Water Treatment Wisdom: Bioslime in a Cooling Tower is Bad

Cooling towers are notorious for growing things; especially microscopic things…  they are warm and moist. They have areas that get a lot of sunlight and other areas that kept fairly dark. Whether it’s algae or bacteria, it’s no wonder that cooling towers provide the perfect environment for all kinds of little organisms to proliferate. In fact, an improperly treated cooling tower can act like a giant Petri dish.

So what’s a couple hundred million microscope critters living in your tower mean anyway? It’s not such a big deal, right? A little bleach will keep them at bay, right?

WRONG!

The truth is that those little organisms can be much more of a liability than you think. Most facility operation managers are well versed in or have at least heard of the dangers of waterborne pathogens, like legionella, emanating from their cooling towers; it is why most facility managers find water treatment companies that provide water treatment services for their main water systems. While legionella presents a worst case scenario, it is not the only bug that can cause major operational issues in a cooling tower, and is why proper tower water treatment is so important to the overall operational health of a cooling tower system.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 188-2015, Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems has major potential impacts on how building owners need to think about legionella in their water systems.

Almost all bacteria have one thing in common… they really, really, really want to live! And they will do whatever they can to protect themselves. One of the clever things they do, especially in water, is to band together and produce a slimy matrix that covers them while they breed and grow. This material is actually quite resistant to most biocides. It is technically called biofilm, but many people also refer to it as bioslime (because hey, it’s slimey!) and if you have it in your tower, you probably have other issues.

One thing about bioslime that many people do not realize is that it acts as an incredibly good insulator. When you get bioslime on an active heat transfer surface, like on inside surfaces of the tubes of a chiller, it becomes harder and harder to produce chilling. In fact, a bioslime layer that is less than one fifth of one millimeter thick can impede heat transfer by more than 10%! That means that you will have to use more energy to produce the proper levels of cooling. In a larger chiller system that could mean tens of thousands of dollars in wasted energy… all because of a little slime in the towers.

Water Treatment Fun Fact: There are no issues with bioslime in boiler water treatment. The heat inside a boiler is typically way too hot to allow biological growth. The kind of issues that plague boilers are usually scale and/or corrosion related.

Check out this short video to see what bioslime is all about:

So what should I do about bioslime in my cooling tower?

The most important thing you can do is keep your cooling tower clean and make sure that your water treatment professional is aware of any issues that you see. Sometime it might not seem like you have a problem, but the best way to tell in not with your eyes. Even if the water looks completely clear, put on a rubber glove and run your hand over part of the cooling tower basin. If the basin feels “slick” or “slimy” you almost certainly have bioslime in your tower.

Options for removing bioslime vary from system to system, but it is almost always a good idea to get your water treatment professional involved and possible even employ the help of a reputable HVAC Cleaning company. Ongoing proper water treatment is the only way to prevent bioslime from ever forming. Your water treatment service provider should be able to describe their methods for keeping biological growth under control in your cooling tower.

Current industry standards dictate the use of a three chemistry system for cooling towers:

  1. An oxidizing biocide –  kills microorganisms by destroying their cell walls and oxidizing protein within the organism. Chlorine is an example of an oxidizing biocide.
  2. A non-oxidizing biocide –  kills by ways other than oxidation, including interference with cell metabolism and structure; more like a poison. DBNPA and isothiazoline are non-oxidizing biocides.
  3. A corrosion inhibitor –  provides protection to the metal surfaces against corrosion. Especially helps counteract the corrosive properties of the oxidizing biocide.

This standard water treatment protocol for cooling towers is often referred to as a “dual biocide program” because to the two biocides used, and it is still considered the best defense against microbiological growth in a cooling tower.

EcoSafe powered by Smart ReleaseThe latest advancements that have been made in the standard dual alternating biocide program doesn’t actually change the chemistry much at all, but instead changes the way in which those chemicals are fed into the cooling tower system. Most water treatment companies rely on liquid chemicals which are pumped into the open condenser system via chemical metering pumps. Up until now, the benefit to this type of system was precise control over the dosage rates of each chemical via highly calibrated, electronic metered pumps.

Today, there are highly improved solid feed delivery systems that use dry chemistry to achieve the same level of control without the headaches and safety issues of liquid chemistry. These newer types of solid feed systems, like EcoSafe Solid Feed System powered by Smart Release, have all but completely revolutionized the way that we treat cooling towers today.

If you would like more information about what to do if you have bioslime in your cooling tower, please do not hesitate to call us!

Thanks for reading!

