Considerations When Doing HVAC Ductwork

A space quite often forgotten and left unprotected during renovations is the HVAC ductwork or mechanical equipment. Sawdust is biodegradable but if it gets into the ductwork, it can become moist making it the perfect nutrient for mold growth. When the HVAC unit kicks on, it spreads the mold spores throughout the building.

If replacing the ductwork, avoid duct board and flex duct. When duct board becomes moist, mold will root into it. The best option to remove the mold is to remove the duct board so the roots are eliminated. Flexible ducts are not easily cleaned. Solid metal ducts are the best option.

Properly insulate ductwork in attics and crawlspaces. Otherwise, condensation may occur when there are changes in temperature. Moisture and dust in the ductwork create a perfect environment for the propagation of mold. Ductwork should be insulated on the outside of the ductwork, not the inside. Otherwise, it cannot be adequately cleaned.

Use filters recommended by the manufacturer. Initially, filters should be checked monthly to determine the replacement timing required for the building. All buildings will be slightly different depending on the use and occupancy of the building.

Before re-occupancy after renovations, consideration should be taken to have the HVAC system professionally cleaned.

Many IAQ investigations end in the identification of poor indoor air because of dirty or contaminated ductwork. Protecting the ductwork during renovations is crucial.

The amount of ventilation will be determined by the size of the area being renovated and the amount of construction dust and off-gassing that will occur. It is crucial to have the air pulled from the area and exhausted to the outdoors rather than forcing fresh air into the work area. Doing so will cause polluted air to enter areas adjacent to the work area. 

Cleaning should occur daily along with a deep cleaning after the demolition and a final deep cleaning upon completion of all construction and renovation. Proper deep cleaning must be employed, including HEPA vacuuming, damp wiping, and a final HEPA vacuuming, and when applicable, cleaning of the ductwork.

Material encapsulation is the process of placing a barrier between the material of concern and the indoor air. This reduces the number of gases or particles emitted into the indoor air from the building component or the products used to perform their installation. Although some encapsulation occurs automatically as a result of the work plan, it is usually safer to specify the use of materials that do not off-gas or that are low-VOC instead of attempting to encapsulate all surfaces.

Encapsulants typically include high-pressure plastic laminates, factory-applied coatings or films, and coats of water-based polyurethane lacquer.

So if you are planning to do ductwork anytime soon, keep these points n mind and contact Baxter Environmental Group, Inc. if you need help making sure your indoor air quality stays healthy!

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY ebook.


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