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Welcome to our Air Duct Cleaning Blog!

New Wonder Wand Coil Cleaning Tools Are Here!

Posted by Peter Haugen on Tue, Apr 24, 2018 @ 04:00 PM

WW package 2

WW nozzle

New Wonder Wand coil cleaning tools are here! Designed for Type 2 (wet) coil cleaning. They will maximize your residential and light commercial coil cleaning productivity (for greater profits) and cleaning quality (for greater customer satisfaction).

These pneumatic tools are the perfect cleaning tools for residential “A” coils, pleated coils and light commercial rooftop coils. With its extremely low water flow (that can be soaked up with a towel) it can even be use to clean coils without drain pans like re-heat coils and condenser coils.  Choose from the single spray nozzle Wonder Wands to the triple spray nozzle Wonder Wand. Clean coils reduce energy consumption, improve comfort control and delivers great return on investment for your customers!

Typical Coil Cleaning Procedure:

  • First, clean the coil using Type 1 - dry methods (contact vacuuming, air washing, gentle brushing).
  • If additional cleaning is needed move onto Type 2 - wet methods (using your Wonder Wand Coil Cleaning Tools).
  • Connect the air line from you compressor to the Wonder Wand air flow on/off controller – ball valve or trigger (make sure they sure its in the closed position).
  • Place the pick-up tube/sinker into your container of coil cleaning solution. Be sure to follow instructions on coil cleaning label for appropriate concentrations.
  • Have a container of rinse water standing by.
  • Open air flow controller allowing air to flow to the spray nozzle. This air will siphon up the coil cleaning solution through the pick-up tube, spray wand and spray nozzle to deliver the coil cleaning solution to your coil fins.
  • Let coil cleaning solution sit for the specific time per the product label so it can loosen up adhered dirt/debris on the fins.
  • Rinse off coil cleaning solution with rinse water by moving the pick-up tube/sinker from the coil cleaning solution to the container of rinse water.
  • When using the Wonder Wand Triple you will need more coil cleaning solution and rinse water because each of the three spray nozzle has it’s own pick-up tube.

More Wonder Wand information!

Please contact Peter Haugen at 855-Vac-Systems or phaugen@vacsysint.com with any questions.

Tags: coil cleaning

The Challange of Cleaning Multi-row Commercial Coils!

Posted by Peter Haugen on Fri, Feb 02, 2018 @ 03:44 PM


DB-5-large[1].jpg   dirty_com_coil.jpg

The Problem: 

Over time multi row air conditioning and refrigeration coils (DX, chilled water, etc) can become contaminated and clogged with dirt, debris, grease, seeds, bio-film etc.  These neglected multi-row coils drastically increase the HVAC system operating cost.  A Pacific Gas & Electric study showed that a dirty condenser coil can increase compressor energy consumption by 30 percent. And that cleaning them can result in significant energy savings.

IMG_0430.jpg  Hurricane wand and roller stand - 2.jpg  

The Solution:

How do you successfully clean these sometime hard to reach multi-row coils that are clogged with years of buildup? Most light weight coil cleaning spraying systems are no match for the built up contamination deep inside these coils.

The new Hurricane Coil Cleaning Systems is design to handle just these types of coils. Take the Hurricane’s 100 mph of water vapor and inject the right amount of coil cleaner deep into the multi-row coil in exactly the right way!  The resulting clean coil delivers:

  • Better air flow and improved temperature transfer for better climate control and comfort
  • Drastically reduces pressure drop across the coil for a significant reduction in energy consumption.

The patented Hurricane nozzle cleans chilled water and DX coils faster by working with the design of the coil. The angle of the water combined with the force and movement of the air drive the coil cleaning solution deep into the multi-row coil. After the foaming cleaning agent has loosened the deeply embedded contaminates (including bio-film) the Hurricane nozzle washes away the years of this buildup without harming the coil fins! See the Hurricane in action at http://bit.ly/2DY6sBh

The patented Hurricane Coil Cleaning System was developed over 11 years of hands-on coil cleaning experience. Eleven years of constant process improvement to develop the most productive coil cleaning system on the market! (Now, you can get rid of your pressure washer problems). Clean     multi-row coils give the building owner many benefits, including:

  • Condenser motor fans that don’t have to work as hard and therefore will last longer.
  • Increased oil return occurs in many refrigeration applications 
  • Contractors last longer due to lower amp draw.
  • Real energy savings are attainable: After using the Hurricane Coil Cleaning System on one project, the coil pressure drop went from 2.6 inches to .391 inches (.33 inches was designed pressure drop). The savings on one 60 hp motor was $4,312.00 per year! On other projects pressure drop improvements of up to 6x have been noted. 
The Hurricane coil cleaning system lets you clean multi-row coils faster and more effectively than other methods. If you already offer coil cleaning services this gives you a great opportunity: 
  • To better serve your existing customers.
  • To improve your productivity and profits.
  • To have a real competitive advantage.
  • To grow your business!
If you are looking to expand your service offering, coil cleaning is a great opportunity. Dirty coils can cost building owners up to 26 cents per square foot! Cleaning coils can greatly minimize compressor and fan wear while providing substantial energy savings to the building owner. Remember, cleaning coils is not a one time a job. Maintaining coils is a great ongoing opportunity! 

For more information go to: Hurricane Coil Cleaning System.   If you have any questions on this blog article please contact Peter Haugen at 855-Vac-Systems, 952-808-1619, or phaugen@vacsysint.com

 


 

Marketing Residential Air Duct Cleaning Services Check List

Posted by Peter Haugen on Wed, Nov 15, 2017 @ 11:36 AM

marketing-man[1].jpg

The best marketing you can do is delivering good quality work. Satisfied customers (who will refer you) are the least expensive and most effective marketing tool created. It is estimated that 60% or more of your business will come from referrals. Quality work/customer satisfaction is your first and most important marketing tool.

    • Take before cleaning and after cleaning photos. This shows your customer that you have done a good job and makes them more likely to refer you.
    • Do something extra at no charge like a free furnace filter so they remember you.
    • After every duct cleaning job leave a sticker on the furnace and deliver a door hanger flier to all the surrounding homes.
    • Start a customer referral rewards program for existing customers.
    • Encourage your customers to post about their positive experience on social media.