Hot Summer Days and a Dirty Evaporator Coil Mean Big Headaches

It is every building owner’s worst nightmare in the dead of summer. It is 98 degrees outside and your phone starts ringing…  and ringing…  and ringing. During the hot summer months your building’s air conditioning system becomes the lifeblood of your facility. If your A/C goes down completely, or even if just has a day that it can’t keep up with the heat well, your phone is going to start to ring off the hook and it won’t stop until you fix the problem…  or until the Fall…  whichever comes first! When your air conditioner suddenly stops performing correctly, it could definitely be cause for alarm or sometimes it can be a simple fix; something as simple as a popped circuit breaker…  or a little dirt. As a water treatment service provider specializing in boiler water treatment, cooling tower water treatment, and HVAC cleaning services, we see a lot preventable issues with commercial HVAC units.

The most common cause of air conditioner problems is dirty coils. Whether it is dirt in the outside condenser coils or a dirty evaporator coil in the indoor unit, dust and dirt will gradually impede your air conditioning units’ capability to produce adequate cooling.

Proper air conditioner maintenance should be an integral part of any building manager’s priority list. Part of that checklist should be an appropriate filter replacement schedule, proper vent and air duct cleaning schedule, and a proper coil cleaning service program. Usually, a good air conditioning cleaning service in your area can provide you with a HVAC Cleaning and Maintenance Contract that can be purchased yearly or seasonally.

Here are the most typical problems that arise with basic commercial HVAC systems:

My Air Condition Won’t Turn On

Check Your ThermostatIf your air conditioner just won’t turn on, you should probably check your circuit breakers first. A tripped circuit breaker is not uncommon. Also, check your indoor thermostat; if it operates off of batteries, make sure you replace them before calling a technician. That tip can save you an embarrassing and expensive service visit. There is nothing worse than an air conditioning tech charging you $500 to replace three double-A batteries. Also, double check your thermostat settings. Sometimes a tenant can accidently move the switch from COOL to HEAT. Also try dropping the temperature set point on the thermostat by more than 10 degrees and see if that makes your air conditioning unit switch on. If that does the trick, you could have a bad or poorly calibrated thermostat.

If these tips do not get your air conditioning unit to turn on, it’s time to call your air conditioning service provider. It could be a short in the system, a blown motor or a host of other issues that you will need a professional to assess and repair.

My Air Conditioner is On, But it is Blowing Out Warm Air

Sometimes your air conditioning unit will turn on, but warm air will come out of the vents. After checking that your thermostat is properly set to a lower temperature, you are going to want to check your coils. The outside condenser coils are easy to check. They are located inside the outside condenser unit. Many models have a fan that pulls air up through the coil. First check to see if that fan is on. If it isn’t, something is wrong and you need to contact a technician. If the fan is on, however, you should examine the air intake areas for debris.

Best HVAC Service in New York CityMany times there is something preventing adequate air flow through the condenser coil. This can be caused by plant growth around the outside unit, or actual dirt and dust on the coil, or something as simple as a plastic bag that sucked into the air intake. We find plastic bags stuck to the outside of condenser units all the time, especially in highly trafficked urban areas like New York City.

If your outside coil looks clean and free from obstruction, then you may have an issue with your inside evaporator coil. These coils are generally harder to get to unless your system was designed to give you easy access. One common way to determine if you inside evaporator coil is not getting proper air flow is to check the inside air intake filters. If your filters are dirty, it could easily impede air flow to the point of diminishing cooling capabilities. The easy fix: Change your filter. Restricted air flow over the evaporator coil can eventually cause the coil to freeze.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Sometimes you will check your air intake and find that there is no filter in place. This could be a bad sign. If someone forgot to install or replace the air filter that means that dust and debris could have easily accumulated on your evaporator coil. In this case, you may need the help of a commercial HVAC cleaning company.

Another tell-tale way to determine if your evaporator coil in freezing up is to evaluate what is happening when you first turn on your air conditioning system. If your system produces cooling for a short time, but then quickly starts to blow out warm air, you may have a frozen evaporator coil. Typically, if you turn off the system the ice buildup on the coil will melt and when you turn the system back on it will produce cooling again for a short time until it freezes again.

If you have determined that your filters are clean and properly installed, then you could have an issue with your refrigerant, in which case you will need to contact an air conditioning service provider.

My Air Conditioner is On, But it is NOT Cooling Very Well

If your air conditioner system is on and the thermostat is set properly but it is still not cooling your building, you may have issues with dirty coils and or filters. However, you should know the basic principles of how air conditioning works and what your system can do even in the best of circumstances. For instance, most commercial package air conditioning systems should be able to maintain between 20 and 30 degrees difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, but not much more than that. So if your tenants are complaining that 75 degrees is still too warm on a 100+ day, there unfortunately is not much more that you are going to be able to do for them.

