Many types of tools and equipment can be used to successfully clean an HVAC unit. Some companies use truck-mounted equipment and others use portable vacuums. NADCA standards state that, when used properly, both types of equipment can get the job done correctly.
The following are some common types of tools and equipment used on HVAC inspection, maintenance and restoration jobs. Please note that this is not a complete list, and some types of tools and equipment may be missing.
Access tools consist of devices used by technicians to create entry points in the HVAC system to facilitate inspection and cleaning. These access points may range from small holes for optical imaging, to entry panels large enough to accommodate service personnel entry and bulkier equipment.
Visual inspection devices can be used to evaluate the build up of debris and contamination within an HVAC system, monitor the cleaning process, and evaluate the success of the cleaning methods employed. Some common tools include:
Direct‑view "periscope" (mirror device with eyepiece for right angle viewing, often with light source attached)
Closed circuit television (CCTV) camera system
Camera (35mm SLR, etc.)
Hand Cleaning Tools
"Hand cleaning tools" include simple brushes and a number of pneumatic agitation and cleaning devices. Accumulated debris is often loosened from ductwork and other HVAC system components by power brushing and/or manual brushing. Pneumatic devices such as blowguns, air skippers and air whips are often utilized to drive agitated debris to the collection device. Fiber glass lined metal ductwork, flexduct, and ductboard can be damaged by overly‑aggressive removal techniques and must be handled accordingly.
Vacuum Collection Devices
Vacuum collection device are used to create negative pressure within the HVAC system, in order to control the spread of contaminants during the cleaning process. There are two main types of vacuum collection devices: (1) Those mounted on trucks or trailers, and (2) portable units. Truck/trailer mounted equipment is generally more powerful than portable equipment. However, portable equipment can often be brought directly into a facility, allowing the vacuum source to be located closer to the ductwork.
Compressed Air Sources
Many tools and devices used for HVAC system cleaning are pneumatically powered, which requires the use of large amounts of pressure supplied directly to the tools. The most common method of supplying this pressure is through the use of an air compressor.
Hand‑Held HEPA Vacuums and Wet Vacuums
Hand vacuums are used quite commonly by HVAC cleaning contractors for a variety of tasks and are a common sight on any cleaning project. HEPA filtration is needed for such vacuum cleaners, especially those designed to extract water as well as dry debris.