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Dirty Ceiling Diffusers Can Put Health and Business at Risk

Imagine, you’re sitting in a shopping mall food court, eating your lunch, when you look up and above your head is a ceiling caked with a layer of black dirt and dust. Not very appetizing, is it? It’s also not good for your health as that ceiling could indicate air quality issues in that building.

These are the very reasons why we were recently called in to clean the ceilings in a shopping mall food court. The dirt coming from the diffusers was an on-going challenge to the property management company, knowing it was unsightly and unhealthy for their customers and staff.

Dirt coming from ceiling diffusers is often less about dirty ducts in an HVAC system and more about poor air quality in that room.

Investigations have shown that “smudging,” as we call the deposition of dirt particles on the air outlet and surrounding surfaces, is more likely to be generated from room activity that releases dirt into the room air rather than from dirty supply air. This dirt suspended in room air, called an “atmospheric aerosol,” can then be entrained (drawn) into the discharge of the diffuser. (Hart & Cooley’s Tech Talk August 2006)

Dirt particles can be composed of both natural and man-made materials such as dust, smoke, greasy fumes, lint and pollen. Areas with heavy foot traffic will stir up these fine particles and keep them in suspension contributing to the smudging appearing on the ceiling.

An indoor environment report by Cochrane Ventilation Inc. states, “If the air in the ductwork is clean and the air in the room is dirty, when air in the ductwork exits the diffuser and enters the room it displaces air already in the room. Clean, ducted air coming out of the HVAC system through a vent sets the already dirty room air in motion, forcing it to impact nearby surfaces, such as walls and ceilings.”

If you are challenged with dirty ceilings in your building, your first step will be finding the root cause of the ceiling smudging and how to address it. Enlist the help of an HVAC expert to examine your system as well as your diffusers.

The key to keeping a ceiling clean is to avoid induction of room air on the ceiling next to the supply diffuser. Various diffusers have much more dirt or more pronounced black areas around them than others. The design of the diffuser and the path of induction of the room air to the diffuser are critical. (The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration NEWS – Dec. 3, 2012)

Like our friends at the shopping mall, you will also want to have the unsightly dirt cleaned from the ceiling surface. Look for a qualified ceiling cleaning company that has the knowledge and experience to do this specialized work. Maintaining a clean ceiling will give your business a clean, professional look while ensuring your staff and customers feel good about being there.

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EFS Clean Building Services is Calgary’s locally-owned-and-grown commercial cleaning company and authorized dealer for Ceiling Pro International. Our services include Ceiling Cleaning, Commercial Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Hard Surface/Tile Restoration and Quality Assurance Inspections. Let us help you get a better clean by calling 403-949-3344 or by requesting a cleaning quote/demo.

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