If your air conditioner still can’t keep up on a moderately hot day, you may have a problem with dirt on your coils, a refrigeration leak, lack of air flow due to a dirty filter or a frozen evaporator coil. If you suspect that this is an issue, make the call sooner than later, air conditioning problem typically do not “work themselves out.” On the contrary, they just tend to get worse.

If you need help cleaning your commercial HVAC equipment, please check out our menu of HVAC Cleaning Services below.

Thanks for reading!

Save Money with Regular Plate and Frame Heat Exchanger Cleanings!

A plate-and-frame heat exchanger is a compressed pack of thin, vertically standing, corrugated metal plates usually made from stainless steel with open ports for the passage of two fluids between which the heat transfer will occur. The plate pack is pressed together between two thick metal pressure-retaining frames and is compressed with large tightening bolts.
 
A plate-and-frame heat exchanger has a major advantage over a conventional heat exchanger in that the fluids running through them are exposed to a much larger surface area for heat transfer. Instead of running through a series of intertwined pipes, the fluids in a plate-and-frame spread out over the entire plate surfaces. The design theory of these systems follows this simple logic: the more contact with the metal surfaces, the more transfer of heat, and the greater the speed of the temperature change. Therefore, a plate-and-frame heat exchanger can be used to rapidly heat or rapidly cool a body of liquid.
 
Here is a great animated video that shows how a plate-and-frame heat exchanger transfer heat from one volume of water to another:

As long as the fluids (usually water) running through the exchanger are relatively free from foulants, debris, and hardness, a plate-and-frame heater exchanger is a highly efficient system of heat transfer. It is when they become dirty or fouled that they become inefficient, or if they become completely clogged they can become almost useless. While some fouling over time is almost inevitable, severe performance issues or even complete system failure can happen if a plate-and-frame heat exchanger is not properly maintained.

The most common issues which might cause heat exchanger failure are dependent on the type of process and the type of fluids you might be processing within the exchanger. Some common causes of plate and frame heat exchanger failure are:

  • Plate imperfections
  • Faulty gasket installation
  • Aggressive microbiological fouling
  • Improper design specifications
  • Improper operating conditions
  • Oxygen pitting due to improper water treatment
  • Stress cracking
  • Erosion corrosion due to a debris in the system

A facility that loses a major plate-and-frame heat exchanger due to failure usually has little choice but to spend what could be an exorbitant amount of money to fix the exchanger under an emergency situation. In order to avoid an emergency shutdown, many facilities create a budget for routine maintenance of their heat exchangers.

There are multiple options for cleaning a plate-and-frame heat exchanger. They include:

  • Cleaning in place (CIP). This technique means that the exchanger is taken offline by way of a bypass and chemicals are used to clean/dissolve materials inside of the exchanger without taking it apart.
  • On-site physical cleaning. This is usually performed by a professional HVAC Cleaning Service Company that has experience cleaning plate-and-frame heat exchangers.
  • Off-site physical cleaning. This option is used when the plate-and-frame exchanger is of a type that is difficult to clean on-site. For example, an exchanger that utilizes “glued on” gaskets. These types of exchangers can be extremely difficult to properly clean on-site, especially if gaskets need to be replaced. Replacing glued on gaskets should only be done in a controlled environment where the existing gasket and glue can be correctly removed and the exchanger plate can be properly cleaned and inspected.

If your facility operates a plate-and-frame heat exchanger or multiple exchangers, you should consider adding a regular maintenance and cleaning schedule for them to your operating budget. The main benefits of a clean exchanger are two-fold:

  1. Reduced downtime
  2. Decreased fuel consumption and energy costs

The benefit of reduced downtime is obvious whether you are operating a manufacturing plant or an office building, but the benefit of lower energy costs cannot always be easily realized. It is this decrease in energy cost, however, that could add up to tens or even hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in savings in overall operations over the course of a year (depending on the size of the exchanger, fluid running through the system, and type of process).

If your facility utilizes a plate-and-frame heat exchanger and you suspect that it has not been cleaned or inspected in some time, do not hesitate to contact a reputable HVAC Cleaning Service Company in your area. As one of the best HVAC Cleaning Services, Clarity Water Technologies promotes a proactive maintenance philosophy when it comes to heat exchangers, and therefore, many of our customers generally enjoy lower fuel bills and reduced downtime.

