Coil Cleaners – Check for the caustic warning signs

Coil Cleaners – Check for the caustic warning signs

There’s a trend afoot here. Not a new one, and certainly not one that we’ve not heard of. It’s a trend in safer, smarter and more ecologically friendly cleaning chemicals used in everything from the home to industrial applications.

Caustics are dangerous

Caustics are dangerous to staff, ruin equipment and harm the environment.

This just makes sense. Pollution of our ground water is a problem here and now and more than likely has impacted your local community. Additionally, worker safety is something that is paramount, to us here at SpeedClean, and I’m sure to your small business. Workers compensation claims and insurance are sometimes crippling expenses to the backbone of the country, small business.

So, how does this impact coil cleaning chemicals? Well, for years (and even in many minds today) coil cleaning chemicals meant one thing. Cans of caustic, acid based cleaner design to “eat away” dirt an grime. Well, that’s not all they eat. Highly caustic, corrosive and highly toxic, these cleaners make fins shine like the top of the Chrysler building, but eat away at coils, fin beds and more.

Now I know this might be a secret so I’ll be quiet. Some contractors like the fact that they eat away the metal in condenser and evaporator units. Why? Well, because they will be the one a home owner or business calls to replace it. Call it “forced” early retirement of the coils. I want to be clear though, this scenario is not shared by the vast majority of HVAC contractors, but I’ve heard it a few times.

This post though is about doing the right thing. Clean water regulations are around and cover industrial water waste. They also cover residential water waste, but are way less enforceable. We have an opportunity as HVAC professionals and manufacturers to impact how the use of chemicals for coil cleaning impacts the environment around us, so here’s some tips.

  1. Choose an alkaline coil cleaner. This eliminates the acid that can be really nasty.
  2. Carefully read the label. Make sure it says “non corrosive”. While it could be Alkaline, there are also other ingredients that can burn skin, eyes, lungs and more. Be safer!
  3. Use a sprayer or coil cleaning system. Cans are usually used once and tossed. Bottles and sprayers can be used multiple times and recycled.
  4. Better yet, use a coil cleaning system that includes water with the cleaner. This dilution goes a long way to a safer dispersant of residual chemicals

These tips, while not all encompassing, can have a material impact on the environment around us and the safety of you and your co-workers. Carefully consider this. We know that coil cleaning tends to be lower on the contractor radar, relegated most times to preventative maintenance schedules, however it can be vitally important to system efficiency and – as you read – the world around us.

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