To get the other 40% you need to spend additional dollars and use the traditional advertising and marketing tools to build your company/brand awareness and preference. These include:

  • Build and maintain a data base of all your customers and prospects for use in you marketing and advertising efforts.
  • You’re first marketing effort should be to let your existing customers know you are offering air duct cleaning services. You have already earned their trust from your other services so they should be receptive to your new service offering. You can do this via a postcard, direct mail piece, email, phone call etc.
  • Offer them an incentive to pick-up the phone and call you. This could be a free inspection of their HVAC system, a discount on services, etc.
  • You can bundle you’re your air duct cleaning with your other services (duct cleaning and carpet cleaning, duct cleaning with new HVAC system, etc) and offer package pricing.
  • Make sure the signage on your truck/van or trailer includes air duct cleaning. Remember this is a traveling billboard.
  • Your technicians and work crews should have your business name/logo/list of services on their shirts or uniforms.
  • Use email, direct mail, mail inserts, card packs to get you sales message out there.
  • Exhibit at local home shows.
  • Create a web site or add a duct cleaning section to your existing website. Include the customer benefits of air duct cleaning, before and after photos, testimonials, any certifications etc.
  • Post about your company, your services and the benefits of your services on social media (Facebook, twitter, etc.).
  • Create a short radio ad.
  • Use telemarketing.
  • Join business networking groups like BNI International, Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce etc.
  • Be involved in your community by sponsoring a youth sport team or civic activity.
  • Become that air duct cleaning/indoor air quality expert in your area. Write articles, blogs, give informational presentation, etc.
  • Expand your service area.
  • Network with other trades and be their air duct cleaning sub contractor.

If you have any questions or suggestions please contact Peter Haugen, ASCS, CVI at                      855-Vac-Systems or phaugen@vacsysint.com.

 

Intro to  Residential   Air Duct Cleaning  Guide  Residential Air Duct Cleaning Training Program  

 

Coil Cleaning = Business Opportunity!

Posted by Robert Rizen, ASCS, CVI on Mon, Aug 21, 2017 @ 11:07 AM

The Need:

Coil cleaning is a much needed service for any customer - residential, commercial, industrial, healthcare, educational, etc. Coils are everywhere from evaporator, to condenser, reheat, heat recovery, heating, process, chiller, cooling towers and refrigeration.

Picture 024.jpg  Picture 028.jpg

Dirty                                                                    Clean

Biofilm_Coil.jpg

Nasty!

Cleaning is an ongoing process (repeat business) – coils are getting dirty during everyday use, due to improper installation, inadequate pre-filters, no filter, leaking filter racks and dirty operating environments. Some coils need monthly, quarterly or yearly cleaning – depends on the operating environment.

Dirty Impacted Coils Can Lead To:

  • Replacement of the coil sets
  • Increased run time on HVAC equipment
  • Inefficient operation of the chiller – Excess wear and tear on chillers
  • Loss of compressors and fan motors - Stress!
  • Guaranteed to increase your energy use
  • Provides very poor indoor air quality (IAQ)
  • “Dirty Sock” syndrome
  • Microbial and bacterial growth (Humidity) – hinders the water shedding ability of the coil
  • Improper airflow to occupied spaces
  • Improper temperature delivery

HVAC is typically 50% or more of a facilities monthly energy bills. There should be a big incentive to keep these systems running at peak performance and efficiently to minimize energy cost.

Why does my client care?

 

Iaq_flow.png

 

There is a direct verifiable return on investment for coil cleaning as proved by the following ASHRAE study: 

The 34-story building in NYC has 1.2 million square foot of floor space which has to be cooled from 6 am to 6 pm using four large 30-year-old air handlers:

  1. SF-6: 250 tons, 880 kW
  2. SF-7: 123 tons, 433 kW
  3. SF-8: 121 tons; 425 kW
  4. SF-9: 81 tons; 285 kW

After testing during the first control week, SF-8 and SF-9 were taken offline for two days to perform a modern deep clean on both air conditioners. The two systems were then put back into service and tested in exactly the same manner for a further week afterwards.

In all, HVAC inspectors and TAB contractors continuously measured 54 different data points from the two air con systems for a week before and a week after cleaning, including:

  • Coil differential pressure
  • Air and water temperatures
  • Condensate temperature
  • Supply air velocities
  • Outside air temperatures
  • Humidity
  • Volumetric flow rates
  • Voltage and amps

Results

The ASHRAE study found that cleaning each system decreased coil differential pressures by 14%, which produced a corresponding increase in the flow rate and overall cooling capacity of the system by the same amount

After cleaning, the smallest air conditioning unit of the four – SF-9 – started punching well above its weight, adding an extra 19-22 tons of cooling capacity (an additional 67-77 kW), increasing its overall capacity by a massive 25%.

The thermal efficiency of the cooling coils in the cleaned systems increased by 25%, and condensate water temperature dropped from 3-4°C before cleaning to 1-3°C after.

The inspectors estimated that 100 tons (352 kW) of cooling capacity would be added to the building once all four air handlers had been cleaned and restored in this manner.

Based on year-on-year HVAC building costs, ASHRAE estimated that cleaning one of the air handlers resulted in efficiency improvements that will lead to energy savings of up to $40,000 each year.

The Hidden Enemy:

Biofilm growing deep inside the coil sets are the hidden issue, it’s easy to make a coil “appear” clean and shiny, but what’s going on deep inside the matrices?

What’s biofilm?

A complex microbial matrix growing on coils and drain pans

  • Composed of different microorganisms adhering to surfaces and producing polysaccharides, proteins and nucleic acids
  • Allows the biofilm to stick together and develop attached communities
  • Life in a biofilm provides protection from penetration of outside agents such as antimicrobial agents.

Why does this matter?

Biofilm acts as an insulator on the coils surface affecting the temperature and airflow. It does not take much buildup to alter the operation of the coil.