If you would like some guidance on how to choose the best HVAC Cleaning Company in your area, please feel free to download our free eBook below: “Top 5 Tips for Choosing the Best HVAC Cleaning Company.” If you need emergency cleaning service on your plate-and-frame heat exchanger, please do not hesitate to call us.

Thanks for reading!

Top 5 Tips for Choosing the Best HVAC Cleaning Service FREE eBook Download

Top 5 Tips for Choosing the Best HVAC Cleaning Company in Your Area

Commercial HVAC Cleaning Service Companies provide HVAC cleaning services to a variety of local industries including restaurants, retail stores, schools, daycare centers, recreational facilities, healthcare facilities, banks, senior centers, office buildings, apartment buildings, churches, and hospitals. Their services include vent and duct cleaning, heat exchanger cleaning, cooling tower disinfection and condenser and evaporator coil cleaning.

Finding a reputable company that has the expertise and experience to clean your facility’s HVAC system can be a real challenge. In the residential HVAC cleaning market, you can find tons of complaints online about unscrupulous companies that “bait and switch” customers throughout the country. These types of companies use scare tactics to “upsell” their services – which may or may not be effective, and in some cases, be completely unnecessary.

While this is generally less prevalent in the commercial HVAC cleaning services market, it still presents a challenge. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), was formed in 1989 as a non-profit association of companies engaged in the cleaning of HVAC systems. Its mission was to promote source removal as the only acceptable method of cleaning and to establish industry standards for the association in both the commercial and residential markets.

At Clarity Water Technologies, our field service team is NADCA certified and is properly outfitted with today’s latest equipment to get even the toughest jobs done. All of our service technicians have years of hands on HVAC cleaning experience and safety training. We have set ourselves apart by being one of the few companies that offer commercial water treatment services and HVAC system cleaning services all under “one roof.” Both departments are backed by the other. While we strive to be the best HVAC cleaning service throughout the Northeast and beyond, we realize that there is a need for facilities to have a reliable method of finding a reputable HVAC cleaning service to clean their heating and cooling systems. That’s why we created our free eBook: The Top 5 Tips for Choosing the Best HVAC Cleaning Company.

Contact us today to get a FREE assessment of your HVAC system.  If you would like to search for another reputable company in your area, please download our free eBook and learn the steps that you should take to make sure you find the right fit for your facility.

Good luck!

Top 5 Tips for Choosing the Best HVAC Cleaning Service FREE eBook Download

Neglecting Air Duct and Vent Cleaning is Bad for Business: PART ONE

Author’s Note: PART ONE of this post is about the Customer’s perception of dirty vents and ducts. PART TWO is about the realities of neglecting your vents and ducts. Thanks for reading! Mason Bourbon

When it comes to indoor air quality effecting your business or facility, sometimes perception can be worse than reality. Ever go to a nice restaurant and see a dusty ceiling air supply vent and think, “this place is dirty?” Even if the food was great, the dishes were clean and the glassware was spotless, we are conditioned to be afraid of anything that remotely looks like dust or mold coming out of an air vent. It is not without reason. From a health standpoint, we cannot be 100% certain of the effects of dirty vents and ducts on our indoor air quality and therefore, our health. If you are a business owner, building owner or a facility manager, you need to consider the cleanliness and maintenance of your vents and ducts. In this two part post, we will explore common perceptions and realities surrounding the issues of cleaning the vents and ducts in your commercial facility.

Do My Ducts Need to Be Cleaned?

It is important to understand that proper maintenance is necessary to remove biological contaminants from your HVAC system, since they can cause illness and reduce efficiency. One of the most important and often overlooked ways to accomplish this is through routine cleaning of ducts as well as vents in an HVAC system. The EPA supports it, and the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) provides the general specifications to follow in order to prevent illness and maintain peak efficiency. The key to success is knowing what to do and choosing the best HVAC cleaning service company that has the qualifications and training necessary to perform vent and duct cleanings efficiently and flawlessly. The right duct cleaning contractor will give you an honest assessment of your ductwork and a fair price to properly clean it.

Perception is Often Reality

In the above example I ask the question: “Is a restaurant with dirty air vents, actually dirty?” The truth about how good or bad the indoor air quality is in a restaurant with dirty vents is not an easy or straightforward determination to make; however, your customer’s perception trumps all that actual data anyway.

To put it simply: If your vents and ducts are dirty to the point that they are making people sick, it is truly BAD for business. (You may even have substantial liability issues.) If your customers or tenants even suspect that they may be getting sick from your vents and ducts, it is JUST AS BAD for business.

