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Importance of AC cleaning & maintenance

Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration [HVAC/R] all play an essential role in promoting healthy and comfortable spaces. As with all mechanical equipment, regular maintenance is essential to prevent unplanned machine failure, ensure optimal indoor air quality [IAQ] and maintain efficient operations.

Dr Kajally Jobe and Fay Davis AMInstR explore how procedures can be improved on and maximised, promoting better unit efficiency and healthier environments for all. Let's clean the air...

So what do we know?

To better understand, Aspen Pumps Group looked to installer surveys, governing bodies to webinars and asked what could 'chemical cleaning best practice' look like? Our findings have some fascinating insights.

"With so much uncertainty surrounding what the correct procedures are in trying to contend with HVAC systems in relation to SARS-CoV-2, and with increasing attention being given to good IAQ and maximising efficiency levels, the publication of this report could not have come at a better time."

Graeme Fox CEng FInstR, Head of Technical at BESA

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If you could see it you would clean it

In all these systems, it is clear a regular cleaning regime could minimise a build-up of contaminants such as dirt, viruses, bacteria, and fungi.

"Regular AC cleaning and maintenance helps improve indoor air quality"

Cleaning chemicals and disinfectants, which adhere to the EN standards for efficacy, have been shown to effectively kill contaminants on surfaces found within AC units.

However, there is no industry standard for the regularity of maintenance schedules, consequently, some units are maintained irregularly. In the absence of a regulatory framework for maintenance scheduling, the industry relies on pre booked PPM schedules, which are arranged at the owner’s discretion to kept clean.    

So let's clean the air

The findings have helped us understand that regular maintenance on AC units, (which ensures that systems are free from bacteria, viruses and fungi,) is incredibly important when looking to restart buildings in a post SARS-CoV-2 [Covid] world. Cleaning, sanitising and disinfecting surfaces to reduce the incidence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus contamination has been the central quality guideline of governments around the world and products which effectively kill the virus, should be included in future PPM visits.

Advanced Sars-CoV-2 AC products

So which products are suitable for SARS–CoV-2 cleaning?

The SARS-CoV-2 virus, like other pathogens, can be killed and reduced on surfaces if the right chemical products, with the right efficacy standards, are used.

HVAC industry leading disinfectant products such as CondenCide, RTU ECD and Gel ECD both comply with phase 1 and 2 industrial BS EN standards including the EN 14476:2013 + A2 2019 anti-virus standard. These products have been tested to kill 99.99% of all human corona viruses, bacteria, fungi, and spores.  It is important that all parts of the air conditioning system are cleaned and disinfected and a full 15-minute contact time to kill and remove full spectrum of bacteria, fungi, spores, and viruses as well as the usual gunk that harbour these germs is recommended.    

AC cleaning products

Advanced RTU ECD in use

How often should systems be cleaned?

With the current worldwide situation, systems could be cleaned with as much regularity as every 3 months to ensure peace of mind for occupiers. Worldwide easing of lockdown measures is gradually happening across the world and the need for these systems to be effectively cleaned with proven SARS-CoV-2 killing cleaning chemicals, is paramount to restarting buildings back up.

Aspen Pumps Group have created a downloadable 'Pre Planned Maintence (PPM)' form which you may find useful with every maintenance visit.

3 steps to clean an AC system

PPM form

 

 

Did you know…

The Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Associations (REHVA) has emphasised in its  COVID-19 guidance document, the importance of recirculation of air in buildings, which is a matter for HVAC systems balancing and conducted by professional design and commissioning engineers.  

A 2006 ASHRAE study showed that maintenance schedules (including coil cleaning), improved energy efficiency and the IAQ performance of the buildings HVAC/R systems, by up to 15%.  

Only products which comply with phase 1 and 2 industrial BS EN standards including the EN 14476:2013 + A2 2019 anti-virus standard. These products have been tested to kill 99.99% of all human corona viruses, bacteria, fungi, and spores.  

Cleaning chemicals and disinfectants, which adhere to the EN standards for efficacy, have been shown to effectively kill contaminants on surfaces found within AC units. However, there is no industry standard for the regularity of maintenance schedules, consequently, some units are maintained irregularly. 

Even though alcohol hand sanitisers have taken a prominent place in the combat against this SARS-CoV2 virus, alcohols are NOT recommended for disinfecting contaminated surfaces because they evaporate quickly and  do not allow enough contact time for effective antimicrobial action.