  • 0.006 in/150 microns = 5.35% increase in energy consumption
  • 0.012 in/300 microns = 10.8% increase in energy consumption
  • 0.024 in/600 microns = 21.5% increase in energy consumption
  • 0.036 in/900 microns = 32.2% increase in energy consumption

Note: A human hair is approximately 100 microns

Biofilm by products:

  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  • Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds (MVOCs)
  • Known opportunistic organisms causing infections
  • Sick Building Syndrome
  • Occupant complaints
  • More sick days used due to allergy/cold like symptoms

Biofilm is not a new problem, science and research have exposed it as being a more common occurrence than previously thought.

Solutions:

Prevention: Proper filtration in place before the coil sets – fix leaks, gaps in filters, gaps in filter racks, pre-filters needed in some cases, pleated filters best bet.

Cleaning: Regular cleaning from the time it is put in service can go a long way to preserve your expensive coil sets. In fact regular cleaning and inspection can solve most of the issues discussed in this article.

Treating: There are products designed for treating the drain pans and some spray applied to the coil sets, these products include something to inhibit biological growth.

How do I get started cleaning coils?

It is not very expensive to get into coil cleaning, proper training of your crews is crucial. Some coils can be cleaned with nothing more than a garden hose, some coil cleaning chemicals and a spray wand.

Larger thick coil sets will need more attention requiring higher pressures and water flow to rinse, hot water or steam, chemicals and careful water control.

Time is the real factor in cleaning, chemicals need dwell time, rinsing to restore a coils performance takes a large amount of time. No fast solution.

Restoring a coils performance through cleaning is not something you should include on your PM schedule, the time taken warrants additional charges. We have had large (400 ton) coils that needed 3-4 deep cleanings in a few month’s time to restore the performance.

Some of my favorite tools for cleaning:

  • Foaming coil chemical application gun
  • Long coil wand/lance with a spray jet on the end – great for cleaning condensers without disassembly.
  • Water containment devices
  • High flow, low pressure power washers – allows for high volume of water for rinsing.

Science is changing at all times, the harsh chemicals we used to use years ago are now frowned upon and research has shown that they were doing damage to the coils construction and drain pans. With many new higher efficiency coil sets being made from mixed metals I prefer to use a metal safe chemical – safe for all metals.

There is also a probiotic cleaner and treatment being produced to address the biofilm issues that are resistant to other chemicals. Science is making it easier to do a thorough job.

Conclusion:

  • Coils are everywhere
  • The need for cleaning is ongoing – always getting dirty
  • The need is often overlooked during budgeting
  • Dirty coils are costing facilities lost money, cfm, temperature and occupant comfort
  • Cleaning is not particularly difficult – proper training a must
  • Science is catching up – better, safer cleaning agents

 

If you have any questions please contact Robert Rizen, ASCS, CVI , Technical Trainer at 314-972-2067 or robert@rizenconsulting.com

 

Intro to  Residential   Air Duct Cleaning  Guide  Intro to  Commercial Air Duct Cleaning Guide

 

 

Ten Ways NADCA Membership Brings You Value

Posted by Kristy Cohen, NADCA Executive Director on Tue, Jul 18, 2017 @ 03:03 PM

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As companies think about joining NADCA or are renewing their membership it's not uncommon to here - "What am I getting for my annual NADCA membership dues?"  Here are 10 things you do get with your NADCA membership:

1. Increased Market demand for Your Services:

Your NADCA membership dues support a full-time, dedicated marketing manager to promote the importance of specifying NADCA membership and certifications in bid specifications for commercial projects to engineers, architects and specifiers.  To date, we've reached over 3,000 specifiers, engineers and architects who now have the NADCA General Specification.  This means more business for NADCA members.

2. Competitive Advantage through International Recognized Certifications:

The increased specifications of NADCA membership and certification gives those with NADCA ASCS certification a competitive advantage over those without it.  NADCA members receive a deep discount on both the ASCS and CVI certification exams.

3. Increased Client Referrals:

Over 120,000 consumers visit the NADCA Find a Professional Directory each year and, with our new mobile responsive website and social media marketing, that number continues to grow.  Your membership gives you a company profile in the directory so consumers can find and hire your company.

4. Educating Consumers via Targeting Marketing:

We're all familiar with the air duct cleaning scams and the "blow-and-go" companies that tarnish our industries reputation.  NADCA's "Breathing Clean" campaign is designed to educate consumers on the importance of hiring a NADCA member and how to look out for signs of a scammer.  It also reinforces the age-old adage that you get what you pay for.  Your NADCA membership supports this landmark consumer education campaign and gives you access to Breathing Clean collateral, PSA's and social media marketing tips to show your company is part of this important initiative.  

5. Fighting Fraud in our Industry:

NADCA aggressively pursues trademark infringement and false claims of membership and certification to protect member's investment.  Your membership dues support these efforts, which have resulted in 97% of all reported infringement cases being successfully closed since 2014.                    

6. Discounted Access to Industry-Best Education & Training:

Your membership dues give you discounted access to all levels of training and education to help you and your technicians provide quality service in accordance with NADCA standards.  NADCA's Fall Tech Conference provides a unique hands-on learning experience for both entry-level and advanced technicians.  Plus, as a NADCA member your companies employees receive a significant registration discounts.

NADCA on-demand webinars and online training help you conveniently and affordably access practical information. From blueprint reading and estimating to cleaning internally lined ductwork, restoring coils and home/building performance contracting, there is so much to learn from our industry experts who share their experience and practical knowledge.

7.  Networking and Insights from Industry Peers:

NADCA members have direct access to unique networking opportunities and registration discounts for the NADCA Annual Conference.  If you've never attended, you're missing out on one of the best opportunities to gain valuable insights, tips and ideas from fellow members that are sure to help you grow your business.  Attendees tell us that the networking and camaraderie they developed at the meeting is priceless.

8. Affinity Program Discounts and Member Benefits:

NADCA membership entitles you to several member benefits and affinity program discounts and savings that include:

  • Equipment rental through Sunbelt rental
  • Computer equipment purchases through Dell
  • Credit card processing with Elavon
  • Mobile apps
  • Free subscriptions to DucTales Magazine and Air Conveyance E-Newsletter
  • Free marketing resource and use of the NADCA logo
  • Member mentor program

9. Opportunity to Shape and Lead the Industry:

Volunteer opportunities to serve on committees and task force groups allow you to weigh n, develop strategic programs and initiatives and participate in decision making that impacts our association, its members and the industry.  These opportunities are also an important stepping stone toward board leadership.  The NADCA Board of Directors comprises your fellow NADCA members ensuring that the strategic vision and direction of the association is in the best interest of the membership.  Take advantage of these opportunities to be an industry leader.  