It is naive to assume that people that frequent your facility will not take notice of visible dirt, dust and mold surrounding the intakes and vents of your HVAC system. These could be customers that may choose not to return to your business, tenants that may complain to OSHA or employees that may refuse to come to work. The moral of the story: Keeping your vents and ducts clean as part of your regular maintenance schedule is one more way to keep your customer’s confidence in your facility running HIGH.

What is My Responsibility as a Business Owner?

Under the US Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) sets and maintains standards for workplace safety. According to OSHA’s website: “Employers are required to follow the General Duty Clause of the OSHAct, which requires them to provide workers with a safe workplace that does not have any known hazards that cause or are likely to cause death or serious injury. The OSHAct also requires employers to obey occupational safety and health standards created under it. Employers should be reasonably aware of the possible sources of poor air quality, and they should have the resources necessary to recognize and control workplace hazards. It is also their responsibility to inform employees of the immediate dangers that are present. Specific state and local regulations may apply.”

What Should I Do Today?

Most reputable HVAC cleaning service companies are members of NADCA and, as such, they are governed by NADCA’s Assessment, Cleaning and Restoration (ACR) Standard and the NADCA Code of Ethics. NADCA’s ACR Standard is the vent and duct cleaning industry’s gold standard for assessing, cleaning and restoring HVAC ductwork. The NADCA Code of Ethics protects the consumer from unnecessary repairs.

As part of our commitment to being the best vent and duct cleaning company in New York City and its surrounding areas, we are proud members of NADCA and we highly recommend seeking out a NADCA Member to do a proper evaluation of your HVAC system’s ductwork.

According to the NADCA Code of Ethics, NADCA Members agree that they will:

1. Provide their clients with accurate inspections and evaluations of the cleanliness and physical condition of their HVAC systems and use this information to determine the type of cleaning and maintenance services required, if any.

2. Provide only necessary and desired services to their clients, and will not use furnace/air duct cleaning as a means of selling unnecessary or unwanted products or services.

If you believe that there could be an issue with the cleanliness of your HVAC system, do not hesitate to call a reputable company today. When it comes to HVAC maintenance, small problems can quickly become large problems. Make the call while the issues are still small.

Our Commitment to You

At Clarity Water Technologies, LLC, we strive to provide the best possible HVAC cleaning service at a fair price. We are also dedicated to being the best air vent and duct cleaning company. We specialize in industrial water treatment services and HVAC cleaning projects. Our technicians clean and maintain all types of HVAC equipment including cooling towers, ventilation systems, heat exchangers, exhaust hoods, and condenser and evaporator coils. With this in mind, our commitment to you is that we will provide our highly trained and skilled technicians with the tools and resources necessary to inspect and clean your HVAC system as thoroughly as possible in order to eliminate biological contamination that can lead to illness and reduced efficiency. In other words, if it is accessible, it will be cleaned.

Need Help Today?

If your ducts and vents are in need of cleaning and you would like a free estimate, or if you have any questions about the process of cleaning your vents and ducts, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Stay Tuned…

In PART TWO of this post, we will discuss the realities of poorly maintained and dirty HVAC systems.

BONUS: If you would like information of choosing the best HVAC cleaning service in New York or in your area, please download our FREE eBook: Top 5 Tips for Choosing the Best HVAC Cleaning Company here:

Top 5 Tips for Choosing the Best HVAC Cleaning Service FREE eBook Download

Neglecting Air Duct and Vent Cleaning is Bad for Business: PART TWO

Author’s Note: PART ONE of this post is about the Customer’s perception of dirty vents and ducts. PART TWO is about the realities of neglecting your vents and ducts. Thanks for reading! Mason Bourbon

PART TWO

It is 95 degrees on a bright summer Saturday afternoon. You are getting ready for the busiest day of the week in your retail shop in the city, except you have one problem: your shop feels like an oven and you are not running a bakery. If this type of scenario has ever happened to you, you already know the outcome: Lost sales, lost opportunities, lost customers…  no matter how you slice it, you lost money.

One of the most common causes of HVAC malfunction is system neglect. On days like the one I described above, you will be wishing that you had hired a top commercial water treatment company, or a reputable HVAC mechanical maintenance firm, or a NADCA-certified HVAC cleaning service company, because once the damage of lost sales is done, it cannot be reversed.

In PART ONE of this post, I described what the perception of dirty ducts and vents can do to a business or facility, but the real consequences of running your HVAC while it is actually dirty could be much worse. Whether it is system breakdown or the possibility of making people sick, a dirty HVAC system is to be avoided at all costs. If you would like to read PART ONE of this post, you can do so here.

What Went Wrong?

