Technical Corner: Do you have an effective HVAC Hygiene program in place?

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Most end users seldom look inside their HVAC air handler. Why?

In some cases the unit is out of the way, and hard to get to. However, in many cases the user is just plain afraid to open up the access door to look in. One home owner even told me that he was afraid he would damage something if he opened the door, or see lots of moving equipment he might get entangled in.

The facts are there is only one moving part within the air handler that might pose a threat and that is the fan and fan belt. Over the past decades though, few units have exposed fans, as even these are enclosed and out of the way. Like any equipment though, shut off the unit before opening.

Looking into the air handler on occasion is a good idea. In this case, what you don’t see can effect you.

First, keep in mind that all of the air you breathe in passes through the air handler unit, whether you are at home or at work in a building. HVAC air handlers, big and small in size, have mold fungus and bacteria actively living, and dying, within them. These microorganisms thrive in the damp and dark interior environment of an air handler, amplifying and growing to occupy an increasing amount of space.

Bacteria and fungus grows on top of interior insulation, and within the insulation where it is difficult if not impossible to remove. Water from the condensation on coils provides vital moisture for growth, resulting in a biological “soup” of all kinds of bacteria. Often, growth gets so bad it partially plugs up drain lines or plugs them up entirely. At that point, water overflows.

Fungus and bacteria grow on and within cooling coils as well. Some of the spores and fungus are physically removed by passing air and travel into occupied room areas where they can be breathed in. Furthermore, bacteria and fungus are the primary source of odors coming out of the air handler.

So, could a program to keep the insides of your air handler clean be beneficial? Yes, it definitely would be helpful. I have yet to find one person who states he would rather breath in air passed over bacteria and fungus than not.

CRT’s easy, work-free program can achieve interior air handler cleanliness without maintenance attention. See our website at or check out our sustainability solutions to keep your unit running for years to come at

lynn1Lynn Burkhart is the founder and president of Controlled Release Technologies, Inc. located in Shelby, North Carolina. More information about the company, and its products, can be found at and by calling (800) 766-9057.

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