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NADCA: A Tradition of Excellence Since 1989
History was made in February of 1989, when approximately 25 people met in Kansas City, Missouri, to discuss industry issues and the possibility of forming a national association to represent the interests of professional air duct cleaning companies.
Mr. John Sumerlin, the owner of Pringle Power Vac in Walla Walla, Washington, had set up the meeting and invited his customers to attend. The group met over the next two days to discuss a variety of business and industry issues. Over the years, a variety of approaches to air duct cleaning had found their way into the market, and by the 1980s the practice of “gluing” dust, dirt, and other contaminants to the surface of air ducts threatened the very existence of the industry.
Participants in the meeting agreed that source removal was the only acceptable means of cleaning ductwork, and that an association of like-minded individuals was needed to discourage the practice of encapsulation and promote source removal as the industry standard.
After discussing a number of options, they decided to name the organization the National Air Duct Cleaners Association. Bylaws were adopted and membership dues were established.
The first issue of DucTales was published in September 1989 as a four page newsletter. This and subsequent issues of the newsletter were mailed to over 1,000 prospective members. By December of 1989, the membership had reached 75 companies. However, more members were still needed to sustain the organization and meet the needs of the industry.
The NADCA Annual Meeting
The decision to hold the 1st Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, in February of 1990 set the stage for what would become a turning point for the association. The first annual meeting was a turning point for NADCA because it demonstrated widespread industry support and a genuine need for an association that was dedicated to promoting high standards of quality.
After suffering from a poor image for many years, thanks to scam operations and low-quality service of some companies, there was finally hope that an organization of professional air duct cleaners would make a difference in how the industry was perceived.
Since that year, the NADCA Annual Meeting & Exposition has become the organization’s most popular event. It is a place where long-time colleagues can reunite, new technicians can learn about the industry, and cutting-edge equipment is showcased.
Standardizing HVAC Cleanliness
Following many arduous meetings held monthly for nearly two years, in 1992 NADCA’s Standards Committee produced Standard 1992-01, Mechanical Cleaning of Non-Porous Air Conveyance System Components.
The standard was then NADCA’s most important achievement, and Davidge Warfield said in a 1992 issue of DucTales that, “With this quantifiable performance standard, we can now offer customers a verifiable level of cleaning performance.”
The current NADCA Standard is the ACR 2013.
Certified to do the Job, and Do it Well
After years of planning among members of the certification committee, NADCA launched the first certification program for Air Systems Cleaning Specialists (ASCS). Working with a team of test development professionals, the Committee developed an examination covering all aspects of HVAC system cleaning, including practical knowledge and field experience, industry codes and standards, and principles of HVAC operation.
The first certification examinations were administered on November 4, 1995, in five cities: Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Dallas. By the end of the year, NADCA had 135 certified ASCSs.
The Ventilation System Mold Remediator (VSMR) program launched in 2003. By the end of the year, more than 120 individuals participated in the training and passed the VSMR exam.
NADCA also launched the Certified Ventilation Inspector (CVI) training and certification programs. More than 130 individuals became Certified Ventilation Inspectors that year.
Educating Members to the Highest Standard
After years of debate on whether NADCA should provide training programs for its members and others, it was finally concluded that training and education should be a top priority for the association. This new direction set the stage for NADCA’s growth and maturation for years to come.
The first ASCS Training Class made its debut at the 2001 Annual Meeting in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NADCA now offers training throughout the year, both online and in person.
NADCA continues its support of the industry by pursuing legal recourse against scam companies that call themselves duct cleaners, but who are interested only in using “bait and switch” tactics to rip off and misinform consumers. NADCA always has, and always will continue to support the industry and its members, so that consumers will equate our industry with quality, necessary services.