There are many things that can go wrong with an HVAC system that could cause your cooling to fail; and this is by no means an over-simplification or downplaying of proper system maintenance and water treatment. That said, when was the last time you had your HVAC system and ductwork inspected and cleaned? If you have never had your system inspected or cleaned, or if it hasn’t been done in many years/seasons, then your neglect may have been the culprit.

While it is true that your fan could have burned out or your heat exchanger could be clogged, there is a very good chance that your problems started with a dirty system. Not changing filters or dust, pollen and mold in the ductwork could all lead to dirty condenser coils or clogged evaporator coils. If left unchecked, your HVAC system will have to work harder and harder to produce cooling. In all likelihood, eventually, something will overheat and breakdown.

The Reality of Dirty Vent and Ducts

From an efficiency point of view, airborne particulate like dust, pollen and mold, can and will clog the working portions of your HVAC system, especially if air filters have not been maintained or replaced. Clogged evaporator coils can cause emergency bills to skyrocket as your HVAC unit struggles to push air through it. This could also lead to fan burn out.

Routine cleaning of your air ducts and vents is essential not only for maintaining efficiency, but also for keeping your employees and customers from becoming ill. This is evidenced by the following:

“Several studies by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), states, and independent scientific panels have consistently ranked indoor air pollution as an important environmental health problem.” Source: www.EPA.gov

When proper cleaning is neglected, it will likely lead to the increased proliferation of various types of biological contaminants, such as bacteria, viruses, pollen, and mold. These contaminants get blown out of the system and into the air. As a result, the polluted air can introduce a variety of ailments into your workplace. This contamination is often referred to as “Sick Building Syndrome“. Some of the potential symptoms include, but are not limited to, chest tightness, muscle aches, coughing, fever, chills, and numerous allergic reactions such as upper respiratory congestion and mucous membrane irritation.

One prominent example is the legionella bacterium. Legionella thrives in warm water. It can become present and proliforate in places like drip pans, cooling towers and evaporator coils. If water vapor containing certain strains of the bacteria is inhaled, one has the potential to develop Legionnaire’s Disease, a relatively dangerous form of pneumonia. (More information on this disease, its prevention, and its treatment can be found on our website.) All of these reactions and symptoms can lead to more workers calling in sick, bigger medical bills, and a loss of customers, which will reduce the efficiency and profitability of your business. If left unchecked, this could ultimately spell disaster for your company. The EPA quantifies this with the following statement:

“EPA estimates that poor indoor air may cost the nation tens of billions of dollars each year in lost productivity and medical care.” Source: www.EPA.gov

A common misconception is that neglecting duct cleaning and services of that nature will not negatively affect business efficiency and medical health. While in the short-term this may be the case, in the long run it can lead to reduced efficiency and the spread of airborne pathogens in your workplace that can negatively affect the health of your employees and your customers.

Cleaning Schedule and Specifications

Cleaning schedules vary depending on the system and location, but it is critical to consult an expert commercial/industrial vent and duct cleaning service company to establish a schedule for proper maintenance. After installation of a new or refurbished system, inspection is necessary to ensure that your system is clean and running efficiently. It is most crucial during those times because doing so will limit how much future maintenance needs to be performed. After start up, it is good practice to have your vents inspected at least once a year. If you have cooling towers, you should also consider cooling tower cleaning services to keep them operating at peak efficiency. This is usually done twice a year.

The two most prominent figures in support of air duct and vent cleaning are the EPA and NADCA. The EPA certifies the need for it, while NADCA lays out the specifications. NADCA further recommends that you hire a certified company that will follow their instructions explicitly. These certifications and specifications can be viewed on their respective websites:

https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq

https://nadca.com

The basic process includes the use of a vacuum to create negative pressure, which causes the particulate contamination to become airborne and to be pulled out of the system. This prevents it from entering the facility and minimizes the damage that it can cause. As a leading NADCA certified air duct and vent cleaning services company, our technicians are all hired and trained by experts in HVAC cleaning services according to NADCA standards in order to ensure that every job is completed correctly and efficiently.

What About Restaurants?

Restaurants have another challenge on top of their normal ventilation system maintenance. Most restaurants have grease hoods installed over their cooking surfaces. Over time, these kitchen hoods are designed to collect grease at the vent on the roof. If neglected, a grease hood could easily be overcome by grease which poses a very serious fire hazard. Most states have strict fire safety codes that are meant to protect the public by mandating when and how kitchen hoods are cleaned and maintained. If your facility had a kitchen hood, make sure that you know the law regarding its maintenance in your State of operation. The National Fire Protection Association created Code 96 to provide preventive and operative fire safety requirements intended to reduce the potential fire hazard of both public and private commercial cooking operations. You can learn more at: nfpa.org

Our Commitment to You

Clarity Water Technologies, LLC, is dedicated to being the best air vent and duct cleaning company around. With this in mind, our commitment to you is that we will provide our highly trained and skilled technicians with the tools and resources necessary to inspect and clean as much of your system as possible in order to eliminate biological contamination that can lead to illness and reduced efficiency. In other words, if it can be accessed, it will be cleaned thoroughly by our expert technicians.

