IAQ after IKE

Indoor Air Quality

IAQ after IKE

Questions have arisen since Ike about what to do with wet AHU insulation, wet ductwork insulation, and/or ductwork exposed to flood water or water from damaged roofs.

I hope to help you answer these questions:

Submerged insulation in either the AHU or the ductwork

  •  Strip contaminated insulation
  •  Clean and treat area with an anti-microbial
  •  Re-insulated with a closed-cell insulation

Exposed insulation in either the AHU or the ductwork

  • Clean the exposed areas to remove dirt and debris
  • Treat the area with an anti-microbial
  • Resurface exposed insulation, as needed, with an anti-bacterial/anti-fungal resurfacing coating to help prevent mold growth in the future.

Exposed ductwork

  • Clean the interior of the ductwork to remove dirt and debris
  • Treat the interior of the ductwork with an anti-microbial.
  • Resurface exposed insulation, as needed, with an anti-bacterial/anti-fungal resurfacing coating to help prevent mold growth in the future.

As long as the mechanical conditions of the systems are sound, the contamination areas can be cleaned and restored to insure good Indoor Air Quality for your customers.

A long list of standards and guidelines for the cleaning and restoration of air handler units and ductwork that were either submerged in, or exposed to, flood water is available from IICRC, NADCA, ACCA, NIOSCH, and the Center for Disease Control.  A couple examples:

ACCA Restoring the Cleanliness of HVAC Systems; 4.0 Establishing Criteria for HVAC System Cleaning

“Prior to initiating any cleaning activities, an HVAC contractor or an independent Indoor Air Quality Consultant should determine the system cleanliness and economic practicality of undertaking restorative cleaning activities.  This determination shall include a site survey of the building; a visual assessment of the HVAC system’s components; age of the components under consideration; and an economic assessment of HVAC system cleaning versus equipment/component replacement. Upon completion of the analysis, and in accordance with the clients’ needs, the criteria for level of cleanliness shall be established, documented and agreed upon by all involved parties.  Within this standard there is not a level of contamination level that is an automatically trigger for initial testing the cleaning of HVAC systems. However, visible contaminants within HVAC systems from rodent or insect infestation, storm or flood damage, water infiltration, fire and smoke damage, mold, construction or remodeling particulates, or general debris blowing out of supply registers or grilles are conditions necessitating implementation of this standard.  This standard requires the involvement of a third-party Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) whenever correlations, or assertions, of HVAC system cleanliness are linked to occupant health.”

Center for Disease Control

All surfaces of an HVAC system and all its components that were submerged during a flood are potential reservoirs for dirt, debris, and microorganisms, including bacteria and mold.  In addition, moisture can collect in areas of HVAC system components that were not submerged (e.g., air supply ducts above the water line), and this also can lead to the growth of microorganisms.  Therefore, all flood water-contaminated and moisture-laden components of the HVAC system should be thoroughly inspected, cleaned of dirt and debris, and disinfected by a qualified professional.”

If you would like a detailed list of standards related to this issue, please give us a call.

Doug Long, ASCS

Power Vac America, Inc.

We want to hear from you! Call or email to tell us about your indoor air quality problems.  We’ll help you find the right solution.