Air Vent Cleaning Basics After a Flood or Fire

Air Vent Cleaning Basics After a Flood or Fire


Air Vent Cleaning Basics After a Flood or Fire

When a flood or fire hits your home or office building, the aftermath is often a lot of work. Cleaning up the water or soot, repairing water and fire damage, and replacing what was lost can be heartbreakingly hard work.

Amid all of this, it's important not to forget about one of the most important parts of your property, the HVAC system. HVAC systems are vulnerable to fire and flood and need to be thoroughly inspected, cleaned, and tested before the building can be occupied again. 

Vent cleaning is an important service that should be done as soon as possible after a fire or flood. Vent covers can become covered in soot and other debris, which can cause them to function improperly and even lead to health problems. Mold can also spread throughout the event if moisture is allowed to sit.

This article will discuss the basics of vent cleaning and HVAC remediation after a fire or flood. We'll talk about why it's important, what needs to be done, and how you don't have to do it on your own. 

Why You Need to Clean a Water Damaged HVAC System

HVAC systems that have been submerged in flood waters can harbor dangerous microorganisms and collect a significant volume of contaminated dirt and debris. Mold, fungi, and bacterial outbreaks that are not eliminated through HVAC remediation can quickly spread throughout the building and put the occupants at risk.

Likewise, fire and smoke can severely damage HVAC systems, and then there is the problem of a persistent smoke odor. HVAC remediation and repair services have the vent cleaning expertise to restore your HVAC system to its pre-disaster condition and eliminate smoke odor using specialized equipment. 

What Happens During HVAC and Vent Cleaning?

We remove and discard all flood-contaminated insulation and filters around the HVAC system components according to local regulations.

The next task is to clean all contaminated components and surfaces using specialized tools (described below) and HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaners to collect microorganisms, spores, dirt, and other debris.  Special attention is given to drain pans, filter racks, horizontal sections, bends, and any other nooks and crannies that are prone to debris buildup. 

All the HVAC surfaces are disinfected using high-quality cleaning and disinfection solutions while the HVAC is not in operation. At the end of the remediation process, all discarded materials are replaced with new components. 

Where necessary, the HVAC system fan is removed, inspected, cleaned, disinfected, and tested by a qualified professional before being replaced. The final step is to have the entire system checked and tested before occupants re-enter the building. 

Passive and Active Smoke Damage

A HVAC system that is turned off during an emergency and not circulating air can still suffer from smoke damage during a fire. We call this passive smoke damage. A HVAC that is actively circulating air, will draw and circulate smoke produced by the fire, which creates active smoke damage. 

In both instances, the cleaning and treatment are the same, but they should be performed by a qualified HVAC cleaning and restoration professional.

Vent Cleaning After an Emergency

A thorough vent cleaning will need to focus on the three main parts of the system described below before the HVAC can be returned to normal and safe operation. 

Parts of the HVAC System 

HVAC systems are composed of three parts: the air handler, supply duction, and return ducting. 

The supply ducting runs off the air handler and is responsible for distributing regulated air into various areas of the building. The air handler is a mechanical device made up of a metal box with a blower and some heating elements for regulating the air temperature. Return ducting pulls the air back into the air handler. 

Cleaning the Air Handler

The heating elements, fans, and coils of the air handler are all treated to an air blast or HEPA vacuum to remove debris and particulates. Once clean, we will treat the A/C coils with a coil cleaning spray. 

Return Duct Cleaning

Return ducting is the first in line for catching airborne debris, so this section of the HVAC often needs the most attention after a fire, and a variety of processes are needed to get the job done, including:

  • Agitation
  • Mass air movement
  • Vacuuming

Agitating the debris requires a cleaning whip, which is a 14" rubber hose about 1/4" long that uses compressed air to "whip" it around the inside of the duct. The violent motion dislodges the debris, which is vacuumed out through a series of rigid tubes running along the entire length of the duct. The duct is cleaned and vacuumed through a process known in the industry as the push-pull method. 

Supply Duct Cleaning 

Supply ducts distribute air flow by branching into different areas of the property. Duct cleaning uses agitation whips or blasting balls that run through the ducts and are operated by highly compressed air that scours the side of the ducts to remove the debris and into a HEPA filtered canister. 

Once we're satisfied that the duct is clean, our remediation process then goes about removing the offensive smoke odor using ozone gas. We place the ozone generator near the return duct opening and use the HVAC system's blower to push it through the duct and the air handler to remove all trace of lingering smoke odors. 

Find a Reliable HVAC Remediation and Repair Company

One of the first things to do after a flood or fire is to find a good HVAC cleaning company like Best Option Restoration Thornton & Boulder to handle your most challenging cleaning processes like vent cleaning.

A dirty HVAC system will contaminate the air you breathe and can cause serious health issues if mold is allowed to grow, or soot circulates inside the building. Restoration and remediation companies will have the equipment and training to handle the job properly and professionally and eliminate the risks. 

After a flood or fire, there could be a huge amount of water in your home. This water could damage your HVAC system. HVAC remediation and repair companies have the equipment to handle these situations and can diagnose the problem and make repairs. If you've been through a fire or flood, you know the importance of air vent cleaning. Not only is it necessary for your safety, but it's also key to preventing further damage to your home.


Best Option Restoration - Thornton & Boulder

      (720) 620-3272     

Water · Fire · Mold · Storm



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