If you’ve ever seen a spy movie, then you’ve most likely seen an air duct at least a hundred times in your life. Air ducts are such an integral part of the genre you would think that funding for these movies came from ductwork cleaning services.
Even though films aren’t always held to a high standard of realism, office managers take particular exception of the fact that whenever a protagonist has to crawl on all fours in an air duct, it’s always impeccably clean. If you or anyone you know has ever crawled through an actual air duct, you’ll recognise them as the dirt-lined bacteria tubes they really are.
The Real Air Ducts
Air ducts are giant vacuum cleaners that allow the air to circulate freely in a closed environment, and prevent office buildings from turning into giant suffocation chambers. But all the microbial nastiness that’s sometimes caught and collects in air ducts, making offices even more dangerous.
If air ducts aren’t cleaned regularly, moulds and fungi can start forming along the sides, most of which release fungal spores that cause respiratory irritation when inhaled. It becomes even worse with people who are allergic to fungal spores, because inhalation can result in fatalities if not treated immediately. Unclean or poorly designed air ducts are the only reason anyone can suffer from respiratory fungal infections, as fungal spores are nominally harmless and don’t even reach humans in an open environment.
Out of Sight, Out of Your Mind
It iseasy to dismiss cleaning air ducts as they’re (depending on building designs) hidden, and nobody thinks about them, which is a continuing theme in this dilemma. People don’t see air ducts most of the time, so no one pays attention; no one sees fungi either and no one even thinks about them.
A soft attitude of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is taking unnecessary risks with the health of people working in an office. Both businesses and employees need to be made aware of the dangers neglected air ducts can create. The government even has duct cleaning regulations published in the HSE & Workplace Regulations Approved Codes of Practice.
If you want to keep workers and office tenants healthy, property managers need to stay on top of their ventilation cleanliness and institute regular air sampling and ductwork cleaning. After all, you’ll never know when a spy might have to crawl through your air ducts.