One of the often-cited challenges for air duct cleaners is testing or measuring indoor air contaminants. There’s the process of taking the air samples, then sending them off and awaiting the results. The waiting game has long been just another part of doing business. Now, imagine if you could walk into a building or home, conduct an instant particle count and profile and immediately identify what particles are in the space and the possible sources of those particles. Mark Hernandez, PhD, PE, professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering at the University of Colorado in Boulder, has been conducting research with the technology to do just that.
The technology Hernandez uses in his research is cytometry, commonly used in biotechnology to count and sort cells. Specifications for size, geometry and color are set, and a laser is used to process the sample by reflecting light off each cell in the sample and counting those that meet the set specifications. Previously, samples needed to be suspended in a stream of fluid, but Hernandez’s research uses a new generation of cytometers capable of measuring air.
“What’s especially interesting about this new generation of cytometers is that in addition to shining regular laser light, they now measure fluorescence,” said Hernandez. “That’s exciting because biology fluoresces— bacteria, fungi, viruses — different microbes have different fluorescent signatures. This new technology can detect those different signatures.” Hernandez’s research built a library of the fluorescent properties of different microbes. “I challenged this new generation of cytometers with all sorts of bad guys to find out their physical properties and identify them in real-time indoors,” he said.
That library has the potential to be game-changing for the air duct cleaning industry. NADCA members using the technology and utilizing the library of Hernandez’s research results will be able to answer some very specific questions that previously took time testing and waiting for results. “The technology allows technicians to more comprehensively characterize the outcome of a cleaning,” said Hernandez. “We can now answer, ‘If I cleaned something, did I lower the particle load? Did I lower the biological load?”
About ABC Cleaning, Inc. of Orlando, FL
Serving Central Florida since 1992, ABC Cleaning, Inc. has been the acknowledged leader in air duct cleaning, chimney cleaning and dryer vent cleaning. We’re NADCA certified, we consistently invest in and have the most modern equipment and utilize the latest technology available with the best-trained service technicians in all of Orlando. If you need help deciding whether to replace or repair faulty ducts, please contact us at ABC. We provide quality HVAC service throughout Orlando and the surrounding communities. Please give us a call today at (407) 381-2120. We are here to help!