Certified HVAC Mould Remediation

IICRC Qualified Professional services offering long term Mould Solutions, Remediation and Germicidal UV-C Installation for HVAC Systems.

Clean-Air has been providing HVAC Mould Solutions to Commercial Buildings Australia-wide for the past 30 years.

Certified Mould Remediation HVAC Microbial Sampling Condenser Coil Cleaning 
Anti-microbial Coatings  Infection Control Measures   Mould Prevention 
 HVAC Cleaning Certification    Indoor Air Quality Testing

Indoor Air Quality Standards are set for the occurrence of Mould, CFU/CM³ (the number of viable colonies formed per cubic centimeter) where above a certain count, depending on the type of indoor environment, will present a serious health risk. Only a Mycologist, a Micro-biologist with expertise in Fungi and Mould can determine which are harmless and which are toxic. The safest outcome is to minimise the presence of all moulds.

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IICRC Certified Remediation Methods

Due to the wetness of the cooled air in an air conditioning system there is always an element of risk that mould may be present.

Clean-air uses a range of chemicals to eliminate mould. However the process is a time consuming one with every surface requiring multiple wet wiping to achieve success. We have taken what we have learned on Mould Remediation within HVAC systems and now apply it to more general building usage including Floors, Walls, Ceilings, Hard and Soft Furnishings. This involves drying of all materials, treatment and verification.

ⓘ Our complete remediation methods avoid cross-contamination, if not done this way mould regrowth can occur within 48-72 hours

Preventative Measures

Anti-microbial Coatings

Within HVAC ducts we use advanced anti-microbial coatings to prevent mould growth. We also use a clear coat treatment on Grilles, Registers and other surfaces.

Germicidal UVC

HVAC Coils: UVC destroys viruses, mould, bacteria and fungus in your air system, reducing occupant sickness, increasing energy efficiency and stopping mould growth.

Ozone (O³) Treatment

Under control of a qualified Clean-Air technician Ozone (O³) can be utilised safely as an effective germicidal treatment on a wide spectrum of microorganisms.

Corrosion Protection

Treatment and Protection for your HVAC coil is a proven way to reduce running costs, prolong the lifespan of equipment and improve indoor air quality.

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HVAC Mould Remediation
and Duct Cleaning

Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC-R) Systems are essential for climate control within commercial buildings and storage facilities. They require scheduled cleaning and continued maintenance to operate safely and efficiently. Poorly maintained HVAC systems lead to performance, humidity and temperature control issues and spread harmful contaminants throughout the building, causing a health risk to people inside.

Unmaintained HVAC systems circulate allergens like dust and mould. Mould accumulates as Biofilm on components, causes excessive condensation in the ductwork and produces mycotoxins which spread throughout the building.

Certified remediation professionals can solve mould issues, making it easier to control, or eliminating them altogether using preventative measures and pre-planned maintenance (PPM) schedules.

The HVAC System:
a Key Factor in Mould Remediation

If mould remains in ductwork, spores continue to spread and colonise, regardless of the other cleanup strategies. Once mould starts to grow in an air conditioning and ductwork system, it can affect components and exacerbate condensation issues. With condensation being a common issue in an HVAC systems, the air conditioner and ductwork should be a part of every mould inspection.

Solutions for Mould
in HVAC Systems

Specialists may recommend several different steps to respond to a mould problem. The methods that a remediation expert will suggest will depend on the cause of the mould problem and the extent of the contamination.

Pre/Post Verification
Testing Methods

Clean-Air uses a variety of methods for assessing mould within HVAC systems, we can perform pre and post verification measures to ensure the indoor air is safe. Sampling is carried out in a strategic way and may include, swab sampling, bio-tape lifts or bioaerosol cassette captures. Only a Mycologist, a Micro-biologist that is an expert in fungi and mould, can determine which moulds are harmless and which are an issue. The safest outcome is to minimise the presence of all moulds. Domestic cleaners and mould treatments are often only bleaches which may change the appearance of mould but not destroy it, that's why understanding the chemistry is vital and the results of sampling determines the correct remediation process where we will use specifically formulated chemicals, multi-enzymatic cleaners and Anti-Bacterial coatings to ensure an effective outcome.

Data collected from Indoor Air Quality(IAQ) Testing allows us to prescribe a specific course of treatment, determine the correct remediation method. Without following a stringent process like this there is no guarantee that the chemicals or treatments being used would be effective in solving an IAQ mould issue.

HVAC Mould
and Moisture Problems

Modifications to the System may be necessary to address the cause of moisture problems. This could mean dealing directly with condensation inside the ductwork, near vents, or on mechanical components. In some cases, a dehumidifier can be used to lower the humidity within the duct system and throughout the building. 

Another factor is to ensure the ductwork is fully sealed and that areas with significant temperature contrasts have sufficient insulation. In addition to stopping condensation, extra layers can increase HVAC efficiency too.

One advanced sealing method is Aeroseal. Performing Aeroseal Duct Sealing, can seal the ductwork from within the system, and complies with AS4254.2 2012 which states that rigid ductwork should not leak more than 5% at an airflow of 3000l/s and above. Helping with contamination issues.

Existing Mould Contamination
in the HVAC System

Mould colonies within the system are cleaned using prescribed cleaning products specifically designed to target moulds, this might include anti-fungal or bio-enzymatic cleaners. Ductwork is typically non-porous and therefore easy to decontaminate with an appropriate cleaning agent. Only a professional can perform this task as ensuring every component and area of ductwork is treated correctly is critical.