10.  Using the NADCA Brand to Set Yourself Apart from the Competition

NADCA membership shows commitment to quality and sets your company apart from your competitors.  Your membership dues support NADCA's investment and commitment to promoting the importance of hiring a NADCA member company in both the commercial and residential and marketplace to give you the competitive advantage and increase your bottom line. Now thats value!

 

Contact Kristy Cohen at 855-Go-NADCA with any questions or go to, http://www.nadcs.com   

 

Intro to  Residential   Air Duct Cleaning  Guide  Intro to  Commercial Air Duct Cleaning Guide

 

Selecting the Right Air Duct Cleaning Tool for the Job Part 2 – Cleaning Tools for Commercial/Industrial Projects

Posted by Peter Haugen on Fri, Apr 28, 2017 @ 08:26 AM

Commercial air duct cleaning is different than residential air duct cleaning and presents a different set of challenges.  The HVAC systems are bigger and more complex.  This complexity requires even more tools and equipment.    Like residential, there is no one magic commercial cleaning tool.   Like residential, selecting the right cleaning tool is important because 95% of the cost of air duct cleaning is your labor cost.  Your goal is to achieve the desired level of cleanliness (via source removal) as fast as possible.  The more productive you are the more profitable you will be.   

Before we look at the different commercial cleaning tools we need to look at the different levels of cleaning that can be achieve.

Level 1 - Air Washing:  Air washing is the use of high-pressure air that comes from the air compressor through an air hose to an air nozzle. This air nozzle delivers streams of high-pressure air, which dislodges the accumulated dirt and debris found in the duct. 

Level 2 – Air WhipsAn air whip is the combination of air washing (high-pressure air) with agitation from the whip(s).  The high pressure of the air and whipping action dislodge the accumulated dirt and debris found in the duct. Air whips achieve a higher level of cleaning than air washing.

Level 3 – Brushing: Brushing (both manual and powered systems) makes physical contact with more of the interior surface of the duct.  This brushing action effectively dislodges the accumulated dirt and debris found in the ductwork.  Bushing achieves a higher level of cleaning than both air washing and air whips.

Level 3 – Contact vacuuming: Contact vacuuming makes physical contact with more of the interior surface of the duct.  This contact vacuuming action effectively dislodges the accumulated dirt and debris found in the ductwork/furnaces/air handlers.  Contact vacuuming achieves a higher level of cleaning than both air washing and air whips.

 All of the cleaning tools listed in the previous residential clean tools blog (listed below) can be used on some parts of commercial HVAC systems.  To review the description, how they work, pluses, minuses, where best used go to: Part 1 – Cleaning tools for residential/light commercial projects,        3-8-17.   

  • Air Washing Tools
  • Air Whip Systems
  • Flexible Cable Brush Systems
  • Solid Core Cable Brush Systems
  • Contact Vacuuming

 

Now let’s look the additional cleaning tools you will need for commercial projects: 

Pneumatic Brushing & Air Washing/Whipping System

Description:  These systems are pneumatic (air driven) and allow you to brush and then air wash/whip  the ductwork with the same system (but not at the same time).  They include:

  • 12”, 24” nylon brushes (32”optional)
  • 12”, 24” silica carbide brushes (32” optional)
  • Reversible air motor
  • Guide system
  • Set of extension rods (23’ of reach). Additional rods can be added
  • On/off control
  • Forward and reverse air washing nozzles
  • Optional whip kit

Super_RBS_in_duct_1.jpg 24_Nylon_Brush_on_RBS_4a.jpg

  How they work: You select the right size brush for the duct and conditions, attach it to the air motor, attach the guide system with the right size legs (to center the brush in the duct) to the air motor, attach an extension rod to the guide system, attach the on/off control to the rod, connect the air hose from your compressor to the on/off control.  Pull the trigger on the on/off control to rotate the brush and then push/pull the rod to clean that section of duct.  Add additional rods to clean the further down the duct.

After brushing, remove the brush/air motor/guide system assembly and connect the forward or reverse air washing nozzle to the rod and do a final air wash. 

Pluses: Easy to use, wide brush maximizes productivity, makes contact with most of the duct surface, guide system and rods give you excellent control, can brush and air wash with one system.  Optional whip kit gives you additional cleaning capabilities.    

Minuses: Will not negotiate turns.

Where best to use: Clean straight sheet metal and lined ducts and shafts from 4” to 30” high no matter what the width.

 

Long Reach Brushing Systems 

Description:  These electric or pneumatic systems give you extra long reach from one access point to maximize your productivity.  They include:

  • 45’, 65’, 80’ or 130’ of cable
  • Reel system
  • Electric or pneumatic powered
  • Reversible and variable speed
  • Foot operated on/off control
  • Select from several types of brushes from 8” to 48”
  • Optional centering device and other accessories

super_reach_img01.jpg

How they work: You select the right size brush for the duct and conditions, attach it to the end or the cable, insert brush/cable into duct, step on the on/off control, adjust speed if needed, push and pull cable down the duct or shaft.  Several of the systems can also air wash and spray.  

Pluses: Easy to use, wide selection of brushes, excellent reach for excellent productivity, makes contact with most of the duct surface, cleans better than air washing and air whips.   

Minuses: Will not negotiate more than 1 or 2 turns.

Where best to use: Long commercial ducts and shafts. 

 

Robotic Systems

Description:  Most robotic systems allow you to air wash/whip, power brush and spray.   These systems usually include:

  • Robotic vehicle with
  • cameras and lights
  • 100 cable
  • Air washing/whipping package
  • Power brushing package (ductwork up to 22” high)
  • Spraying package (ductwork up to 36” high
  • Control module
  • Color monitor
  • Recording capability (optional with some systems)
  • Travel cases

supertrac_vrobotic08.jpg

How they work: You determine what level of cleanliness you want and select either the air washing, air whip or brushing option and attach it to the robotic vehicle, connect the cable and any other connections needed for set up, you then can watch your cleaning activities on the color monitor as you drive the vehicle with the cleaning tool through the ductwork.   

