Why Choose a NADCA Member?
An HVAC company must meet strict requirements in order to be a member of NADCA.
Our members must:
- have at least one NADCA certified Air Systems Cleaning Specialist (ASCS) on staff
- maintain general liability insurance
- agree to clean according to ACR, the NADCA Standard and comply with NADCA's Code of Ethics.
If a company is not going to clean according to NADCA's standards, this must be communicated to the buyer at the time of sale.
These requirements were established to provide a higher level of assurance to consumers.
Finding a Qualified Contractor
- When speaking to a contractor, make sure they can show proof of NADCA membership and certification.
- Make sure the contractor will conduct a thorough inspection of your HVAC system and alert you to any problems.
- Ensure the contractor will clean all your HVAC system components.
- Click here to find a reputable air duct cleaning company near you.
NADCA Members use proper cleaning methods
Air duct cleaning is a misnomer. In actuality, the entire HVAC system should be cleaned. Failure to clean all components of the HVAC system can result in recontamination of the entire system, thus minimizing the benefits of cleaning.
Just as you wouldn’t clean only half of your living room floor, you also would not want to clean only part of your HVAC system. NADCA recommends cleaning the entire HVAC system, including the following components:
- air ducts
- drain pans
- air plenum
- blower motor and assembly
- heat exchanger
- air filter
- air cleaner
There are two key components to HVAC cleaning: breaking contaminants loose, and collection of contaminants.
Breaking Contaminants Loose
Properly cleaning HVAC systems requires removing the sources of contamination. Source removal begins with the use of one or more agitation devices designed to loosen contaminants from the surfaces within the heating and air conditioning system. Examples of agitation devices include: brushes, air whips and compressed air nozzles or “skipper balls.” Agitation can also be achieved through hand-brushing or contact vacuuming.
Collection of Contaminants
During cleaning, the entire HVAC system is placed under continuous negative pressure (a vacuum) to prevent the spread of contaminants. Continuous negative pressure allows very fine particles to be removed from the system as they become airborne, ensuring that these particles are not released into the living space when the system is turned on after cleaning. This negative pressure also serves to extract the loosened contaminants, which are collected and removed from your home.
HVAC system cleaning is not a complex process, but each job is unique. Where possible, access to duct interiors should be made through existing openings such as supply diffusers, return grills, duct end caps and existing service openings. Reputable air duct cleaning technicians may need to cut access holes in the ductwork in order to reach inside with various cleaning tools. Creation of these service openings, and their subsequent closure, requires craftsmanship and professional skills.
Antimicrobial chemicals include sanitizers, disinfectants and deodorizers that can be applied to nonporous surfaces in HVAC systems to address microbial contamination and help control odors. Only chemicals registered with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can be used. These products should only be considered after mechanical surface cleaning has been performed and if the need for such treatment has been deemed necessary.
Our members use the right equipment
There is a wide variety of equipment available to HVAC cleaning professionals. Both truck-mounted and portable vacuums can be used to stop the spread of contaminants and get the system cleaned to the NADCA Standard.
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:
- Hand‑held mirror
- 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 devices 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 reputable duct cleaning companies for a variety of tasks and are a common sight on any air duct cleaning project. HEPA filtration is needed for such vacuum cleaners, especially those designed to extract water as well as dry debris.