Tough economies are a lot like naturally occurring brush fires. The devastation clears a lot of dead wood, making room for new growth. That’s not much consolation for the dead wood - but you might want to keep your eyes peeled for signs of new life.

John Rotche, Ductz founder and president, shows where contaminants are entered into the training home’s ductwork.


Tough economies are a lot like naturally occurring brush fires. The devastation clears a lot of dead wood, making room for new growth. That’s not much consolation for the dead wood - but you might want to keep your eyes peeled for signs of new life.

For instance, current economic trends are renewing interest in the IAQ/duct-cleaning market, which has been neglected by far too many HVAC contractors. It has even sprouted a relatively new segment: HVAC restoration, which one company estimates is a $75 billion industry.

According to long-time duct-cleaning market specialist Tom Yacobellis, some associations, like the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) and the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), have created system restoration standards that offer performance- and results-based guidelines for performing this work.

There is a real need for this work, he said, beyond repair and renovation required due to smoke or other environmental damages (which the standards also address). “Restoration is the missing field from the HVAC industry,” he said. Many unmaintained systems are too young to replace, but their condition is beyond the capability of normal maintenance to restore.

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