A Viral Emergency!
The Hidden Dangers In Your Ductwork
These are challenging times for the American people, and Southern Illinois has been hit especially hard in recent weeks with layoffs and unemployment at record highs. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused chaos throughout the world. Still, it’s difficult to know what we can do to ensure that our homes are safe and our family’s protected. Here our service experts talk about the dangers of COVID-19 within the home and what can be done at what level of expense to protect our family’s.
In order to determine what measures need to be taken, it’s essential to understand precisely what we are dealing with. The virus known as COVID-19, or the Novel Coronavirus 2019, is caused by the SARS-Cov-2 virus. Agents of the US government, as well as the scientific and medical communities, have spoken at length about the need to wear a face-covering mask in public, to maintain a social distance of at least six feet, and to sanitize and wash hands regularly to reduce the risk of infection in the community. What to do in the home, though?
Scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Centers for Disease Control, Princeton University, and the University of California, Los Angeles conducted experiments with the SARS-Cov-2 virus to determine how long it can survive on various common household surfaces. Their study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and can be found HERE.
The study demonstrated the following about the SARS-Cov-2 virus:
- In aerosol form, the virus broke down in roughly six hours
- On copper surfaces such as the copper tubing and pipework within the home, the virus broke down within 8 hours
- On cardboard surfaces such as the interior insulating layer of most rigid ductwork, the virus broke down within an average of 24 hours, but some particles were still present up to three days later
- On stainless steel surfaces, the virus broke down within 12 hours
- On plastic surfaces, the virus typically broke down within 24 hours, but some particles were still present up to three days later
What Does This Mean For Me?
Most surfaces within the home can be sanitized relatively easily, and many products are available at grocery and hardware stores. The concern is the surfaces that you do not have access to, but which impact up to 95% of your home’s air quality, your heating, and cooling system.
Typically, heating and cooling systems are constructed of galvanized steel, aluminum, fiberglass, plastic, and copper. Ductwork can be constructed from any number of materials, but in Southern
Illinois is typically a rigid galvanized steel or PVC plastic with either an internal or external insulation made of plastic or fiberglass.
When you cough or sneeze, the vapor particles that leave your mouth and nose travel through the air and are sucked into your ductwork through the return vent. As this vapor is pulled through the system, it coats the inside of your ductwork, the return, the blower motor, and the registers. As air continually moves through the system, it pulls some of those particles back into the air for you and your family to breathe again. This is commonly how allergies, seasonal cold and flu, and other respiratory and immune system diseases are spread back and forth between family members.
The danger here as it relates to COVID-19 is that anyone who has been affected by the virus can still infect everyone else in the home, even when isolated, through the homes heating and air system. Based upon the available information, depending upon what materials your ductwork is made of, the virus could survive within your ducts for up to three days, being circulated continuously through the home.
What Can Be Done?
Fortunately, in the past few years, several products and services have become available to the residential market that are able to combat and either reduce or completely eliminate this danger.
Generally speaking, the most expensive option available, duct cleaning is a process by which the dust, debris, and most large contaminants are physically removed from the ductwork. Many smaller companies use what is essentially a large shop-vac to suction the pollutants from the ductwork register by register. More specialized equipment, such as that used by Service Detectives, uses a combination of potent suction equipment combined with a series of spinning brushes that physically break loose the material from the sides of your ductwork. This is particularly effective in ductwork that has internal fiberglass or plastic insulation, which harbors mold, allergens, pet dander, chemical, and biological contaminants that would not be removed by suction alone.
Hydro-Peroxide Plasma Systems
These systems, such as the Stage 4 Breathe Better Eliminator offered in the Service Detectives Six Stage Air Pollution Solution, use an
electromagnetic energy technology to produce hydro-peroxide plasma, ozone similar to that produced by the suns action against the Earths surface. This all-natural plasma passes through the air handler, duct system, registers, and into the home, actively killing pollutants at the source. This plasma not only purifies and sanitizes the air in the home, but also actively sanitizes all surfaces and furnishings, including curtains, walls, ceilings, and other hard to reach or hard to sanitize areas.
Active Duct Sanitizing, or Fogging Systems
Generally, the cheapest option for total sanitizing, duct fogging is an effective way to completely eliminate mold, viruses, and bacteria within your duct system, air handler, and return. Various products can be used to fog a system, but to eliminate COVID-19 and SARS-Cov-2, only specific solutions approved by the EPA for use in fogging applications are proven effective. Service Detectives uses a proprietary, EPA approved solution tested and certified to eliminate viruses more resistant than SARS-Cov-2, and thus is 100% effective in eliminating all COVID-19 producing viruses. The fogging process makes use of a specialized machine that vaporizes this powerful sanitizing solution and pushes it through each register and return for a mandated period necessary to thoroughly sanitize the ductwork.
It’s reassuring to know that despite the current dangers, and the fear, there are options available to make sure that your home is healthy for you and your family.
Ideally, all three systems would be used to ensure that your home was as safe as possible. The advantage to all three is that you begin with the cleanest area possible before the Stage 4 Eliminator begins sanitizing the surfaces within your home. The duct fogging is a great way to ensure that nothing remains in your system that could cause you harm. The duct cleaning ensures that there is no physical debris that could be circulated through your system or serve as a platform for mold and other contaminants to breed, as well as prolonging the life of your ductwork. The Stage 4 Eliminator continually sanitizes 24 hours a day, including all visible surfaces within the home.
Whichever system you use, our experts at Service Detectives are trained and equipped to ensure that you receive the finest quality service.
Give our friendly office team a call today at 618.993.HELP  or book online using the handy button above. We currently offer exclusive “While We’re Here” discounts to all three of these services, and more while we are completing work within your home.
Remember, we care more because your family is our family too!