clean ductwork is vital in creating a healthier and more comfortable environment for you and your family. However, sanitizing your ductwork is a delicate process, and, if not careful, it could do more harm than good. For instance, you may end up releasing dirt into your living space if the vents are not properly sealed. Also, you may have to drill a hole for complete access to the duct. Therefore it only should be done when it is indispensable, and it is advisable to get qualified professionals to carry out the process

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