Treating Ducts With Biocides Is It Safe

It is not unusual for molds and mildew to grow in your ducts. Ducts are one of the perfect hubs for them to breed and grow actively. All they need for their sustenance is moisture. Ducts often turn leaky as insulation get into bad shape, or they leak at the seams. This allows moisture to get inside the ducts. Besides this debris in the attic, crawl spaces etc. also get inside the duct through the holes. Moisture and debris provide ideal ambience for microbial growth. It is not easy to get rid of mold only through AC ducts cleaning. You will see a regrowth before long. In such cases the AC ducts cleaning services usually recommend spraying biocides into your ducts. This may terminate the growth for good but there is no proof that spraying chemicals in your ducts is free of health hazards.

You should make carful considerations before allowing their use. Here are a few things that you should know in this context.

• Organic chemicals are usually sprayed in the ducts to stop the growth of mold and bacteria. These are useful in cleaning and sanitizing products. However this can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in form of gases. The gases may be absolutely colourless and odorless but it may have long-term or short-term effects on heath when sprayed and circulated in the ducts. They will of course reach you livings space with the air after doing so.

• If you have duct boards of fiberglass, which is badly infested with molds then you should know that there is no EPA approved products to disinfect it. In such cases replace your duct.

• If you have to go for application of biocides in the ducts, then always take look at the product sheet to know how it is to be used. The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) will tell you about possible effects on health. You should ensure that cleaners use it according to the instructions on the label.

• NADCA does not quit approve the use of antimicrobials in the duct system. It has expressed its stand in clear worlds- “At this point in time, until EPA clarifies their position, NADCA does not recommend the use of any sanitizer or disinfectant products in air ducts.” NADCA members can face legal consequences if they sell and use antimicrobial chemicals. NADCA’s strict stand is associated with sanitizers and disinfectants that have to do with ducts and not HVAC components.

• Some cleaners will recommend spraying ozone to kill biological contaminants. Never opt for it. Ozone is very reactive gas. It has been called a primary lung irritant. The gas has highly corrosive and toxic properties. Many components of the air handling system would be adversely affected by this corrosive gas.

• All pesticides are regulated by the EPA under federal pesticide laws. So the biocide used in the duct should be EPA approved product. The instructions of using it should appear on the label, along with other important information. If it is not used according to the instructions, it is violation of the federal law.

• When the chemicals are being sprayed in your ducts, open doors and windows to ventilate the area with fresh air. Also start the HVAC fan. If you feel sick as result of the chemical, leave the premises. Consult an Industrial Hygienist ASAP.




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