commercial air ducts in a building

Why Commercial Duct Cleaning Is Vital To Every Business


Businesses big and small require constant maintenance. In the chaos of daily cleaning, maintaining a pristine exterior, and keeping equipment working, commercial duct cleaning might take a backseat to other seemingly more pressing issues. Neglecting your HVAC system, however, can be a costly mistake.

What Happens When Air Ducts Get Too Dirty?

When a building’s HVAC system gets too dirty, dust accumulates along filters and throughout its air ducts. As air circulates, it breaks off these large pieces of dust and spreads them throughout your building. This causes five main problems.

1. Dirty Spaces

First, you’ll notice your property getting dusty very quickly. Immaculate countertops get grimy. You or your cleaning crew will waste time fighting the mess day after day. If your business has any computers or other pieces of technology, their fans will clog quicker, resulting in overheating, potentially cutting into your bottom line if you have to replace them.

2. Poor Indoor Air Quality

According to the EPA, the average American spends 90% of their time indoors, where air pollutant concentration is 2 to 5 times higher than outside due to a lack of proper commercial air duct cleaning.

Workers, visitors, and customers will all feel the pain. For older adults and people with asthma and other respiratory diseases, more dust agitates their already overloaded systems. Even people without these problems might suffer from irritated throats, eyes, and allergies.

3. Less Efficiency

Not all the dust from dirty air ducts finds its way into the building, though. As air circulates through your HVAC system, some dust will find its way into filters, furnaces, and air conditioners. Clogged HVAC systems have to work harder to both circulate air and regulate temperature.

While a commercial air duct cleaning service costs money, it may potentially save money on month-to-month energy bills. Trained HVAC technicians will also keep an eye out for duct leaks, worn-out parts, and other factors that reduce energy efficiency.

4. Snacks and Nests for Pests

Building supervisors and facilities managers may hate dust, but plenty of critters love it. As the name implies, dust mites feed on flakes of dead skin and dandruff found in dust and are known to irritate allergies and asthma. Their presence might lead to infestations of larger bugs such as silverfish that feast on mites.

Larger rodents including rats and mice use chunks of dust to make nests and breed. When this happens, feces, urine, and dander from these nests gets added to the dust blown around by a dirty HVAC system. To safely clean dirty ducts, commercial duct cleaning technicians might wear masks, gloves, and protective eyewear to prevent disease and contamination.

5. Fire Hazards

If you’ve ever been camping, you know that lint and dust are perfect tinder for starting a fire. Unfortunately, dust is just as good at starting fires indoors as outside. If a furnace’s filter gets extremely clogged, it may overheat, potentially causing a spark that ignites dust buildup, flooding every room with smoke and flames.

Furnaces aren’t the only risks, either. In December of 2020, a home in Miami, Florida, was filled with smoke from a fire started around its central air conditioner. Just like furnaces, a clogged A/C filter causes the system to work harder and potentially malfunction and spark.

How Commercial Air Duct Cleaning Services Work

Whether you’re concerned about the health risks or fire hazards associated with dirty air ducts, cleaning them may seem daunting. Fortunately, an HVAC or commercial air duct cleaning service can make quick work of this overwhelming but very important maintenance task. Here’s what to expect when hiring a professional duct cleaning service.


First, HVAC technicians do an inspection of your air ducts and overall HVAC system. They will confer with facilities managers, building owners, and supervisors on their goals and what problems they’ve seen. Depending on the size of the commercial building ventilation and severity of the problem, this process may take a few hours or weeks.


Often, technicians use existing service openings to access ducts during cleaning. If those are either too small or inadequate, they may remove part of the ceiling and replace those sections after service.

Cleaning Parts of an HVAC System

Before beginning, technicians may remove all or some of your HVAC system’s:

  • Diffusers and diffuser boots
  • Dampers
  • Grills and vent covers

Technicians will also clean the above components. At some point in the process, technicians may also clean coils, fan blowers, drive assemblies, and other parts of the HVAC system to ensure more dust isn’t blown into your air ducts.

Cleaning Air Ducts

Commercial air duct cleaning technicians will come up with a plan based on the size and scope of a particular HVAC system cleaning project. Generally, this includes vacuuming, air washing, and/or power brushing to remove debris. Negative pressure is applied to the ducts via vacuum so that dust in the ducts won’t be released throughout the building.

Before cleaning, technicians may place protective coverings over anything that might be impacted by falling dust including computers and furniture. Throughout the process, technicians should keep you updated on what they’re doing and any changes to their timetable.

Hire Industrial Mechanical Contractors To Handle Your Commercial Air Duct Cleaning Needs

Since 1970, Industrial Mechanical Contractors has served the greater Philadelphia area, southern New Jersey, and parts of Delaware with timely, efficient HVAC service. In that time, we’ve developed one goal: to correctly fix HVAC issues at the time of service, including providing comprehensive commercial air duct cleaning.

Many of our customers are building engineers, owners, and facilities managers that don’t have time to wait for contractors to return weeks after an inspection with the right tools. Whether you need one-time maintenance, regularly-scheduled commercial air duct cleaning, or an ongoing partner to keep your HVAC system efficient and updated, contact Industrial Mechanical Contractors today.

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