When we project manager Darin Gerdes of Interior Design Concepts Restoration Division called us to perform HVAC duct cleaning and remediation in the town of Detroit, Oregon, we knew we’d be in for an experience.

What we saw as we approached ground zero — the black skeletons of the trees, forlorn chimneys looming over ash-covered ground, the charred remains of cars littering the streets and parking lots — we were mentally and emotionally stopped in our tracks.

Wildfires are a double-edged sword. An article written by writer and geoscientist Kate S. Zazal in EARTH magazine says it best:

wildfire smoke and ol' Glory

"For hundreds of millions of years, wildfires have shaped the planet, from the plants, animals and ecosystems around us to the air we breathe. Yet scientists are only beginning to understand fire’s history, especially how it has both influenced and been influenced by the atmosphere, plant evolution and changing climates through geologic history.”

Although the air was clear of fires and smoke at the job site, the stifling, pungent odor of smoke was overpowering.

The homes that remained, some of them shockingly untouched by the flames amid the ash-strewn, neighboring lots, needed a thorough cleaning and smoke restoration process.

As we addressed the HVAC ductwork, we removed substantial amounts of soot, and then polished the ducts to preexisting condition.

Over the past decade, the demand for duct cleaning has skyrocketed. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought even more interest in duct cleaning as a service. The seasonal wildfires on the west coast add another layer to that, and they are expected to only get worse.

Now suddenly duct cleaning has escalated from being a “good idea” to “essential” for the health and wellness of HVAC systems and building occupants where communities saw smoke reach their homes.

For this reason and more, it is important for HVAC contractors to investigate and anticipate the services their communities will need in the future and why.

If you’re a HVAC contractor in the California, Oregon or Washington, duct cleaning needs to be a part of your company’s services. Ask yourself, what will your community need tomorrow?