Posted by & filed under Air Duct Cleaning, Understanding Ventilation Systems.

Qualified air duct cleaning contractors employ a variety of different power, pneumatic and hand tools when cleaning air ducts.  While there are numerous types of equipment used in the air duct cleaning industry, the job site to a large extent, defines what air duct cleaning tools will be used.

Breaking Contaminants Loose

Properly cleaning HVAC systems requires removing the sources of contamination from the walls of the air ducts.  Just as there are numerous types and sizes of air ducts, they are numerous air duct cleaning tools used to loosen debris from the walls of the air ducts.

  • Mechanical Agitation: Mechanical air duct cleaning tools are typically brushes powered through an electric motor, and are generally used for sheet metal air ducts.  Mechanical air duct cleaning tools are primarily used for more aggressive cleaning applications.
  • Pneumatic Agitation: Pneumatic air duct cleaning tools utilize compressed air to agitate debris from the walls of the air ducts.  There are numerous pneumatic air duct cleaning tools that can be used such as air whips, compressed air nozzles, or skipper balls.  Pneumatic air duct cleaning tools are primarily used to clean sensitive materials such as internally lined fiberglass air ducts, fiberglass duct board, and flex line air ducts.
  • Hand-brush & Contact Vacuuming: When accessible, hand brushing and contact vacuuming with a HEPA filtered hand vacuum is always the most effective method of cleaning.

Collection of Contaminants

A vacuum is the most commonly used air duct cleaning tool in the air duct cleaning industry.  The most important consideration for every ventilation cleaning project is the prevention of cross contamination. During air duct cleaning, the entire HVAC system is placed under negative pressure (vacuum) to collect loosened debris and prevent the spread of contaminants.  There are two main types of collection devices:

  • Truck Mounted Vacuums: Truck Mounted Vacuums are gas powered vacuums that are powered through the PTO of an operating vehicle.  The amount of vacuum typically ranges from 10,000 – 15,000 cfm.  Because of the high volume of air the Truck Mounted Vacuum draws, they have a high propensity for drawing vehicle exhaust and contaminants within the workspace.
  • Portable HEPA filtered Vacuums: In most instances, portable HEPA filtered vacuums are the most effective vacuum collection device.  HEPA filtered vacuums have a high velocity of vacuum draw allowing for greater lift of the debris and can often be brought to the contaminant source.  HEPA filters prevent contaminants from being dispersed from the vacuum exhaust and prevent the potential of cross contamination.

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