Guide on sanitation


We have always heard about the ordinary cleaning operations of the air conditioner but, especially in recent years, characterized by the COVID-19 pandemic, the term “sanitize”, associated with air cooling systems, has established itself in the common jargon.

To deepen the topic, let us start from the meaning of the terms:

Disinfection concerns the complex of procedures and operations aimed at making certain confined environments and pertinent areas healthy, through the destruction or inactivation of pathogenic microorganisms.

Sanitation is the set of procedures and operations aimed at making certain environments healthy, through

  • cleaning and / or disinfection and / or disinfestation
  • the control and improvement of the microclimate conditions with regard to temperature, humidity and ventilation, or with regard to lighting and noise.

With “Cleaning” we mean the set of procedures and operations designed to remove dust, unwanted material or dirt from surfaces, objects, confined spaces and areas of relevance.

cleaning the air conditioner

For cleaning operations, it is not necessary to consult companies with special technical-professional requirements, as, on the other hand, it is necessary to do for sanitization activities.

Sanitation, concerning a “set of procedures and operations aimed at making certain environments healthy”, is not applicable to plants.

Therefore, the operations that the installer carries out on the air ducts refer to the ordinary maintenance of the aeraulic plant complex.


Based on the qualifications held by service centres and installers, it is not possible to talk about sanitation, but it is always advisable to talk about cleaning, sanitation and disinfection.

The installer can certainly adopt all the criteria for cleaning filters, fireproof closures, spout, etc., but cannot declare the latter “sanitized”.

If the installer wants to “sanitize”, that is to reduce the bacterial load inside the ducts and certify their activity, he should necessarily contact a specialized company.

Remember that sanitation does not imply disinfection and disinfection is not bound to the use of Medical Surgical Devices, but rather products that have an active ingredient capable of eliminating / reducing pathogenic microorganisms, even if MSDs are recommended.

When the cleaning activity is, on the other hand, intended as routine maintenance of the system, therefore attributable to the installer, a simple cleaning company cannot take care of it.

This operation would involve the disassembly and reassembly of an air conditioning system (to clean it in depth) and only a maintenance technician could do it, otherwise:

– there would be a risk of tampering,
– the guarantee would expire
– but above all, the system could be damaged and its safety compromised.


Because among the main modes of contagion from COVID-19, there is infection through droplets (that originate from the acts of breathing, speaking, coughing and sneezing), which travel in the air and can deposit on objects or surfaces, which therefore, they become a source of spread of the virus.

Indoor air quality and microclimate can be key factors in the transmission of infections in closed environments, which is why are necessary:

  • Adequate and periodic ventilation
  • Regular air exchange
cleaning operations during Covid

It goes without saying that the correct management of the air conditioning and ventilation system must be adequate for:

  • Characteristics of the system
  • Operating conditions
  • How to use the rooms

Through this, it is possible to understand the level of risk and make the most appropriate intervention decisions.


It is advisable to schedule periodic cleaning of the fan coil recirculation air filters every four weeks, based on the manufacturer’s instructions, with the system stopped.

Cleaning the filters, checking the heat exchange coil and condensation trays can help make buildings safer by reducing the transmission of diseases, including the SARS-COV-2 virus.

The cleaning procedure suggests to avoid using and spraying cleaning products (spray detergents / disinfectants) directly on the filter, in order not to inhale pollutants during operation. It is good to pay particular attention to the use of these sprays, especially in the case of personnel with respiratory problems, eg. asthmatics.

The ventilation outlets and grilles must be cleaned with cloths moistened with soap and water, or with a 70% ethyl alcohol solution.

Where possible, in these environments, windows and balconies should be regularly opened.


The ideal product should meet a whole series of essential requirements which can be summarized in:

  • Fast and persistent action
  • Biocidal activity with a broad spectrum of action
  • Absence of contraindications for man / environment / materials to be treated under normal conditions of use
  • Ease of application

It will therefore be necessary to choose the most suitable product from time to time.

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