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Have you decided that your air ducts need a good thorough cleaning and you intend to do it yourself? While you may save money doing it yourself, keep in mind that there are many hidden dangers in duct cleaning that you may not be aware of. Professional duct cleaning is almost always worth it for the expertise they bring to the table.

In a 2016 survey, HVAC jobs have been ranked as the top  #25 most dangerous jobs in the United States. No matter how you look at it, the HVAC industry is an inherently dangerous job with hazards and risks all around. With so many things going into duct cleaning, duct replacement or even duct installation, any mistakes can lead to injury or even death.

Safety is priority number #1 here at DuctMates and there will be no compromises. This does not only apply to our technicians, but also to the occupants of the premises. Our technicians adhere to the SWMMS and OHS guidelines, as well as an intensive 2-week course on safety and hazards. DuctMates jobs are also insured with up to AUD10 million for any untoward incidents.

What are these dangers and what do we do to mitigate these risks? Read on to find out!

The Invisible Dangers That Lurk Within

Respiratory health is a major concern in HVAC cleaning, and justifiably so. Air ducts trap dust, debris and other contaminants within the HVAC system so that they do not get into the lungs of your loved ones.

However, that means that it is a breeding ground for all the nasty mould and bacteria trapped inside. When removing the built-up gunk within the HVAC system, our technicians are subjected to these materials. Breathing in these fine particles may lead to future health issues.

Besides that, carbon monoxide poisoning is a very real possibility and has proven to be fatal before. This may occur if heat exchangers leak or the pilot light fails. Carbon monoxide is odourless and invisible and can only be detected via a carbon monoxide alarm, further increasing the risk.

  • We provide proper full-body PPE (personal protective equipment) to all our technicians, which includes OSHA-approved respirators. 
  • Technicians are also trained properly to effectively and efficiently remove the contaminants inside the air ducts so they are not left behind in the building. 
  • Portable carbon monoxide alarms are also provided if there are any signs of leakage.

Asbestos Insulation 

Asbestos is also another concern when working with HVAC systems. Asbestos’ resistance to chemicals, heat, water and electricity made it an excellent yet cheap insulator that can be found in many Australian homes and buildings.

However, following the revelation that inhaling asbestos significantly increases the risk of cancer and disease, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and even lung cancer, its use was finally banned in 2003. When working with HVAC systems, technicians and occupants may be exposed to asbestos fibres without even knowing it.

  • If asbestos is used in your home, inform our technicians. Proper procedures must be exercised when dealing with asbestos.

Ouch, my back!

Working as a professional duct cleaning technician is hard, manual labour. This includes crawling through tight spaces, going up to the roof while carrying heavy equipment and chemicals, and working with heavy machinery. All this means that physical injuries, from falls to muscle sprains, are prevalent amongst HVAC technicians.

  • Technicians are trained on the proper methods of duct cleaning, duct replacement and duct installation.
  • This will help reduce the risks of physical injury on the job.

Ladders: One Step at a Time

Ladders are the essential equipment for the job, and yet the most misused. Many experienced technicians take basic ladder safety for granted, and they pay the price for it when it all comes crashing down. Ladder injuries are not to be taken lightly, as a fall from heights can easily lead to death.

  • Our technicians are trained to secure the ladder and level the footing before climbing the ladder.
  • Make sure the type of ladder being used is up for the job.
  • Maintain three points of contact with the ladder at all times. This means either both feet with at least one hand or both hands with at least one foot on the ladder when climbing the ladder.

Hearing Loss and Deafness

When cleaning out air ducts, your local duct cleaning company might opt to use compressed air to clean out stubborn stains from your air ducts. However, prolonged exposure to the sounds the machines make is detrimental to our hearing.

It does not take much to damage our hearing, as a person who is exposed to noise levels at or above 85 decibels for a prolonged period of time is at risk for hearing loss. The louder the noise, the shorter the time it takes to damage your hearing!

  • We invest in quieter, better air compressor guns to be used on the job. This will reduce the noise levels our technicians are exposed to.
  • As part of the PPE, we also issue hearing protection equipment to reduce hearing damage.
  • Technicians are also rotated frequently to reduce prolonged exposure to sound hazards.

Eyesight Issues

With microparticles swirling all-around when doing professional HVAC cleaning, getting them in your eyes is another concern. This can lead to dry eyes, as exposure to micro ducts results in the degradation of the protective retinal mucous layer. Further symptoms include redness, itchiness, irritation, eye strain, and blurring of vision.

  • Proper eye protection such as goggles is to be worn by our technicians at all times.

Electrical Concerns

Another very common cause of injuries is electric-related injuries. HVAC work will require our technicians to perform electrical wiring. Without proper certifications and training, one shouldn’t even think of doing any electrical work themselves!

  • All power should be switched off before wiring is performed.
  • Follow proper lockout/tag-out procedures to prevent any miscommunication.

No Corners Cut on Safety

Even though accidents can occur at any time, we at DuctMates are dedicated to minimising the risks our technicians face on the job. Investing in our wonderful staff and equipment is vital to our business ideals. We understand that if we take care of our staff, they’ll take care of us as well.

Here at DuctMates, we offer professional duct cleaning at the best prices! You can contact us at 1300 238 287 or fill up the enquiry form. We are delighted to be at your service.

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