Need Help?

If your ducts and vents are in need of cleaning and you would like a free estimate, or if you have any questions about the process of cleaning your vents and ducts, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Need to know the best way to clean a heat exchanger, or how to clean and disinfect a cooling tower? We can help with that.

BONUS: If you would like information of choosing the best HVAC cleaning service  in your area, please download our FREE eBook: Top 5 Tips for Choosing the Best HVAC Cleaning Company here:

Top 5 Tips for Choosing the Best HVAC Cleaning Service FREE eBook Download

Proper Safety Saves Lives, Time and Money in Water Treatment PART 1

One of the smartest ways that a company can save time and money is by ensuring that their workers are following proper safety protocols. Our goal is to be the best water treatment company, and so when it comes to industrial water treatment, there are a few basic rules that all of our technicians follow on every job that keeps them safe and helps to protect our company and our clients.

We have found that our water treatment business is similar to many businesses out there, so we are happy to share our safety checklist. Whether your business is small or large, we highly recommend having some kind of safety protocol in place. Even if your employees are not laborers or technicians, it is still a worthwhile endeavor. It may even make sense to contact your insurance company to get feedback on your safety procedures; they are usually happy to provide the advice and many times adopting their recommendations can save you tons of headaches down the line. In this respect, the old adage is very true: An ounce of protection is worth a pound of cure.

If your business is similar to ours, employees should certainly be trained in several aspects of PPE (personal protective equipment). This includes when PPE must be worn; what type of PPE is appropriate for the job at hand; how to properly don, wear, adjust and remove the PPE; limitations of PPE in use; care and maintenance of the PPE; and useful life and disposal of PPE. In addition, hazardous work areas should undergo a hazard assessment any time there is a significant change in the process, when new equipment is used or when accident statistics suggest that it is a problem area.

Once you develop your company’s safety and health policy, make sure you post it for all of your employees to see. It is important that you involve all employees in policy making on safety and health issues. Everyone should take an active part in your company’s safety activities. Remember: If incident goals are not set at zero, you may be sending a message to your staff that incidents are acceptable.

Management leaders that demonstrate a personal commitment and genuine interest to safety can have a substantial impact on any organization. The concept of “zero incidents” must be agreed upon and understood by management first, so that it can be worked into the overall culture of your company. This coupled with active employee participation and management support is the key success factor to any safety program. You must adopt a safety culture that fits the needs of YOUR organization.

In part two of this post, we will share some of the most important aspects of our safety checklist as it relates to the industrial and institutional water treatment industry. Thanks for reading!

Proper Safety Saves Lives, Time and Money in Water Treatment PART 2

In part one of this post, we discuss the rationale for your company adopting some kind of safety protocol. (You can read PART 1 of Proper Safety Saves Lives, Time and Money at the link at the bottom of this post.) Whether it is a safety procedures handbook that becomes part of your new hire package or something that is much more ingrained into your company’s daily culture is up to you and is really dictated by the type of business that you run. The circumstances of your business may not present very many potentially hazardous situations to your staff, in which case, your Safety Procedures could possibly be reviewed at a by-yearly meeting. However, if you run a construction business for instance, you may consider having a Weekly Safety Meeting. In some cases, your insurance company may even require it as a condition of your coverage.

Regardless, once you develop your safety standards, make sure you review them with your staff on a regular basis. Yes, of course you may get some initial belly-aching; however, while your staff may not want to sit through a safety lecture, the repetition could mean the difference between someone’s life and death.

Here are some of the more important aspects of our industrial water treatment safety checklist:

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

hard hat worn by best water treatment company in NYC

Industrial Water Treatment Specialists depend on personal protective equipment to protect themselves from hazards and perform daily duties. PPE includes safety glasses, face shields, hard hats, gloves, foot protection, and disposable chemical protective clothing. In some cases, respirators might also be required.

Perform a hazard assessment or a walk-through survey of each work area to determine if there is any risk from impact, penetration, compression (roll-over), chemicals, heat, harmful dust and light (optical) radiation. After the survey, select the proper PPE to suit the hazard.

