The Importance Of Air Duct Cleaning In Education

ByMarc Silberberg


Students and the academic staff spend the majority of their time indoors at school. That’s why it’s essential to ensure that these facilities and educational rooms are well ventilated and support good indoor air quality. By conducting routine HVAC and air duct cleaning, we can protect and support our students and teachers as they return to school post the pandemic. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most classrooms were sitting empty for months, and there were also a number of offices that were sitting empty as well. Cleaning the air ducts and HVAC systems before opening the schools is vital to the facility’s air quality and students respiratory health. It is important to consider that air quality has an impact on our children’s performance at school and curriculum performance. 

For example, dirty air ducts in a school’s HVAC systems can aggravate the staff and students’ asthma and other respiratory conditions by spreading mold spores and disgusting accumulated odors inside school walls, classrooms, conference rooms, cafeterias, and even under the floors. Each educational facility has a network of ducts leading to and from a central A/C and heating system. It’s a lot of ground to cover and keep clear for clean air. 

Not only is it essential for our health, but when a school makes sure to perform routine air duct cleaning, it will lower energy bills while improving indoor air quality. That’s a critical ongoing benefit of proper air ventilation. When we breathe better, we live better and learn better too. 

While millions of children are still learning remotely due to COVID-19 precautions and preventing potential surges, a significant amount of students are coming back nationwide versus last year, when an approximate 77 million students were learning from afar. 

So, be it at home or school, we all need fresh air constantly. Quality ventilation removes indoor pollutants by bringing in the outdoor air and exhausting the indoor air outside the home. Beyond that, the maintenance and machinery used in education facilities, as well as in our homes, benefits from proper ventilation. On a very basic level of understanding, if you need to dry sheets or clothes, your dryer vents need to be cleaned regularly to enhance your dryer’s efficiency. 

By implementing a proper air duct cleaning program that includes HVAC quality control, students can return to school safely in regard to the air quality and respiratory health. 

To Be Sure Your Classroom Is Thoroughly Clean, Have The Ductwork Inspected

Our schools’ heating and cooling system is the lungs of our student’s classrooms. Getting the best duct cleaning services for our facilities is pivotal for school budgets and high quality results. One would think there could be an allowance for such a health-conscious investment. This month, Congress rejected calls to keep federal funding for school lunches. The money that would go toward free school meals was left out of the US 1.5 trillion spending bill. It has been noted that returning to regular social engagements could enable the faster spreading of new COVID-19 variants.

As a matter of fact, there are a number of people out there who are considering limiting the interaction between large groups. However, this is actually because the virus is airborne by nature and not specific to large or small crowds per se. As a result, investing in clean air ventilation can serve at least one purpose for students, faculty, and staff in schools which is to keep them healthier and more resilient against whatever viral threats may be posed in the future. No matter a class’s size. 

The most common indoor pollutants include volatile organic compounds, which are produced by building materials, finishes, furniture, and cleaning products. In addition, indoor pollutants can also have respiratory aerosols exhaled by occupants in buildings. It’s essential to reduce the spread of airborne infectious diseases, including COVID-19

Many communities are rightfully concerned about air ventilation in the 2022 school year. In addition to other preventive actions, proper ventilation is critical for maintaining a healthy environment. Wearing a well-fitting, multilayer mask keeps virus particles from entering the air and protects mask wearers. Plus, airborne virus particles can also be reduced by good ventilation.

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) provided $122 billion to the Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) to assist schools in preventing COVID-19 from spreading and in recovering from its effects, including improving indoor air quality, to the point where school leaders can take action now to improve ventilation in their buildings.

Good air ventilation also reduces the indoor concentration of carbon dioxide, CO2; students and teachers exhale that. In general, we don’t consider CO2 as an indoor pollutant. However, some research suggests that when the concentration of CO2 builds indoors, it can affect the engagement and performance of students.  

When performing air duct cleaning in a school, it is essential to remember that HVAC systems are among the largest energy consumers in schools. You want to do this right and follow the air quality guidelines from national departments, like the National Institute of Health and Office of Research Services. For example, the state recommends routine preventive maintenance on HVAC systems should be performed. School administrators should work to comply with manufacturers’ schedules for changing HVAC filters, cleaning coils, and other components. 

How Much Does Air Duct Cleaning Cost?

It is possible to save money for tomorrow if we take action today. Considering that, how much does duct cleaning cost then? A/C and heating systems in your house or building have a network of ducts that connect to your central A/C and heating system. This implies that the cost of services will depend on the size, length, and dirtiness of the area inside your walls and under your floors. 

For residential properties, the average air duct cleaning costs ranges from $269 to $486, with the national average at $373. But, depending on the duct’s condition, fees can climb to over $1,000. But for commercial duct cleaning services, the costs can range differently. 

Professional air duct cleaners are expected to provide you with a document that outlines the scope of the work to be completed as well as the steps to be taken. It is important to be informed about the methods and schedule that will be used prior to any work being performed.

The cost of cleaning residential air ducts ranges from $300 to $700. Cleaning ducts and vents can cost as much as $25 to $45 per vent or $0.15 to $0.25 per square foot. To prevent mold growth, air duct sanitizing costs between $70 and $150. An air duct inspection costs between $80 and $180. Dryer vent cleaning costs between $80 and $185. Because of all the variables, it’s imperative to get an in-home estimate from a professional prior to starting any duct cleaning job. The last thing you want is to get stuck with a bill that you did not anticipate.

You should also clean your ducts if they’re infested with rodents, birds, insects, or clogged with dust and debris. There was even a case once where a dog was found in an air vent. These situations will interfere with your HVAC system and blow nasty particles into your living space. With clean ducts, you might breathe better if you have asthma or other respiratory issues. Whether or not air duct cleaning is necessary, and whether it’s worth your money, will depend on the proper assessment of an NADCA certified air duct cleaning specialist. It’s important to note that ancillary issues, be it rodents, birds’ nests, or anything else, will propagate service charges, and you may need to budget for those. 

Final Words

It cannot be overstated what a significant role air ducts play within schools, as well as the importance of proper ventilation and frequent air duct cleaning schedules. It is well known that students who are located in enclosed environments with a high concentration of people are at a higher risk of getting sick from viral diseases and infections. 

The indoor air quality will impact the health and cognitive function of students. But, we can improve respiratory health through increased ventilation flow, maintaining a healthy student body, school attendance, and decreasing airborne transmission. We can do this in several ways, and they’ll work best with a holistic approach and proper funding. 

First, hire the right HVAC and air duct cleaning professionals. Top professionals in the industry won’t skip a beat. One such association of top professionals is the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA). The entire duct cleaning project will run smoothest when an in-depth review is first conducted to determine the expectations and desired outcome for both the customer and the duct cleaning company. Keep in mind the following:

  • In order to prevent contaminants from spreading, the entire HVAC system is put under continuous negative pressure and vacuumed during cleaning.
  • When the system is turned on after cleaning, the continuous negative pressure allows very fine particles to be removed from the system as they become airborne. This prevents these particles from being released into the living space.
  • The negative pressure also extracts loose contaminants, which are then collected and removed from your home.

HVAC components are often exposed to significant amounts of debris and particulates during construction activities within a building. NADCA recommends that newly installed HVAC systems or HVAC systems undergoing renovation be verified clean and protected before they can be operated. 

With all this said, let’s not compromise our indoor air quality with dirty ducts. It will be better for our future health and children’s education.

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