While metal ducts will respond well to cleaning agents, other components within the HVAC system may require removal including flexible ducting which generally cannot be cleaned. Typically, any porous elements and components that are difficult to cover with an antifungal agent need to be completely replaced. Cooling coils and evaporators are especially difficult to clean because of their shape and multi-layer designs. Other elements, such as fan blades and blowers, are cleanable if they have a smooth surface but need to be replaced if rough or porous.

Air Filtration
and Coatings

In addition to performing preventive maintenance in the future, building owners can consider upgrading the HVAC filtration system. Better filters can ensure the health of the people in the building and also prevent future contamination.

HVAC remediation experts may also offer a coating or sealant that can inhibit future mould growth. These products should be approved specifically for this purpose. They should also be non-toxic and safe for use in a ventilation system.

Order of Cleaning
and Infection Control

Because the HVAC system can spread mould spores, it is best to clean the mould or remove contaminated components after completing remediation in other parts of the building. A remediation expert will be able to isolate the different areas so that mould does not spread to areas that are already clean.

The Most Effective
Cleaning Methods

There are different cleaning methods for removing mould. If you employ a specialist to remove mould from your building or facility, they have the ability to prescribe the appropriate approach to target a specific mould issue.

Vacuuming can remove mould particles. However, this method requires multiple passes over the same area in a cross pattern. A vacuum or other air-based method could be a solution for porous or semi-porous surfaces that are difficult to replace.

Liquid cleaners can include anti-fungal agents that can kill existing mould colonies and potentially limit new growth. An expert can select a cleaner that is safe for use in a ventilation system.

Abrasive cleaning measures may seem like a good solution. However, any method that scrubs the mould may cause the spores to become airborne and spread to other areas of the building. In general, using an abrasive method is not ideal unless you can place the components outside where airborne spores are less of an issue. A professional can clean an area of ductwork sealed off whilst under a negative pressure, removing debris and mould safely.

The best approach is usually a combination of the above. Using each method where appropriate, in some cases robotic cleaners are used to access hard to reach areas. See Muiltibot in action.

The Importance of
Ongoing Maintenance

Regularly scheduled duct and HVAC cleaning can help lower the risk of future mould infestations. Maintenance can include ensuring the effectiveness of dehumidifier equipment and inspecting for air leaks or loose insulation. As well as protecting against mould growth, regular cleaning and maintenance can limit the spread of other allergens, such as dust, and ensure that the HVAC system operates at peak efficiency.

Why an Expert
is essential

With the multitude of factors involved, mould remediation for HVAC systems requires you commission a certified team of experts with the knowledge and skills to deal with mould problems in climate control and ductwork systems. Choosing the correct cleaning agent, identifying components for complete removal, and making mechanical and structural upgrades to prevent further growth in the future can ensure a successful remediation outcome.

Health Risks

Mould in your air conditioning system can lead to a wide range of illnesses. All types of mould can trigger allergic reactions in people sensitive to those substances, but some types of mould like aspergillus produce toxic compounds known as mycotoxins. These compounds can lead to serious health issues such as legionellosis, pneumonia and bleeding in the lungs. Mould found anywhere in a built environment can result in health problems, but when mould is in the air conditioning system, it can be particularly problematic. Microscopic mould spores become airborne when air blows through the ducts and then are dispersed throughout the built environment, where they can be easily inhaled or develop into new mould colonies. Infants, pregnant women, the elderly, and any persons who have an immune deficiency are most susceptible to mould-related illnesses, but even healthy, young adults can get sick.

Symptoms of mould exposure range from:

  • Headache, fatigue, shortness of breath
  • Sinus congestion, coughing and sneezing
  • Eye, nose, throat and skin irritation
  • Dizziness and nausea

Not everyone has the same sensitivity to mould so it is possible for one person to experience discomfort while others in the building or office present no symptoms whatsoever. Individuals at the greatest risk include:

  • Allergy and asthma sufferers
  • People with respiratory disease
  • People with compromised immune systems
  • Contact lens wearers

Air conditioner mould spores circulate in the air, where they may be inhaled by the room's occupants. Infants and the elderly are particularly vulnerable. Airborne mould spores may also release chemicals knows as mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are harmful compounds that cause severe illnesses.

The results of work conducted in Australian homes, hospitals and other air-conditioned buildings indicate fungi are an indoor pollutant of significant concern. Indoor Air Quality Special Interest Group, Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand (2002) Indoor Air Quality in Australia: A Strategy for Action, FASTS Occasional Paper Series Number 5, FASTS, Canberra Australia.

If your air conditioner is contaminated you are at risk. Clean-Air IEPs can assess, scope and remediate the source of these issues and neutralise the risk to your building occupants or employees.

A World Health Organisation report in 1995 estimated that up to one-third of buildings in industrialised countries are so-called sick buildings. In Australia, the CSIRO concluded in 1998 that this problem cost 12 billion dollars per year in lost productivity and illness. The issue of air quality is one with very real health and economic implications. It is with good reason that this topic is now among the most hotly debated in the environmental medical literature.

Read our news item:
HVAC Mould: WorkSafe QLD Recognises IICRC S520 and AIRAH Best Practice

WorkSafe.qld.gov.au outlines a safety and prevention measure for the management of mould, categorised under Hazardous exposures, it specifies the control measures that can be taken to manage risks and protect workers’ health, safety and wellbeing.

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Talk to the Clean-Air Team

For HVAC Hygiene advice and services, talk with a Clean-Air® expert today. Call our office on 07 3274 2833 or email sales@cleanairaust.com.au for info.

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