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Air Duct Cleaning, Hurricane Sandy and Wet, Moldy Ductwork

//Air Duct Cleaning, Hurricane Sandy and Wet, Moldy Ductwork
Air Duct Cleaning, Hurricane Sandy and Wet, Moldy Ductwork 2018-05-30T16:55:58+00:00

Let’s face it, we all hope they won’t occur, but natural disasters DO indeed happen and when they do they are just that, a disaster.  There is a lot of work that must be done after a flooding event such as Superstorm Sandy.  Exposure from polluted flood water may result in any number of health problems: stomach and digestion issues, headache, cough, flu-like discomforts, and abdominal cramps just to name a few. This dirty water and all that it contains must be completely drained and thoroughly cleaned and removed from affected houses.  Some of this clean up can be done by the homeowner himself but in most cases he will need professional help.  Water and mold remediation is best handled by a professional cleaning and restoration company.  A Building Contractor can help with repairs and structural damage.  He might also need a Plumber and an Electrical Contractor to help with the HVAC and electrical systems.  Not to be overlooked is the duct work. A homeowner should certainly take immediate steps to drain his ducts, but even if they are drained and dried, they will need to be professionally vacuumed and sanitized. If you do not thoroughly clean them out, your system will be blowing foul and dusty air throughout your home.  It is also imperative after a flood to sanitize the ducts with the proper chemicals.

Metal duct work that has been submerged or exposed to flood waters will eventually dry out. However, even after the water recedes, the contaminants left behind pose health risks.   This dust, debris and microorganisms are a perfect food source for mold.   A homeowner should contact a duct cleaner that follows strict NADCA (National Air Duct Cleaners Association) standards and have the duct work and complete HVAC system vacuumed AND sanitized.  Even after a complete duct cleaning service there is always going to be microscopic enzymes and bacteria left inside the ducts.  Ductwork is constructed from numerous pieces of sheet metal that is bent and folded into either rectangular, square or round pipe pieces.  No matter which shape is formed, there is going to be a significant amount of seams, corners and crevices that result (see diagrams)SLIP-DRIVE-CONNECTION.pittsburgh_lock_seam1 Also, when pieces are connected, there is going to be some kind of seam, notch, rivet or dimple where the pieces are melded.  These areas naturally collect dust and dirt, and in the case of flooding, biological materials also.  A powerful vacuum truck will remove most of these particles but proper sanitizing is critical.  A professional duct cleaner will use a strong  yet safe sanitizer manufactured strictly for this purpose.  Advanced Furnace & Air Duct Cleaning applies the sanitizer Oxine directly into the HVAC system blower after the ducts have been thoroughly cleaned. Oxine is an EPA approved sanitizing spray that is completely safe for use in residences and other buildings, even if people are present.  When properly applied it will encroach in all the cracks and creases of the duct work and kill the mold, bacteria, viruses and other harmful organisms that are residing there. If the HVAC system is on, the sanitizer will remain “damp” for up to an hour. If the HVAC system isn’t running, the sanitizer will remain in its liquid state for up to 8 hours.  After it completes its intended purpose, Oxine will completely break down into the same chemical components as table salt.


Typical flex duct

If your home has flexible duct work in it, and those flexible duct lines have gotten wet, they must be completely removed and replaced.  You cannot safely dry out flexible duct work due to its construction of multiple layers.  There is a thick mylar coating over a helical spring which is insulated in fiberglass. The whole piece is then wrapped in a thick protective layer of vinyl.  Once the fiberglass insulation layer gets wet it cannot be dried.  The only solution is to remove it and replace it.  This is also true of metal duct work that is lined with fiberglass insulation. If the insulation is INSIDE the duct and the duct gets wet, you must replace the whole affected piece. However, if the insulation is outside of the duct and simply wraps around it, you can remove this insulating layer, discard it, and replace it after the ducts are completely dried out (ideally a month or so later).

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