Duct and Air System Upkeep Clean Air Act(ion)

It creeps in silently and is everywhere at once. It is totally invisible to the naked eye, but often carries potentially dangerous materials. It can cause sickness and discomfort without ever being detected. What on earth could it be?

It's air—and it's high time you clean up its act.

With thousands of construction projects going on all the time, typical city pollution, grease from millions of restaurants, pets throwing dander everywhere, and more than a few cigarettes, the air out there is already a potential hotbed of allergens, irritants and other not-so-nice particulate matter. In a multi-unit building, air quality has another hurdle to jump—it has to filter through a system that is often neglected, dirty and totally out-of-date.

Keeping your building's chute, vent and duct systems clean and functional is a high priority—as important, you might say, as the air we breathe.

Why Care About Air?

"It amazes me that million-dollar apartments have gorgeous lobbies complete with fresh flowers but often the worst indoor air quality," says Maria Vizzi, president of Indoor Environmental Solutions, a Bronx, New York-based company that has been providing air quality services to individuals, management companies and businesses for over six years. Vizzi says ventilation issues, proper air flow/indoor air quality, duct cleaning, trash chute and compactor cleaning, disinfecting and deodorizing, video inspection and recording to detect air flow "blockages," and dryer vent exhaust cleaning are all steps a building can take to assess and improve its overall air quality profile.


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Part 2: The Bigger Picture



  • Hello, My husband and I purchased what is referred to as a "soft loft" for my daughter to live in while she attends college in Los Angeles. The space is just under 1800 sq. feet and is on the 18th floor of a 24 floor bldg. At one time this building was a government building. It now uses the first 11 floors for business leases and the remaining were sold as personal residences. The reason I am writing you is my concern for her health in this building. I was looking for air purifiers and somehow came across your article. Her living space is inundated with dust. No matter how much you dust, vacuum etc..., dust is everywhere. She doesn't open her windows very often because she lives downtown and there is the usual polution there along with some construction and her front door is extra heavy and is not an area for dust to seep in through. I have purchased the best filters I can buy for her A.C. unit and we change these every 3-4 weeks. They come out dark grey every change. Is there any information that you can give me as to the proper way to approach the association for the bldg. as to how they maintain the bldgs. ducting? I don't want to cause problems but I do want to know how to go about getting the correct information in order to resolve this potentially unhealthful problem. I would very much appreciate any information that you may be able to give as to the direction that I may take. Kindest of regards, Michelle
  • How often does a exhaust duct in a line of 3 apartments with one person in each apt and little cooking need to be cleaned out..
  • I have a question and I hope that somehow I can have a response. First, let me mention that this article was very informative. It's what I didn't see in the article that prompts my question. I live in an apartment in Phoenix, which is an area that is inherently dusty! I have black appliances and in order to keep the dust to a minimum, I dust them every time I go into the kitchen. The dust and rather large particles literally make me not want to cook or eat here. I must dust every piece of furniture every day and it still looks dusty. I am handicapped with very severe spinal issues. I have a few somewhat good hours a day that I would love to use doing something other than dusting. I asked the manager of my complex if they could possibly clean my vents. He said they would be happy to do so but I must leave the apartment for a day due to the strong chemicals that are used, which I could not breathe. Since I am handicapped, it would be an extreme hardship for me to go somewhere for a day with my dogs. I didn't notice in your article any mention of noxious chemical smells that would require me to leave my apartment. Can you please comment on my question. Thank you!
  • i live in a senior cha bldg,-90-units ,we have very small are vents,and they always have like black sute,we are told to wipe away,and are filters are changed twice a year and are the darkest grey,,i live in chicago,also when i sweep, its just thick dark or light grey dust,very little debri from my apt,,every one here is sneezing from the time you enter bldg, we have multiple groups from different ethnicities living here and groups that come to use our facilities,,,i mentioned to the manager if they could check our ducts?,,,,she said they do our bldg,opened in 2011,,,,,iam thinking the air ducts and other ducts need a thorough checking ,,,now since our bldg,is an official eco friendly bldg,this bothers me,,everthing in our bldg, is recycled material etc....
  • what if your return has a 1inch to 2 inches all over the walls .i removed the vent and was discusse. on Sunday, April 8, 2018 7:42 PM
    What should you dou when you take off the retun vent and fid 3 to 4 inches on the 4 walls. Wood about a 3x4 just laying there and dust and dirt all around. Should i tell the apartment manger and get it cleanef out are just leave it along. O by the way i vacuum it out and put vent back on , only thing is know i might start having asthma attack as i have severe asthma. Can you help me.
  • Green Leaf Air's Air Conditioning in Austin on Thursday, April 1, 2021 11:35 AM
    The air in your home is circulated through your air ducts multiple times each day, each time taking a little of whatever is in your air ducts into your home with it. Air ducts are tight spaces that allow for the build-up of dust, dust mites, mold, fungi, bacteria, germs, pet fur and dander, chemicals, and all other kinds of obnoxious allergens. Getting your air ducts clean may relieve the symptoms of your loved one suffering from allergies.
  • If any of the conditions identified above exists, it usually suggests one or more underlying causes. Prior to any cleaning, retrofitting, or replacing of your ducts, the cause or causes must be corrected or else the problem will likely recur.
  • For those who have HVAC systems, you should check all duct connections. The contractors who installed the system in my apt, cut corners and used duct tape to attach the flex duct, which loosed over time and created air leaks, caused the HVAC system to overwork, shortened its useful life and increase my utility bills.