Pluses: Excellent reach, choice of cleaning tools, great option when confined space is an issue or access is limited.  

Minuses: Usually requires two people, sometimes not as productive as other tools.

Where best to use: Clean medium size sheet metal and lined ducts with limited accessibility.

 

Coating/Sealing

Description:  Applying coatings and sanitizes in ductwork is not really cleaning but is a very common task, especially when fiberglass is present and if you are working on a fire or mold restoration project.   Sealing or eliminating leaks in ductwork is another service with great potential. 

An airless sprayer by itself or an airless sprayer with a cart or robotic spray system is typically used to apply coatings and sealers.

product_Super_whip_img01.jpg st-_spraying_package_013-resized-600.jpg

 

How they work:  You connect the cart/robotic system to the liquid line of the airless sprayer and position the cart/robot at the far end of the duct you want to coat.  Then you spray as you pull the cart (or drive the robot) toward yourself.

Pluses: Is the most productive way to apply coating, sanitizers and sealers in ductwork that is to small to crawl.       

Minuses: Dealing with coatings and sealers can be messy and require set up and clean-up time.  

Where best to use: Rectangular ductwork that is 8" to 36" high no matter what the width and round ductwork that has a 18" to 36" diameter. 

Summary

All of these cleaning tools are used by air duct cleaning Contractors every day.  Based on the level of cleaning required you will select the cleaning tool that will give you  the level of cleaning you want while maximizing your  productivity.  Most contractors, over time, end up with a tool box that includes various cleaning tools. If you have any questions about this blog article, contact Peter Haugen, ASCS, CVI at 855-Vac-Systems, 952-808-1619 or phaugen@vacsysint.com.  

 

Additional Resource:

Selecting  the Right Cleaning Tool  Guide

Tags: air duct cleaning tools, commercial air duct cleaning

Selecting the right air duct cleaning tools for the job!

Posted by Peter Haugen on Wed, Mar 08, 2017 @ 03:19 PM

Part 1 – Cleaning Tools for Residential/Light Commercial Projects

Residential air duct cleaning contractors face the challenge of cleaning a wide variety of ducts; sheet metal, flex duct, ductboard, internally lined ductwork, etc. Unfortunately with this many different types of ductwork there is no one magic cleaning tool that can clean every type and size of duct.  Selecting the right cleaning tool(s) is important because 95% of the cost of air duct cleaning is your labor cost. Your goal is to achieve the desired level of cleanliness (source removal) as fast as possible. The more productive you are the more profitable you will be.

Before we look at the different cleaning tools we need to look at the different levels of cleaning that can be achieve.

Level 1 - Air Washing: Air washing is the use of high-pressure air that comes from the air compressor through an air hose to an air nozzle. This air nozzle delivers streams of high-pressure air, which dislodges the accumulated dirt and debris found in the duct.

Level 2 – Air Whips: An air whip is the combination of air washing (high-pressure air) with agitation from the whip(s). The high pressure of the air and whipping action dislodge the accumulated dirt and debris found in the duct. Air whips achieve a higher level of cleaning than air washing.

Level 3 – Brushing: Brushing (both manual and powered systems) makes physical contact with more of the interior surface of the duct. This brushing action effectively dislodges the accumulated dirt and debris found in the ductwork. Bushing achieves a higher level of cleaning than both air washing and air whips.

Level 3 – Contact vacuuming: Contact vacuuming makes physical contact with more of the interior surface of the duct. This contact vacuuming action effectively dislodges the accumulated dirt and debris found in the ductwork/furnaces/air handlers. Contact vacuuming achieves a higher level of cleaning than both air washing and air whips.

Now let’s look at the most common residential air duct cleaning tools

Air Washing Tools  

Air washing tools use the high-pressure air that comes from the air compressor through an on/off control, through an air hose/rod to an air nozzle. This air nozzle delivers streams of high-pressure air, which dislodges the accumulated dirt and debris. Normally the forward and reverse skipper line is 25’ long but some systems could be longer. The blowgun normally has an on/off control and 10”-14” copper tube which supplies a single high pressure air steam. We recommend (at minimum) an air compressor that has up to 175 psi, 18 cfm of air and 20 gallon receiver tank. This will give you acceptable air washing productivity

 air washing.png

Description: The most common types of air washing tools are the:

  • Forward skipper line (for blowing dirt/debris forward)
  • Reverse skipper line (for blowing dirt and debris backward)
  • Blowgun (for more precise air washing)

Pluses: Easy and quick to use, fits through a 1” hole, can negotiate turns and drops in the ductwork.

Minuses: Does not clean as well as air whips or brushes.

Where best to use: When you have light to medium dust in small and medium ductwork.  

Air Whip Systems

Air whips use the high-pressure air that comes from the air compressor through the on/off control, the rods and then to the whip head. The whip(s) thrashes around inside the duct making contact with some of that duct surface as it blows air forward. The single whip head gives you the most aggressive whipping action and the octopus whip head gives you the least aggressive whip action. If you don’t have enough air pressure (psi) and volume (cfm) the whip(s) will not thrash around properly. We recommend (at minimum) an air compressor that has up to 175 psi, 18 cfm of air and 20 gallon receiver tank.     

 vacsysint.png

 Description: A typical air whip system includes:

  • Three or more whip heads (single whip, tri whip and octopus whip heads)
  • Set of five foot flexible and non flexible rods
  • Forward and reverse air nozzles
  • Duct ball support assembly
  • On/off control (ball valve or trigger valve)

Pluses: Easy and quick to use, agitates and blows in one pass, will work in most ducts, cleans better than air washing alone, can negotiate turns and drops.

Minuses: Do not clean as well as brushes or contact vacuuming.

Where best to use: When you have light to medium dust in small and medium ductwork. 

Flexible Cable Brush Systems

You select the right size brush for the duct and conditions, attach it to the brush end of the cable, attached the other end of the cable to a portable drill. Insert the brush into the duct, pull the trigger on the drill and clean the duct as you push the cable/brush back and forth into the duct.   The nylon brushes can be use on most any duct surface while the silica carbide brushes are designed for aggressive cleaning on hard surfaces only.

