Every apartment is equipped with natural air ventilation to ensure that we breathe fresh air at home. However, if the ventilation system is not cleaned, we are breathing polluted air in our homes, which can cause serious health problems. Laimonas Kėža, Head of Building Maintenance at Civinity Namai, explains why it is essential to keep the ventilation ducts clean and how to do it.
The quality of the air you breathe depends on the cleanliness of the ventilation ducts
To breathe fresh air in the home, it is ventilated through the exhaust ventilation system in the apartment building. The ventilation ducts need to be taken care of regularly because over time dust, harmful micro-organisms and bacteria start to accumulate in the exhaust air. Fungi and moulds start to appear in the ducts due to moisture and steam coming from the bathrooms.
“All of this degrades the air quality in apartments and can cause illness, allergies and other ailments for the people who live there. The ducts also harbour a wide range of infectious agents, such as tuberculosis and legionella bacteria, which spread through the air. Airborne mould or fungi can also cause illness,” says Laimonas Kėža, Head of Building Maintenance at Civinity Namai.
In addition to dust and micro-organisms, a wide range of waste is often found in ventilation ducts.
Spiders breed in ventilation ducts, birds often make nests in them, and various twigs and twigs and bird droppings are deposited in the ducts. A clogged ventilation system becomes less efficient, reducing natural draught, thus affecting the microclimate of the apartment, causing people to breathe in carbon dioxide (Co2) that has not been removed, and, in many cases, causing the windows to become musty.
Grease-clogged ventilation ducts can cause fires that are difficult to extinguish
When using a cooker hood in the kitchen, we don’t think about where the collected air and the grease particles in it disappear. The grease that comes out of kitchen hoods ends up in the ventilation ducts and eventually clogs them. Without regular duct cleaning, the grease doesn’t go away, it grows, so the ducts get narrower and narrower, making it harder for air to get through.
This is one of the main reasons why ventilation systems fail in apartments, according to Kėžos: air ventilation becomes more difficult and odours from other apartments start to spread. However, blocked ventilation ducts are not just a comfort problem – if a fire breaks out in an apartment and spreads to a grease-filled ventilation duct, the fire can spread throughout the apartment block, and extinguishing the ventilation ducts is extremely difficult.
Cleaning and disinfection of ventilation ducts is mandatory
It is not only recommended that residents of blocks of flats regularly clean their ventilation ducts. Cleaning and disinfecting them is compulsory according to the Building Regulation. According to this regulation, the ventilation ducts of a multi-apartment building must be cleaned at least once every three years.
The condition of the ventilation ducts must be assessed by the building manager of the apartment block during the periodic or regular maintenance inspection. He/she may also organise additional cleaning work if the residents in the house feel that the air ventilation draught is reduced.
“Most residents do not check the condition of the ventilation grilles in their flats, which are often overgrown with cobwebs and accumulate dust. If you feel that the ventilation in your apartment has deteriorated, check it first,” advises L. Kėža.
Cleaning the ventilation ducts removes accumulated pollutants from the inner surfaces, pulls out dirt and disinfects the cleaned ducts. The work shall be carried out from the roof through the ventilation duct stacks.