Virginia Ferris and Bill Bradford of Ductmate talk with a National Air Duct Cleaners Association convention attendee at the 2008 San Diego show.

In 1989, duct cleaning was not very common and little understood by the public and many HVAC industry professionals. Even those who practiced the new industry in the mid- and late 1980s seldom talked about anything more complex than “dirt” or “dust” - use of highly technical terms such as “biocides” and “microorganisms” would not come until much later.

But as anyone who has ever talked to a National Air Duct Cleaners Association member or attended one of its conventions knows, the group today is involved in some of the most sophisticated cleaning and restoration work in the HVAC industry.

NADCA will be looking back and forward during its 20th anniversary meeting, March 9-12 at the Caribe Royale resort in Orlando, Fla.

In an open letter to members published in the convention brochure, Terry Donohue, NADCA’s meeting chairman, called NADCA’s beginnings humble, but noted the association “has emerged as the global leader for the inspection, maintenance and restoration of HVAC systems.”

This year, the convention will include a special welcome from founding members and a poolside anniversary party. The day before the official opening of the convention, a number of certification courses and exams are planned, as well as forums for international members and about growing your HVAC cleaning company.

A trade show is planned March 10-11.

Here is list of some of the convention’s other scheduled sessions. Details are available by contacting NADCA, 1518 K St. N.W., Suite 503, Washington, DC 20005; call (202) 737-2926; fax (202) 347-8847; visit  www.nadca.comon the Internet.

Show schedule

On March 10, following the annual golf tournament and two air-systems cleaning specialist certification exams, these sessions are scheduled.

At 2 p.m. will be:

• “How to Break Into the Commercial Market,” hosted by Doug Groen of Vac System Industries. Groen says most NADCA members start out performing residential work, but eventually many want to move into the commercial market. But what does this market entail and what do you need to be a commercial duct cleaner?

Groen will explain what’s different about this market and what special skills are required.

• “Case Study: HVAC Troubleshooting.” Patrick O’Donnell of Enviro Team Group will talk about what to do when HVAC systems don’t deliver as promised. New techniques to troubleshoot problems will be offered.

At 4 p.m., “Orientation to ASHRAE/ACCA Standard 180P, ‘Standard Practice for Inspection and Maintenance of Commercial Building HVAC Systems,’” is planned. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ new rules, also endorsed by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, will be explained by BBJ Environmental’s Robert Baker. He serves as chairman of the committee that wrote the standard.

Baker will explain how the standard is to be used and how it can help NADCA members’ customers improve their systems’ performance.

A welcoming reception in the exhibit hall will follow.

Doug Haase was showing the Metu-Streimer line of duct components and accessories at NADCA’s 2008 trade show.

Celebrating history

The next day, March 11, will begin with an hour-long celebration of NADCA’s two decades of growth featuring past presidents and other key members.

Following at 9 a.m. will be the convention’s keynote presentation by Michael Wickett. He will talk about how to use all of your 18 billion brain cells to get the most out of your life.

The economy will be the focus of TD Bank chief economist Joel Naroff’s 2:30 p.m. speech, “The Economic Pulse: Assessment and Forecast.”

Unlike many other economic forecasters, Naroff will talk specifically about the issues most likely to affect the HVAC industry.

Naroff was the winner of the 2008 Lawrence R. Klein Award presented by Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business.

The evolution of NADCA and the HVAC industry in the last 20 years will be the topic of a 3:30 p.m. roundtable discussion, “Defining the HVAC Inspection, Maintenance and Restoration Industry.” Bill Benito of Connecticut Steam Cleaning Inc. will discuss inspection work opportunities. AAA Indoor Air Quality’s Buck Sheppard will talk about maintenance and Brad Kuhlmann from Midwest Duct Cleaning will talk about restoration opportunities. Panelists will invite other NADCA members to talk about their experiences during this 90-minute session.

Cleaning up

March 12 will have these sessions:

• “How to Determine Energy Savings From Coil Cleaning.” United Test & Balance Inc.’s Lance Rock and Lance Weaver of Lloyd’s Systems will explain how to predict energy savings in this 8 a.m. session. Knowing how much customers could save from having their coils cleaned could help contractors sell the service. Attendees of this session will learn how to calculate heat transfer rates before and after a cleaning.

• “Introduction: The New ACR Standard.” At 9 a.m., Bill Lundquist of Monster Vac Inc. will explain what’s likely to be included in the new version of NADCA’s assessment, cleaning and restoration standard.

• “Identifying, Accessing and Cleaning HVAC Components.” Matt Mongiello of Interior Maintenance Co. will lead this talk at 10:15 a.m. Since it’s so hard to find trained workers, Mongiello says many duct-cleaning companies end up training new hires themselves. This session is part of NADCA’s training program and will explain how to properly handle HVAC system maintenance.

•  “Carbon Monoxide Hazards in HVAC Maintenance.” Lundquist will also host this 11:15 a.m. session on what precautions HVAC professionals need to take to protect themselves and their customers from this poison.