Brush_flexible_cable.jpg

Description: These systems normally include the following:

  • 15’ or 25’ flexible cable
  • (3) nylon brushes (8”, 12” 18”)
  • (3) silica carbide brushes (8”, 12” 18”)

Pluses: Easy to use, makes contact with most of the duct surface, cleans ducts with turns and drops, cleans better than air washing and air whips.   More productive than manual brushes.  Some flexible cables now have a bearing in the drill end of the cable. The bearing reduces the internal friction/resistance in the cable which will minimize the twisting/kinking outside the duct and most important it will give you longer cable life

Minuses: Not repairable, not recommended for ducts larger than 16” x 16”.

Where best to use: All types (sheet metal, flex, ductboard, etc.) of small and medium size ductwork.   

Solid Core Cable Brush Systems

You select the right size brush for the duct and conditions, attach it to the brush end of the cable, attached the other end of the cable to a portable drill. Insert the brush into the duct, pull the trigger on the drill and clean the duct as you push the cable/brush back and forth into the duct.   The nylon brushes can be use on most any duct surface while the silica carbide brushes are designed for aggressive cleaning on hard surfaces only.

Brush_solid_core_cable.jpg

Description: These systems have a stiffer cable than the flexible cable and give you more control of the brush head. These systems normally include the following:

20’ or 33’ solid core cable

  • (3) nylon brushes (8”, 12” 18”)
  • (3) silica carbide brushes (8”, 12” 18”).

Pluses: Easy to use, makes contact with most of the duct surface, the stiffer cables gives you better control over where the brush is going, cleans better than air washing and air whips, if inner solid core breaks it is field replaceable.  

Minuses: Will not negotiate turns and drops very well. Eventually the inner solid core will break if used on turns.

Where best to use: All types of small and medium size ductwork and shafts that are relatively straight.  

Contact Vacuuming

You attach your cleaning tool (the 3” round soft bristle brush is used most often) to the hose that is connected to the vacuum, turn the unit on and vacuum the surface you are trying to clean. If its ductwork, you reach through your access opening and vacuum the duct as far as you can reach and then cut additional access openings as needed. If you are cleaning a small air handler, rooftop, furnace you typically remove the panels and  vacuum all the surfaces you can reach. On large air handlers, rooftops or ductwork you may actually be able to walk or crawl inside the unit and vacuum the required surfaces.

 hepa_vacs_img03.jpg

Description: Contact vacuuming is typically done with a HEPA filtered portable vac that has a set of vacuum cleaning tools (much like your home vacuum cleaner). Most systems include:

  • 10 or 15 gallon capacity HEPA filtered vacuum
  • Set of cleaning tools
  • 10’, 25’ or 50’ length of hose.

Pluses: Gives you excellent cleaning results.  

Minuses: Not very productive for cleaning small to medium size ductwork compared to other cleaning tools.  

Where best to use: air handlers, rooftops, furnaces and grilles/registers

Summary:

All of these cleaning tools are used by air duct cleaning Contractors every day. Based on the level of cleaning required you will select the cleaning tool that will give you the level of cleaning you want while maximizing your productivity. Most contractors, over time, end up with a tool box that includes various cleaning tools. If you have any questions about this blog article, contact Peter Haugen, ASCS, CVI at 855-Vac-Systems, 952-808-1619 or phaugen@vacsysint.com.  

Additional Resource:

Selecting  the Right Cleaning Tool  Guide

 Part 2 – Cleaning Tools for Commercial Projects - Next Month

 

Tags: air duct cleaning tools

Winning Strategies for Commercial Air Duct Cleaning

Posted by Peter Haugen on Wed, Feb 01, 2017 @ 01:00 AM

success puzzle.jpg  success ahead 4.jpg

Commercial air duct cleaning is different than residential air duct cleaning. The work hours are different; the HVAC systems are larger and more complex.  You’ll need more types of cleaning tools, more financial resources, more knowledge and more connections!  The challenges are many but the rewards are great - if you’re successful!  What do you need to do to be successful?  You need a winning strategy (plan of action) too help guide you.   This article will examine three topics that hopefully will help you grow your business. 

What Services Should I Offer?

Here is list of services to think about:

  • Inspection/documentation services: Many commercial projects require before and after visual documentation so you’ll need to this at minimum. If you go above and beyond that and offer professional Visual Inspections Services to the Indoor Air Quality community you not only create a new revenue stream but you will put yourself at the head of line if these inspection project turn into air duct cleaning projects. Your reputation within the Indoor Air Quality community will also grow, which will be good for your business.
  • Duct cleaning (supply, return, exhaust, etc): Ductwork comes in all shapes and sizes. Some are large enough to crawl through and clean while others must be cleaned with various cleaning tools (power brushes, air whips, air washing, and contact vacuuming). You typically put the ductwork under negative pressure from you vacuum collection system, cut access holes and zone off as needed, and then do your source removal.
  • Air handler cleaning and restoration: Air handles always have a fan but they also can include heating/cooling coils, filter banks, various dampers/mixing boxes, fresh air intakes etc. This will require a lot of surface cleaning, coil cleaning and some drain pan cleaning and refurbishment.
  • Coating HVAC systems: Some ductwork and air handlers have internal insulation. Over time this insulation can be degraded due to air erosion or fire and mold contamination. Sometimes it has to be removed and other times it can be cleaned and coated or replaced with close cell liner. This extends the life of the HVAC system and saves the building owner a significant amount. Applying coatings after the system has been cleaned requires some additional equipment.
  • Sealing HVAC systems: All HVAC systems have some leakage through the cracks, seams, and holes. Sealing these leaks is the best single thing you can do reduce energy cost of an HVAC system. Sealing like coating does require some additional equipment to do before and after leakage testing and equipment to apply the sealer. Sealing has a great return on investment for the building owner.
Offering these core services will allow you to satisfy most HVAC system inspection, cleaning and restoration needs.

Maximize Your Productivity:

Maximizing your productivity as you perform your services help you to: 

  • Maximize your profits on each project.
  • Gives you more time to do additional projects.
  • Makes you more competitive when you are bidding on projects because you can use a faster production rate and hopefully win more projects.
How do you improve your productivity? You examine your cleaning and other procedures and try to identify areas where you think improvement is possible. This may require doing things differently or getting new or different tools/equipment.

