We have heard the word many times and we are going to hear it again, especially in the industrial sector. Many industrial buildings in the US were constructed during the time in which energy conservation became a global concern. In response to changes in building design and construction expectations, the increased use of synthetic materials in some cases resulted in a diminished building quality.
In commercial and industrial spaces, restoration projects can be essential after fire/ water damage or when building materials need replacing over time. The process of restoration could include updates for aesthetic purposes like replacing the wallpapers or carpets. Or, it could go much deeper like having to replace damaged pipes, or fixing the electrical points.
Have you ever thought about what a restoration project is doing to the indoor air quality in your building? Dust, dirt, particulates, and mold spores are unearthed that are then circulated in the air supply. If it’s been awhile since your HVAC system was serviced, the coils won’t be able to do their job efficiently. Dirty coils in these systems can lead to a number of hazards that if left untreated can cause serious health issues.
What You Don’t Know About Dirty Cooling Coils
Dirty HVAC unit coils reduces a system’s overall capacity and directly correlates poor indoor air quality. This is due to impurities like dirt creating a favorable environment for the growth of microorganisms. This in turn leads to the distribution of microbial contamination in the entire facility
Because of the high density of dirt, dust and debris, there is inadequate filtration levels leading to the distribution of impure air. Other drawbacks include:
- There is obstruction of the airflow.
- There is a decrease in total air flow rates.
- Dirty coils reduce HVAC outdoor intake rates.
- Reduction of ventilation efficiency.
What Are The Harmful Effects Of Deteriorating IAQ (Indoor Air Quality)?
Indoor Air Quality or IAQ refers to the air quality that is within and around buildings and structures. It directly affects the health and the comfort of the occupants and this is why it is important to have a good IAQ.
IAQ is affected by gases, particulates, contaminants (microbes), and other pollutants that will wreak havoc on your health. Some of the most common contaminants are – CO2, Radon, tobacco smoke, body odors, dust, formaldehyde, vapors, perfumes, dust mites, fungi, bacteria and mold.
Mold – The Worst Contaminant
One of the worst contaminants that can affect the IAQ is the growth of mold. It not only gets inside the cooling coils, but can also grow on any wet, damp and moist surfaces or crevices. Prime mold growing areas include HVAC systems, wallpapers, tiles, grouts, carpets, sinks, insulation material, furniture (especially wooden ones) and drywall. The unearthing of these materials released mold spores into the environment.
The growth of mold can begin as fast as in 48 hours. Left unchecked, it can grow rapidly and become a potential health hazard for the workers and prove to be disastrous for the commercial structure.
During restoration projects HVAC systems are exposed to additional chemicals, particulates, and extra moisture, thereby increasing the chances of growing mold. The easiest way to get rid of any mold from coils in an HVAC system is to opt for a cleaning as soon as the restoration project is complete.
The best way to clean your HVAC is a chemical-free steam cleaning by reputable companies like Green Air EnvironmentalTM.
But first, let’s understand the flip-side of opting for the outdated and traditional chemical-based coil cleaning methods:
- The harmful chemicals used are corrosive in nature.
- The chemicals used make the coils appear clean from the outside, but damage the coils over a period of time.
- These methods are good for penetrating coils up to 2-3 inches beneath the surface. But many coils such as ones found in large healthcare facilities have coils that are up to eighteen inches thick.
- There is always the chance of toxic fumes such as HFC toxic chemical runoff, that can be released and deteriorate the indoor air quality for staff and the environment.
The benefits of a chemical-free coil cleaning process are:
- Reduces energy consumption.
- Decrease in HVAC unit operational and maintenance costs.
- It enhances performance of the HVAC system while not damaging the coils.
- It extends the life of the HVAC system.
But most importantly, this method improves indoor air quality by:
- Killing all the microbial and bacterial growth.
- Creating a sterile environment using a high temperature steam process.
- Increasing the air exchanges.
- Controlling infectious environments.
Before you begin a restoration project, be conscientious of the effect of IAQ on your building occupants. To learn more about how you can improve your IAQ after your next restoration project, contact Green Air.