HVAC Hygiene Inspections in Australia
Business owners are often surprised when we inform them that their HVAC system is not only responsible for poor air quality but is also responsible for transmitting air borne diseases.
Over time, the presence of moisture ensures that every HVAC system will gather dust and also begin to rust. The rust in turn gathers even more dust and also loosens the insulation. Dust when mixed with moisture from HVAC system, the dust becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. The bacteria in turn releases spores into the air ducts thus spreading infections and disease. Soon enough a vigilant HR management team will notice people falling sick more often or complaining of headaches etc.
HVAC HYGIENE MAINTENANCE (AS/NZS 3666.2 & 3666.4)
Australian Standard AS/NZS 3666.2 & 3666.4 requires Australian businesses to conduct regular Legionella Testing. The building / business owners and managers have to ensure hygienic work / living environment to the occupants of the building. This includes periodic HVAC hygiene inspections.
Merely having a HVAC maintenance contract in place does not amount to a compliance of AS/NZS 3666.2/ 3666.4. This is because most HVAC maintenance contracts do not include HVAC hygiene as part of the service requirement. In any case, HVAC hygiene inspection is a specialized job and requires specialized diagnostic and sampling tools. The majority of HVAC maintenance crews and service providers are ill equipped to the task.
The frequency of the HVAC hygiene inspections depends on the design of the HVAC system, the quantum and placement of filtration systems, the type of areas serviced by the system and even the geographical location of the building. Broadly though, HVAC hygiene inspections need to be conducted once every 5 years.
BEST PRACTICE TO ENSURE HVAC Hygiene
Hire HVAC hygiene specialists to conduct your Legionella risk assessment as per Australian Standard AS/NZS 3666.2 & 3666.4. This provides a more accurate evaluation of the HVAC system.
There are many service providers that conduct HVAC hygiene inspections. The most prominent being J.M.B.E.C (http://jmbec.com.au)
Broadly, AS/NZS 3666.2 & 3666.4 is a three-stage process comprising of:
1. On-site assessment – of air-handling systems by a competent person
2. Evaluation and reporting – of growth of microo
3. Implementation of compliance –rectification and re-inspection.
INCLUDE HVAC Hygiene AS PART OF BUILDING MAINTENANCE
The dust and grime within the HVAC is invisible and hence no attention is paid to it. The only time that business / building owners look into it is when occupants fall sick and complaints begin to mount.
A building that is regularly maintained requires an allocation of $5000 to $20,000 for HVAC hygiene inspection and cleaning. Neglect it and the cost could balloon to a figure in excess of $50,000.
Always use a specialist team like JMBEC for your HVAC inspection. This is because parts within the HVAC system are difficult to access and only dedicated specialists will do a thorough job.