Here are some ideas:   

  • If there is a cleaning specification on the project, make sure all your questions are answered and that there are no gray areas. It’s these gray areas that can cause disagreements and delays. You want a clean straight forward cleaning specification to follow.
  • Do an inspection of the HVAC system to eliminate surprises that require extra time and resources to deal with. The most productive way to do an inspection is with a robotic inspection system.
  • Develop an estimating process that is flexible enough to account for a wide range of projects (simple to complex) yet gives you consistent results so you can compare results over time and make adjustments in production rates and labor rates to keep you competitive.
  • Isolate longer duct runs with each vacuum collection hook-up and eliminate the time required
  • To cut additional access openings, move and set up equipment. To do this you need a vacuum collection systemthat provides the longest lasting suction possible with good collection capacity.
  • Have cleaning tools that have a longer reach so you can clean longer duct runs from each access opening eliminating the need to cut additional access openings, move and set up equipment. This can be critical when ductwork is above a hard ceiling or underground or just with very limited access. Long reach cleaning systems and robotic systems typically have this longer reach.
  • Don’t waste time waiting for your compressor to charge up when you are air washing, air whipping or using pneumatic tools? At minimum you should use a compressor that can deliver 175 psi and 18 cfm of air with at least a 20 gallon receiver tank to minimize waiting. More air is more productivity!
  • If you are applying a coating or sealer in ductwork, don’t cut access opening every 5-10 ft and reach in with your hand help sprayer with extension wand. Maximize your coating productivity by using a cart or robotic spray system. With a cart you can spray up to 35’ in each direction from one access opening and up to 90’ in each direction with robotic spray systems.
  • There is not a huge difference in coatings. Most have EPA registered antimicrobials to protect the coating, meet NFPA requirements, are LEED certified, have good adhesion, etc. To help maximize your coating productivity however, pick a coating that you don’t need to stir or strain prior to spraying (stirring and straining is done to minimize the chance of getting a clogged spray tip which can cause a lot of wasted time).   All coatings give off some voc’s. You and your customer will be happier if you use a coating with the lowest possible voc’s.
  • If you drill 1” access holes in ductwork to use your cleaning tools minimize your metal shaving clean up time by using tools that capture these sometimes hot metal shavings before they fall

Target Your Marketing:

Where do you get the biggest bang for marketing effort? Here are some suggestions:

  • The best marketing in the world is to do a great job every time. Happy customers are happy to refer you to others. This could be a direct word of mouth referral or a testimonial or a job story that you can share with others.
  • If you offer a variety of services (air duct cleaning, restoration, carpet cleaning, etc) your non air duct cleaning customers are the first group you should market your air duct cleaning services to. You already have a relationship with them and you have already earned their trust. Let these people know you are now offering air duct cleaning services.
  • Get to know the commercial Mechanical Contractors in your market. This group can have the biggest impact on your success because they can hire you as a subcontractor. Create a data base of the commercial Mechanical Contractors in your area. Reach out to them and talk to them face to face so you can explain who you are, what you do and why you should be on their “approved bidders list.” Once on this list, you will be notified of upcoming projects they want you to bid on. Doing a good job will keep you on their “approved bidders list.”  

Summary:

Winning strategies will give you a road map to help you grow your business. We have just touched on winning strategies in three areas here, but there are many more. If you have any questions about this blog article, contact Peter Haugen, ASCS, CVI at 855-Vac-Systems, 952-808-1619 or phaugen@vacsysint.com.  
 
Additional Resource: 

Going from Residential to Commercial Air Duct Cleaning  Guide Intro to  Commercial Air Duct Cleaning Guide Intro to Estimating Commercial  Projects  Guide Intro to Coating & Sealing  HVAC Systems Guide 

Tags: grow your business, commercial air duct cleaning

Air Duct Cleaning: Chemicals used in HVAC systems

Posted by Peter Haugen on Fri, Dec 30, 2016 @ 11:33 AM

Chemicals Used in HVAC Systems.jpg

Introduction:

There is a lot of diversity of information regarding the use of chemicals, cleaners, sealants and coatings inside air handling systems. NADCA recognized the need to provide some direction in this complicated and evolving area and developed the “Chemical Product Application in HVAC Systems” white paper. This article is an overview of NADCA’s white paper and as such, it does not include all of the details of the white paper.   It does look at the major topic areas, however. 

It is generally agreed that source removal of contaminants remains the single best method for cleaning and decontaminating HVAC systems. However, chemicals may be applied within HVAC systems for a variety of reasons. This position paper provides an overview of the products and associated techniques utilized in and around HVAC systems.  

It is not necessary to apply chemical products to achieve source removal within an HVAC system. However, applying appropriate cleaning compounds may enhance the cleaning process (e.g., coils, hard surfaces, blowers). 

Safety:

Workers must be trained to follow procedures on the label and in the current MSDS bulletin for the safe use, handling, and storage of any product used to treat an HVAC system. Appropriate personal protective equipment must be worn, including respiratory protection if required. Correct application procedures must be understood and carried out to avoid hazards from failing to use the product according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Types of Antimicrobial Products:

  • Antimicrobial pesticide
  • Sanitizer
  • Disinfectant
  • Fungicide
  • Fungistat
  • Bacteriostat
  • Algaestats 

Note: See the white paper for complete antimicrobial product definitions.  

EPA Requirements:

At this time, the EPA has not accepted any disinfectant, sanitizer or fungicidal products for use in the ductwork of HVAC systems. However, some of these products are accepted for use in other parts of HVAC systems. Those products which have been accepted by the EPA for use in the ductwork of HVAC systems includes ones with the following claims:

  • Fungistatic
  • Bacteriostatic
  • Inhibits odor-causing bacteria and fungi
  • Inhibits stain and damage-causing bacteria, fungi, and algae
  • Deodorizes
  • Inhibits fungi and algae
  • Cleaning (a non pesticidal activity; removal of contaminants)  

Antimicrobial products are available for the treatment of coils, drain pans and other related HVAC system surfaces. Refer to the EPA-accepted product label for specific directions for treatment of these surfaces. 

