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Ann Allergy. 1993 Dec;71(6):548-56.

Effect of heating-ventilation-air conditioning system sanitation on airborne fungal populations in residential environments.

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Mycotech Biological, Inc., Jewett, Texas.


Commercial air duct sanitation services are advertised to the public as being effective in reducing indoor aeroallergen levels despite the absence of published supporting data. Eight residential heat-ventilation-air conditioning (HVAC) systems in six homes and seven HVAC systems in five homes in winter and summer, respectively, were sampled to determine fungal colony forming units (CFUs) prior to and after an HVAC sanitation procedure was performed by a local company. Two houses in which no sanitation procedure was performed served as controls in each study phase. Two sample sets were obtained at each HVAC system prior to cleaning in order to determine baseline CFU levels. The test HVAC systems were then cleaned, and the HVAC systems allowed to operate as desired by the residents. Posttreatment sampling was performed 48 hours and then weekly after cleaning for 8 weeks. The HVAC systems were analyzed by exposing sterile 2% malt extract media plates at a 90-degree angle to the air flow at the air supply and air return vents. The baseline CFUs were similar in the control and study houses. Eight weeks after sanitation, the study houses demonstrated an overall CFU reduction of 92% during winter and 84% during summer. No reduction in CFU values was observed over the 8-week study period for the houses selected as controls. Further, HVAC sanitation appeared to reduce the number of fungal colonies entering and leaving the HVAC system, suggesting that the HVAC contained a significant percentage of the total fungal load in these homes. These data suggest that HVAC sanitation may be an effective tool in reducing airborne fungal populations in residential environments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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