Cleaning chemicals supplier O3 Chemicals has developed two cleaning chemicals specifically for heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) equipment, the first of which is called Smart Air, and the second Smart Finish.
The chemicals are designed to remove mould and bacteria without having to use any water at all.
“When it comes to air handling units (AHUs), we have also developed two cleaning chemicals. The first is O3 Green, for general purpose cleaning, and the second is O3 Alkaline D, which is a degreaser that can be used on any unit servicing cooking operations, as it has been designated as food-safe chemicals,” says O3 Chemicals CEO Michael Blow.
These chemicals can also be diluted up to 15 times, he adds.
“The idea is to make sure that the coils are clean all year. Previously, the consensus was that you could clean a coil once a year and use an acidic-based chemical, which needs to be washed off – usually with large amounts of water.”
Blow recommends that HVACR equipment and AHU users clean their equipment by applying cleaning chemicals using a compressor, as this reduces cleaning time and allows for measuring the exact quantity of chemicals.
The company has been developing the method of applying cleaning chemicals using a compressor this year.
“With normal compressors, sometimes you would set the compressor at 8 bar, and as you clean the HVACR equipment, the compressor progressively goes down to 2 bar. With the new compressors, we’re using a Trade Air compressor, which can be set at 1 bar for cleaning HVACR equipment and it will remain at 1 bar. You can set it at 5 bar for use on AHUs and they stay at that pressure as long as necessary.”
Blow says using a compressor provides many benefits when cleaning HVACR equipment.
Firstly, cleaning HVACR equipment generally requires removing a barrel fan inside the equipment, which is supported by clips on both sides of the fan, which can be time consuming and result in damage to the clips attached to the fan or the fan itself.
Applying cleaning chemicals with a compressor, however, allows for cleaning the barrel fan without removing it from the equipment, which saves time and prevents potential damage to equipment.
This method can also enable technicians to clean the HVACR equipment without removing the evaporator from its place on a wall.
Blow emphasises that using a compressor – and the company’s supply of hygienic cleaning chemicals – also allows for more efficient use of cleaning chemicals and reduces the amount of water required for HVACR cleaning, as technicians would often have to rinse the acid-based cleaning chemicals off the HVACR equipment with water.
Such water use is, however, not required when using the company’s chemicals.
Acid-based chemicals can also damage the coating on coils that are cleaned in HVACR equipment, he adds.
The company is also providing an information technology (IT) system that enables facility managers and property owners to track their HVACR cleaning activities, whether these are done in-house or by a contractor.
“We started off using this system as a pilot programme for investment company Old Mutual in 2016 at the Cavendish Square shopping facility, in Cape Town, and now they use the programme through all their shopping malls in South Africa. The system is designed to help owners and facilities managers control and monitor that their cleaning programmes are being done cost effectively and efficiently.”
Blow says this system assists property owners who appoint facility management companies, which, in turn, appoint contractors based on contracts with service-level agreements (SLAs).
Previously, facility management companies would have no way of measuring the work done by contractors to meet SLAs, as there would be no data provided on these processes, he notes.
“We implement the system and create the site using databases and Web front-ends that one can access on a mobile device. We import all the assets that we’re tracking against the SLAs between the facilities manager and contractor. We would then generate quick response (QR) codes and tag all the assets with these codes.”
O3 Chemicals would then train the contractor on how to use the system and tag assets that require cleaning using QR codes.
Further, the pilot programme has since been expanded to a management programme for an HVACR contractor, which Blow confirms is now being used by a major contractor in South Africa.
“We’re positioning ourselves as a cleaning consultancy that can sell solutions and provide advice on how to solve HVACR cleaning challenges,” he concludes.