All antimicrobial pesticides for use in HVAC systems are required to be registered by the EPA. Products without specific HVAC directions are not to be used on these surfaces. A product has only been evaluated based on the directions for use listed on the label. The product is likely not to be effective if used in incorrect amounts or for a different dwell time. 

The label will also include the following information:

  • Specific pest(s) against which the product is effective (meaning that the product has only passed the testing requirements for those organisms listed on the label).
  • Sites (homes, hospitals, etc.) and surfaces (e.g., cooling coil) to which the product may be applied. This means that the product may only be used at those sites and on those surfaces which are identified on the label.
  • Type of equipment or method used to apply the product including application rate and contact time.
  • How often the product is applied. Reapply as directed by the label.
  • In order for the product to be effective it must be used in accordance with the directions for use (application method and rate, and dwell time).
  • Pesticide manufacturers may make available a diluted-solution or secondary-container-use label (which must be consistent with the EPA-approved label) when using concentrated products. 

Typical Use of Antimicrobial Products:

  • The major use of antimicrobial products in HVAC systems is for the inhibition of microbial growth on hard surfaces within components such as air handlers, fans and duct interiors.
  • Disinfectant products may be used in coils, drain pans, and other parts of the air handler.
  • HVAC components that have been exposed to flood water or sewage contamination should be assumed to contain disease-causing organisms and should be disinfected prior to being placed back into service. Since no disinfectants are registered for use in air ducts, systems that have been exposed to contamination from floods, sewage, or similar biological contamination must be evaluated by a qualified individual prior to being placed back into service. Cleaning alone may or may not be satisfactory. Replacement of such duct sections may be necessary.
  • Products chosen must include label directions detailing use in HVAC systems and their components and those directions must be followed. 

Application Method:

Antimicrobial products are generally applied through spraying, wiping or fogging. However, the application method chosen must be one that is in the label directions. Antimicrobials should only be applied after the surfaces have been cleaned. Surface soil or contamination can interfere with the efficacy of a product. When using any antimicrobial product, follow the directions carefully and use the personal protective equipment as directed by the label. 

Best Practices:

  • Follow instructions and safety precautions as per the EPA-accepted label.
  • Use in a well-ventilated area.
  • Keep in original or properly marked container.
  • Label all containers. Where concentrated products are used, label containers holding diluted (ready to use) products.
Summary:

In addition to exploring antimicrobial products, the white paper also includes sections dealing with the following topics that are not covered in this article:

  • Sealants
  • Resurfacing Materials (repair coatings)
  • Coil Cleaning Compounds
  • Soap & Detergents
  • Degreasers

Using chemicals in addition to source removal is certainly not needed on every air duct cleaning project. But some projects do need the use of chemicals to satisfy project/customer requirements.  Be sure you understand what types of chemicals can be used and what components they can be used on.  It is highly recommended that you read and understand NADCA’s Chemical Product Application in HVAC Systems white paper (see link blow).  If you have any questions about this blog article, contact Peter Haugen, ASCS, CVI at 855-Vac-Systems, 952-808-1619 or phaugen@vacsysint.com.   

Additional Resources:

For more information please read NADCA’s:

 

Tags: air duct cleaning, chemicals use in HVAC systems

What Type of Vacuum Collection System is Right for You?

Posted by Peter Haugen on Fri, Dec 02, 2016 @ 03:28 PM

There is a wide selection of vacuum collection systems that you can choose from. This decision is important because the vacuum collection system you select has a big impact on:

  • What types of residential and commercial buildings you can or cannot clean.
  • Your air duct cleaning process.
  • Your operating cost.
  • Your productivity.
Any of these systems can be used on 1 & 2 story residential and light commercial air duct cleaning projects. On multistory commercial air duct cleaning projects, electric portables are the most popular choice. Let’s look at the different types of vacuum collection systems and their strengths (+) and weaknesses (-).

2007_Biltwell_Modified_Series_II_Vacuum_Truck.jpg

Big Truck Vacuum Collection Systems (gas):

+ Best performance (suction)

+ No zoning required

+ Best adverting impact

- Highest first cost ($70,000 to $140,000 includes collector, compressor and truck)

- Highest operating cost (gas)

- Highest maintenance cost

+ Can do 1-2 story residential and commercial buildings

- Can’t do multi-story buildings (apartments, condos, commercial)

SC_TG31_Plus.jpg 

Trailer/Truck Mounted Vacuum Collection Systems (gas):

+ Very good performance (suction)

+ Zoning not normally required

+ Very good adverting impact

- High first cost ($16,000 to $20,000 includes collector and compressor)

- High operating cost (gas)

- Medium maintenance cost

+ Can do 1-2 story residential and commercial buildings

- Can’t do multi-story buildings (apartments, condos, commercial)

supercollector_g20_02.jpg

Portable Gas Vacuum Collection Systems:

+ Very good performance (suction)

+ Zoning not normally required

- Medium first cost ($4,500 to $8,500)

- High operating cost (gas)

- Low maintenance cost

+ Can do 1-2 story buildings (residential & light commercial)

- Can’t do multi-story buildings (apartments, condos, commercial)

e2_front_view__05.jpg

Portable Electric Vacuum Collection Systems:

+ Good performance (suction)

- Zoning normally required

+ Lowest first cost ($3,000 to $10,000)

+ Lowest operating cost

+ Lowest maintenance cost

+ Can do 1-2 story buildings  (residential & commercial)

+ Can do multi-story buildings (apartments, condos, commercial)

Summary

Within these different types of vacuum collection systems, there are also several choices (from different manufactures) to choose from. So be sure to do your homework before you decided.   Get several proposals with all the technical information.  Think about the type of work you want to do and which type of vacuum collection system will best meet your requirements.  This decision will have a significant impact on your business. 

If you have any questions about this blog article, contact Peter Haugen, ASCS, CVI at 855-Vac-Systems, 952-808-1619 or phaugen@vacsysint.com.

 

Additional Resources: 

Intro to  Residential   Air Duct Cleaning  Guide  Going from Residential to Commercial Air Duct Cleaning  Guide  Intro to  Commercial Air Duct Cleaning Guide

Tags: vacuum collection system

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