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Biofilm in HVAC Systems: What It Is and How to Get Rid of It

Biofilm is a type of microbial growth which is composed of microorganisms that form a slimy coating. Biofilm can grow on the surfaces of HVAC systems. In this blog, HVAC contractor Hader takes a closer look at what biofilm is and how to get rid of it.

How Does Biofilm Form?

Biofilm forms on nearly any surface with sufficient moisture, including areas exposed to high humidity levels. As a colony of microorganisms, biofilm incorporates the abilities of every type of microorganism it absorbs. This means it can develop resistance to various household cleaning solutions, from the water-and-vinegar solution that’s usually effective on molds to commercial antibacterial cleaners. Over time, biofilm can grow and spread to other surfaces.

HVAC ducts and components such as evaporator coils and condensate pans are hospitable to biofilm. Though manufacturers have taken measures to apply antimicrobial coatings to these components, biofilm can develop a resistance to them over time.How to Remove Biofilm

Biofilm thrives in shaded areas, which means it has a tendency to get overlooked. We’ve established that it grows in moist areas, so the aforementioned evaporator coils and condensate pans as well as your HVAC ductwork should be inspected. It’s important to attack biofilm early on while it’s still be susceptible to detergent or other cleaning agents. Other solutions such as exposure to antimicrobial UV lamps will work as well, though the equipment may be costly. Scrubbing surfaces can help remove biofilm; however, you have to be careful not to damage sensitive components like the thin aluminum fins on the evaporator coils.

Not all cleaning products work on biofilm. When buying products, choose the ones that have one or more of the following words or phrases on the label: “fungistatic,” “bacteriostatic,” and “inhibits bacteria/fungi/algae”. Cleaning ductwork will require special equipment, therefore you may need to hire professional duct cleaning and sealing services.Call Hader for All Your HVAC Needs

Hader is your leading provider of HVAC services, including duct sealing. Give us a call at (513) 612-9201 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.

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