The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) was officially established in the 1980s. It was during that decade that the profession of air duct cleaning came under fire, and the need for a national association to unify duct cleaners became apparent.

Scott Simpson of Simpson Power Vac in Omaha, NE, was one of the original 13 members that started NADCA. He has served as a board member for the association and was also treasurer. Simpson explains that in the early and even mid-1980s, the profession of air duct cleaning was starting to be seen as a sham. And although the profession had been around since the 1940s, Simpson says that even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not recognize air duct cleaning as beneficial.

Simpson admits that during the 1980s some air duct cleaners were not properly trained.

“People were doing shoddy work,” said Simpson. He also said that some air duct cleaners were leaving ducts just as dirty when they finished as when they started.

He explains that, in most cases, workers were not doing inadequate work in order to defraud customers, but because they had been improperly trained.

One faulty method of cleaning being used by companies was a method known as encapsulation. Instead of using complete source removal methods, some air duct cleaners sprayed a glue-like substance into the ducts causing contaminants to adhere to the ductwork. This method caused complaints from the public and the air duct cleaning business as a whole started to feel the effects.

“We wanted to get everyone together to start networking and make everything more professional,” said Simpson about the birth of NADCA.

The original 13 members, all ventilation cleaning contractors, met in Kansas City, MO, in 1989, and discussed their options. According to the organization, all of the contractors agreed that the number-one goal was education. At the time, there were no standards for air duct cleaning or certification and educational programs.

NADCA would build on its humble beginnings to achieve several of its goals and garner increasing support. According to Simpson, in the first year of establishing NADCA, close to 100 members joined.

One year after its formation, NADCA held its first annual meeting and exhibition. This annual meeting has grown into a three-day event that brings together over 90 equipment suppliers and over 600 hvac cleaning professionals.

Within its first few years, NADCA developed and passed standards that had been missing throughout the 1980s. More recently, NADCA started its first certification program. The organization has also created public outreach programs to educate consumers and it has also partnered with the EPA on specific research projects.

The organization that started with 13 members now boasts a current roster of 550 members.

Publication date: 04/30/2001