Cleaning Your HVAC System Can Equate to Big Savings
By Tyler Tatum Marketing Strategy Consultant, | October 28, 2008
You may ask why I am so excited about this idea. First, I hate that moldy smell that hits me as I walk into the majority of the hotel rooms I have visited. Second, I am all for any idea that has a 6-month ROI on energy savings alone. Third, this solution cuts down severely on the amount of perfumes and chemicals used in the room. I came across this idea while having lunch with a man named Richard J. Namovich who is founder of a company named Rejuvinair(R), headquartered in Florida. His company is focused on cleaning HVAC units with steam. He claims that steam is the only non-toxic way to clean the units. From what he showed me, the units look almost like new when his team is done cleaning them. Once the units are clean, they operate about 30% more efficiently, and the room is odorless. You see, typical ozone and other air cleaning systems resolve the smell, however, they fail to address the source of the smell. Most smells in a hotel room come from the mold and dirt built up in your HVAC unit.
One of my first questions to Richard was does this happen to my air conditioning unit at home. Richard said that typically you do not get the turnover of people in your house compared to a hotel room, and your HVAC system at home does not get near the abuse of a unit in a hotel room. Many different travelers in a room equates to many different forms of mold and dust. Guests may also enter a hotel room sick with cold or flu symptoms, their germs filtering through the HVAC unit.
As for that smell, the build up in the HVAC unit of mold and dirt often causes it. Hotels rooms spend many dollars on solutions such as ozone cleaners and expensive perfumes to cover up the smell. This solution fails to address the source of the smell, and those sensitive to chemicals and perfumes may find other solutions offensive. Cleaning the HVAC unit takes care of the problem at its source, and allows you to spend less dollars on odor removal solutions.
Richard explained to me that an HVAC unit would usually last exactly as long as the warranty time allows when not cleaned. However, when cleaned the units run more efficiently and, therefore, last up to 10 or 15 years longer than the typical 5 year warranty period. This buildup of dirt and mold is typically the cause of HVAC unit failure. Systems that are cleaned regularly can last up to 3 or 4 times longer than systems that are not cleaned.
You may ask how often you need to clean your units? You want to clean them when the room starts to smell bad or when you begin to see a rise in your energy cost. I have the energy usage of a hotel graphed after the units are cleaned, and you can tell pretty distinctly when the units begin working poorly. Cleaning is required more frequently in humid climates like Florida.
Are there other ways to clean HVAC systems? Of course! Most other options to clean the HVAC units are done in the rooms. Rejuvinair(R) will actually take the unit out of the wall, carry it outside, and clean it in the parking lot. Other options use various forms of Chemicals and Acid washes to eat the mold and dirt off of the coils. These methods can be effective relatively effective, however, the environmental effects of the chemicals and acids is debatable. I strongly encourage you to look around and find the solution that will work best for you.