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Health risks of not regularly cleaning your commercial ventilation systems

Over the past few decades, Britain has gradually started to catch up on countries like the USA with the use of ventilation systems, particularly in commercial properties. While this is a positive trend, it brings its own problems. Not all owners of ventilated buildings understand the vital importance of keeping the system clean.

Dangers of dirty ventilation systems

Ventilation system specialist Filtrex Environmental stresses the need for regular cleaning and maintenance of commercial ventilation systems. Reasons range from efficiency to eliminating health risks, but this isn’t merely advisable. It’s a legal requirement to maintain your system.

The problem is simple. The ventilation system draws everything from dust particles to chemical contaminants out of the air, but they have to go somewhere. Some of this matter gets caught up in the filters and ductwork and remains there, if the system isn’t cleaned.

Unfortunately, this provides an ideal environment for viruses, bacteria, mould and pollen to breed and spread. Over time, many of these — especially mould spores — will start being routed back into the atmosphere with the ‘clean’ air.

Health risks

A number of conditions have been linked to contamination from dirty ventilation systems. It’s certainly likely to affect anyone who suffers from asthma, while the pollen harbouring in the ductwork can create extra misery for hay fever sufferers.

Some risks, though, are more alarming. Several potentially fatal infections can breed in in dirty ventilation, the most notorious being Legionnaire’s Disease. An owner who’s found to have caused an outbreak through negligence could face prosecution.

Less dramatic but more insidious is the range of symptoms known collectively as ‘Sick Building Syndrome’. Though not fully understood, symptoms can include persistent headaches, skin irritation and shortness of breath, along with many others.

SBS is believed to have a range of causes, but poor ventilation is generally considered one. While an efficiently working ventilation system should help ease this, a system spewing out contaminated air can make it much worse. Avoiding this is self-interest for a business owner as well as a duty of care, since it’s been shown that workers suffering from SBS are significantly less efficient.

Avoiding risks

To avoid causing these health risks, a commercial ventilation system needs to be cleaned on a regular basis. The filters must be taken out and cleaned at least weekly, or ideally every day. In addition, annually to quarterly depending on the level of use, the whole system should be dismantled, cleaned and serviced by professionals, to leave it clean, germ-free and running efficiently.

For more information on ventilation systems contact Filtrex Environmental on: 01279 457590 or visit

27 June 2016


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