Eye and Face Protection

Aside from operating the one of the top industrial water treatment companies on the East coast, Clarity also operates the best coil cleaning company in New York City.  Our technicians in that division service and clean HVAC equipment like cooling towers, heat exchangers, evaporater and condensor coils and vent and ducts.  Eye protection for them is a must. Protective safety glasses, goggles and face shields are required where machines or operations create flying objects, glare, liquids, injurious radiation or a combination of these hazards. Goggles offer the most complete impact protection because they form a seal around eye areas, keeping out dangerous objects. They also prevent tiny dust particles, chemical splashes and vapors from getting in eyes. Check for eye wash stations and check to make sure they are operational.

Hand Protection

Our representatives have been trained to select appropriate hand protection for exposure to hazards such as those from skin absorption of harmful substances, severe cuts or lacerations, severe abrasions, punctures, chemical burns, thermal burns and temperature extremes. When choosing the proper glove, it is necessary to match material with each application or task. This includes assessing the job for chemical exposures, and then selecting the appropriate glove based on material, thickness, length and other traits. In our industry, it is important that our representatives always travel with non-reactive disposable gloves.

Head Protection

All of our Industrial Water Treatment Specialists must wear a protective helmet when working where falling objects could cause head injuries. Every job site has different requirements and daily circumstances going on, therefore, it is a must that we travel with our hard hat at all times. We were going to through the trouble of making an awesome video that used a watermelon to demonstrate the importance of wearing a hard hat (versus a bump cap or nothing at all), but these guys already beat us to it:

Foot Protection

Every member of our team should wear protective footwear in areas where falling objects, rolling objects or objects that might pierce a sole might cause foot injuries, and especially where feet could be exposed to electrical hazards.

Clothing

Chemical resistance and suit design need to be considered when selecting appropriate protective clothing for water treatment. Suits also might be selected for durability or their disposable materials depending on the chemical and its permeation and breakthrough data. While it is rare to require a head-to-toe chemical resistant suit for day-to-day operations, we often use them in cleaning jobs where overspray becomes an issue. When performing a cooling tower cleaning service, for instance, our representatives are equipped with the proper personal protective equipment, including a chemical resistant suit.

Respiratory Protection

Respirators are essential when working in areas where airborne particulate could be present. A system of exhaust is also recommended in indoor areas where there may be issues to keep exposure below the airborne exposure limits. If the exposure limit is exceeded, a half-face or full-face air-purifying respirator with a cartridge can be worn up to 10 times the exposure limit, or to the maximum-use concentration specified by the appropriate regulatory agency or respirator supplier, whichever is lowest.

In our business, it is rare for a self-contained breathing apparatus to be necessary, however, in an emergency situation, it could be appropriate.

Chemical Storage and Handling

Chemicals play an important role in many aspects of wastewater treatment. Minimizing the quantity of stored chemicals such as chlorine can reduce the inherent hazards of chemicals. New SDS Pictograms Used By The Best Water Treatment Company in NYCHowever, when chemicals must be retained, proper on-site storage and handling procedures can reduce or eliminate risks. All chemicals should be properly labeled and stored according to information specified on the MSDS (now called Safety Data Sheet or SDS). Keep in mind: The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) was revised in 2012 to more closely reflect the UN’s Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The new standard requires that the chemical manufacturers, distributors, and importers provide Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for every hazardous chemical to successive users to convey information on these hazards. Emergency equipment should also be considered when storing or handling chemicals. Emergency equipment includes first aid kits, emergency contact numbers, eye wash stations and emergency shower facilities, fire extinguishers, spill-cleanup supplies and personal protective equipment, all of which should be readily available.

If you are a facility owner or operator with an HVAC system that requires commercial water treatment, you should also consider one of the safer systems available today, like the EcoSafe Solid Feed System powered by Smart Release.

Having Safety Standards Just Makes GOOD Business Sense

Regardless of the industry that you are in, it makes sense to have safety procedures in place for your staff to follow to keep them safe. Your employees may not be on construction site or handle harmful chemicals, however, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t precautions you can take to ensure their safety. Even if your staff sits in offices all day long, make sure they know what to do in an emergency. Where do they exit the building in the case of a fire? Who do they call if a disgruntled client enters the office and threatens someone? Do you allow your employees to stay in your office after regular business hours? If so, do you let them stay alone? Could they be at risk? Your employees’ safety should always be your number one priority and keeping them safe keeps your business safe as well.

Thank you for reading! We would love to hear your feedback and comments.

Related Articles:

Menu
This website uses cookies to give you the best online experience, to provide social media features, and to analyze traffic. We may also share information about your use of our site with our analytics and social media partners. By accessing the content on this website, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. View our Cookie Policy.