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Commercial Air Duct Cleaning In DC
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Commercial Air Duct Cleaning In DC

Washington DC has some really fantastic, unique buildings. They range from centuries old to brand new. Each of these buildings presents a unique challenge for air duct cleaning. The older buildings used to have high ceilings. Those ceilings have been lowered and covered by drop ceilings. The real trick to those units is to be careful with the diffusers. The newer buildings usually have more modern air duct systems with a huge shared central return. You have to isolate each return before starting. Even though each of those buildings can be similar in size, they each need a different approach. You can use the same equipment to clean them, but it has to be portable. Besides the parking issues, even on weekends, you simply must use a portable vacuum.

Cleaning The Air Ducts In Those Old Washington DC Buildings

I've seen some amazing ceilings downtown that have been covered by cheap ceiling tiles. It would almost be impossible to restore them to their original grandeur. Imagine peeking through the darkness with a flashlight and seeing an age old mural on an old plaster ceiling. There's years of wiring and piping now networked across the void between the ceiling and ceiling tiles. Amongst the pipes and wires, you can find the air ducts. You always have to be careful when cleaning those round diffusers. Every one of them is loosely attached to the crumbly ceiling tiles. I often pop open the tile next to it and enter the duct work from behind the diffuser. I've even found branches completely detached. I've seen some really strange air duct configurations in those older buildings. It takes a trained eye to figure them out.

Cleaning The Air Ducts In The Newer Washington DC Buildings

The newer buildings often have a more structured air duct system. You have to be really careful if only one suite or floor wants their system cleaned. The newer duct work usually shares a central return that connects all the floors. You can get away with cleaning individual suites or floors, but I wouldn't recommend it. Not only would you have to block off each floors intake, but only a portion of the intake would get cleaned. To do a thorough job, the whole central intake should be cleaned. Saying these intakes are enormous would be an understatement. I've seen central intakes that you could drive a golf cart through. The fans that power these units are also very strong. I always carry a combination padlock with me. I'll snap that lock on the disconnect when I go inside those large intakes. Trust me, you wouldn't want to get sucked through the duct work. And it's almost mandatory to get inside, you just have to be careful.

You Have To Use Industrial Grade Equipment

Portable vacuums are the only way to go with any commercial job. They allow you to do a much more thorough job and you can port them around in the elevators. A good air duct cleaning company will use portable vacuums and pneumatic tools. Brushes used to be used to clean air ducts, but now they are outdated. Brushes are messy and they miss a lot of the grime. Some companies claim that their brushes ,that are hooked to suction, do a great job. It's simply not true. They have to use soft brushes so they don't damage flex line. Pneumatic tools do a great job at busting up the most stubborn debris, and they get all those nooks and crannies that soft brushes miss. Moving around a gas powered compressor can be challenging, but it's worth the effort. There's more than one way to get those compressors close though. Balconies are the best bet, but don't think you can go from the rooftop. I guarantee that getting the compressor on the rooftop is going to be a challenge. Between balconies and alleys, you'll have plenty of places for those compressors. In another article I'll share some tips on lowering those air lines.

Washington DC has a great mix of buildings from old to new, and each system needs to be treated differently. You can get a thorough cleaning done with the right equipment, and some clear communication with property management. You might want to budget in a $50 parking ticket though.


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