HVAC Maintenance Program can Save Managers Millions

Regular duct cleaning can have healthy air and budget benefits for facilities.   March 1, 2023

By Dave Lubach, Managing Editor

The survey always makes Brooks Ingrassia shake his head, especially as someone whose career includes cleaning air ducts inside commercial and institutional facilities. 

During a presentation at the annual AHR Expo, a gathering of HVAC professionals in Atlanta, Ingrassia revealed that 60 percent of the people surveyed in a poll said they preferred a reactive maintenance program instead of a proactive or regular maintenance program

As he told the crowd gathered for the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NACDA)-sponsored presentation, that’s a lot of people who say, “let’s let it fail, let’s let it break, and let’s have a problem before we decide to fix it.” 

Ingrassia, an HVAC contractor based in Kansas City, Missouri, serves on NACDA’s board of directors and presented at the show on the benefits of how a consistent cleaning schedule can help facility managers realize cost savings and extend the life of mechanical systems. 

“Running a piece of equipment to failure can cost you much more than a regular maintenance program,” Ingrassia says. “One dollar worth of maintenance deferred can cost four times that in capital renewal costs.” 

In a post-pandemic environment, the importance of indoor air quality (IAQ) has never been more critical for managers. The general public has never been more aware of the air they breathe in their workspace, and are factoring it into their decisions about where they want to work. If employees are taking that into consideration, students and their parents are also making it a factor in where they will attend school, and customers are considering IAQ when making decisions on where to do business. 

During his presentation at AHR, Ingrassi offered attendees the benefits of maintaining a consistent cleaning schedule. 

  • Location of equipment: It’s cheaper to regularly clean a hard-to-reach piece of equipment than have to more regularly replace it.  
  • Budgets: A regular program helps extend the life of equipment and can push off replacing it. 
  • Improves efficiency: The dirtier a system, the less efficiently it operates. 
  • Supply chain issues: Products are more difficult to obtain in a timely matter as the world continues to work through production issues that have developed over the last few years. 
  • Contamination in ductwork: Regular cleanings can help managers prevent mold from developing. Regular attention can also help detect the presence of things like lead paint. 
  • Temporary solutions: Managers can use cleaning programs as a bridge to the next budget or project cycle when more funding becomes available to install upgrades. 

Dave Lubach is the managing editor of the Facility Market. 


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