Airport Maintenance: From Surface Sanitation to the HVAC System

The Los Angeles Airport saw 87.5 million passengers pass through in 2018 making it one of the busiest airports in the United States. Keeping a facility this size clean is a complex and ongoing task. In addition to the seemingly endless visible space to clean and sanitize, the inner workings of the HVAC system cannot be ignored. So too, with the global spread of pandemics, high volume entry points are the front line for infection control.

Airports terminals are large buildings with complicated HVAC systems that include giant chillers, high-capacity cooling towers, and enormous air handlers. These systems run 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, and rarely see any downtime. With the near-constant operation, an airport HVAC system must undergo routine maintenance to prevent unplanned breakdowns.

When maintenance is deferred, vital aspects of the system, like cooling tower efficiency can plummet due to a build-up of scale and dirt. Even worse, cooling towers left unmaintained can promote the growth of harmful bacteria like Legionella, which in turn can expose untold passengers to life-threatening illnesses. When used as part of an overall maintenance program, Goodway’s line of cooling tower cleaning systems can help restore towers’ efficiency and help prevent the environment that promotes bacterial outbreaks. One product in the line, the TFC-200,  is a versatile, all-in-one cleaning system that can remove scale, clean dust, and debris, and sanitize cooling tower fill and internal surfaces. For scale deposit removal of tower fill, just load the TFC-200 with ScaleBreak® Gel Descaler, apply to the tower, and mineral deposits dissolve away. This hard-working low viscosity, acidic product, is formulated to adhere to and descale mineral deposits from cooling tower fill and restore the tower to an almost new condition, making an immediate impact on system performance. For disinfection of hard, non-porous surfaces, BioSpray®-Tower does the trick!

Cooling Towers, though vital to some systems, isn’t the only component that needs attention. Condenser and evaporator coils can become filled with a variety of dirt and debris, drastically increasing costs and promoting poor indoor air quality (IAQ). When it’s time for scheduled coil maintenance, technicians should reach for Goodway’s coil cleaning systems. The CC-100 and CoilPro® Jr. are battery-powered ultra-portable cleaners for accessing smaller air conditioning units. With these machines, technicians can clean smaller air conditioners as well as refrigerator and freezer coils. For the big air handlers, the wheel-mounted CoilPro® High Flow Coil Cleaner with CoilVac® has an output pressure of 300 or 600psi at 1.6 GPM. This unit provides the water pressure necessary to penetrate thick coil beds without damaging delicate fins or rupturing the coil. The integrated CoilVac® HEPA vacuum lets operators vacuum away the heaviest debris before wet cleaning.

Keeping IAQ high and HVAC systems running smoothly is essential to keep any facility and its occupants healthy. But what about the disease-causing pathogens occupants can bring to the facility? How many of the 87.5 million people traveling through the LA airport this year were sick with the flu, or worse – and sneezed on waiting area seats, coughed on hands that opened doors, or changed baby diapers on a ticket counter? Undoubtedly millions of sick people passed through the LA airport leaving behind germs, flu, and a host of potential illnesses on chairs, toilets, ticket counters, door handles phone chargers and vending machines.

Airports and airline partners need to aggressively manage infection control, from check-in to airplane surfaces, and onto baggage claims.  Utilizing the right sanitizers and disinfectants is as important as choosing the right technology to spray them. Water-based solutions can be great, and cost-effective, but can also cause massive damage to sensitive electronic equipment like scanners, ticket kiosks, metal detectors, and more. Alcohol solutions are great for those applications. It dries quickly and can be used on sensitive surfaces, but is not ideal for large coverage areas. So whats, the answer? Like anything else, you have to match the technology to the application. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.

For example, the BioSpray®-20 cleaning system filled with BioSpray®-D2 surface sanitizer is a cordless and portable cleaning system that never needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet. Without searching for a plug or tripping over cords, cleaners can reach far corners of the airport, from ticketing to gate area and beyond. The pressurized CO2 canister propels BioSpray-D2 liquid sanitizer killing germs and viruses in cracks and crevices and on the surfaces of door handles, chairs, tables, and more.

The same BioSpray®-D2 sanitizer used to kill cold and flu viruses in the gate area can be used in any restaurant or food processing facility including airline meal production facilities. BioSpray®-D2 can be used on food contact surfaces like utensils, conveyors, belts, meat slicers, and countertops, to combat Salmonella enterica, Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli 0157:H7. Plus, it is quick-drying and does not need to be rinsed.

Hundreds of millions of passengers travel through US airports every year. Along with their luggage, many of them bring along flu, colds, bacteria, or other viruses and leave those germs behind for other passengers to pick up. Facility managers and their staff have a critical role to play to keep the airport facilities, with all of the diversity of operations, clean, well-maintained, and safe. Goodway Technologies surface sanitation systems and HVAC equipment cleaning units are an essential weapon in the fight to keep our airports maintained and healthy for everyone who passes through them.

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