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North Hills Monthly

Want a Truly Clean House? Call in the Professionals

Aug 28, 2020 01:43PM ● By Hilary Daninhirsch

Photo courtesy Air Duct Maintenance Inc.

The pandemic has brought out the inner neat freak in all of us, as demonstrated by the shortage of disinfectant wipes on the shelves. These days, most people are concerned not just about cleaning but about disinfecting their homes, from surfaces to air quality to mitigating mold.

While some of these tasks are easy enough to perform at home, often homeowners will call in the experts to make sure that their homes are hospital-level clean.

When people think about sanitizing their homes, they may not think about the air quality. However, cleaning out your air ducts every three to five years is important for many reasons, including health, indoor air quality, and cleanliness.

“The air ducts in a home or in a commercial building are like the lungs and arteries of a building. They distribute conditioned air into the rooms, which is important for indoor air quality,” said Kevin L’Herbier, owner and founder of Air Duct Maintenance Inc.

“The dirt and debris that collects in the air ducts is the same dirt that collects in your vacuum sweeper: every time your furnace or air conditioning turns on, it’s like sticking your head in a vacuum sweeper bag,” he continued. “Air ducts can get like a clogged artery, so when you clean those clogged arteries out, you’ll have more airflow, which in turn, will heat and cool your house faster.”

He added that the HVAC system will run more efficiently, saving home and building owners energy dollars in the long run.

ADC’s vacuum trucks clean out the entire air stream system in a home, making sure that no particles escape to get into the air. 

“When it’s all cleaned out, you have more air flow, and you’re breathing in clean air,” said L’Herbier, adding that after the system is cleaned out, the company disinfects and deodorizes the complete HVAC system with a hospital grade, EPA-registered disinfectant.

Though cleaning a home’s air ducts every three to five years is standard, L’Herbier adds that the frequency depends on how many people or pets live in the home, whether there are any allergy or asthma sufferers, and whether anyone smokes in the residence.

Bactronix is a microbial control company with a mission to create healthier environments where people live, work and play. General Manager Desiree Powell said that like many other professional cleaning companies, they’ve been very busy during the pandemic.

When called to a home, Bactronix tests surfaces and performs an air quality test to determine where there are hot spots, and what type of treatment the home needs. Then, through an electrostatic spray system, they administer their EPA-registered hospital disinfectant, BactroKill, which allows them to achieve 100 percent coverage, including hard-to-reach areas where bacteria, mold and viruses may hide.

“High-touch points always need to be a huge focus; you should disinfect daily the items you’re constantly touching like fridge handles, doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, and anything in the bathroom,” said Powell. “The list goes on and on, but if you focus on touch points daily, you can reduce and control contamination. 

She adds that window sills are another major area that can harbor contaminants.

Powell said that one thing people do not always realize is the difference between basic cleaning and disinfecting.

“With cleaning, the goal is to remove any dust, dirt and debris from surfaces. Disinfectants are not meant for cleaning, but to go in and kill viruses, germs and fungus,” she explained. “They might have some cleaning aspect to them, but they are there to kill. You always want to have clean surfaces, but when disinfecting, your goal is to eliminate germs.”

Bactronix has their own brand of disinfectant that they use on the job, but no matter which one you buy, Powell suggested to make sure that you’re choosing one that is EPA-registered and hospital grade. She adds that there are many fly-by-night companies entering the disinfectant market without much experience that are not using EPA-registered disinfectants. When in doubt, always read the label of the disinfectant you are using and look up its name on List N (Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19) on the CDC website.

Mold is another potential problem in a home, as it has the potential to make people sick, particularly if a person has allergies or asthma. A type of fungus, mold can thrive on many types of surfaces and grows when it’s in a damp, warm environment.

Mold Men of Pittsburgh is an infectious control company that provides disinfectant services to mitigate mold as well as other viruses and bacteria. Owner Bill Davis said that there are more than 200,000 mold species, though they focus on about 30 wet mold species. Besides mold mitigation, they also offer mold analysis and consultation, water damage mitigation, and disinfection cleaning.

“Getting rid of mold is not just cleaning the surface and spraying the air; we get rid of the source—where it is breeding from,” he said. “We’re not just coming in and washing walls and spraying the air—we’re going in and finding and removing structural contamination.” Like the other companies, Mold Men uses hospital-grade, EPA-registered products.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus is likely to be around for a while. So while it is important to keep your home clean, to truly get rid of any infection or health risk may require calling in the professionals.