Over the past several weeks, Fort Lee residents living in Monroe Manor have received notices saying their home is scheduled for heating, ventilation and cooling system cleaning. The project was originally scheduled for completion in July, but like so many other things, COVID-19 and necessary health protection measures pushed that date down the road until now.

“Of the 283 homes in Monroe Manor, 45 have been completed to date over the last 12 months, and the rest are scheduled to be completed by December,” elaborated Al Williams, Fort Lee Housing Division chief. “We have completed three of our seven communities, with 339 homes to go in Washington Grove and Adams Chase communities that will be scheduled in 2022 and beyond. Ongoing Jackson Circle housing renovations will take care of those HVAC systems.

“This is preventative maintenance based on the age of the homes,” Williams further explained. “Cleaning the HVAC systems now will assist in identifying any concerns in a home.”

The National Air Duct Cleaners Association has been contracted to perform the work. According to information found on the organization’s website, duct pipe cleaning is a big part of the work to be performed, but system coils, drain pans, heat exchangers and air filters will get a thorough going-over as well.

The website further noted there are two key components to HVAC cleaning – breaking contaminants loose and collecting those to keep them from settling in the house. As a necessary health and safety measure, residents are required to leave their homes during the four-hour process, and they will be notified at least 14 days before their cleaning date.

Sanitized and furnished hospitality suites – located in Fort Lee Family Housing and equipped with cable and internet service – are available for the residents while the work is performed. For those families conducting virtual schooling, access to the hospitality suite will be provided an hour before school starts to allow for connectivity and setup. Water and snacks also will be provided for the family’s short stay.

Williams noted that while they are trying to avoid inconveniencing residents as much as possible, rescheduling is strongly discouraged. “With a 14-day notification requirement to schedule the cleaning and over 230 homes remaining, we have to move forward efficiently to meet the December 2020 contract deadline. Therefore, rescheduling will be done only if it’s an emergency situation.”

According to a memo sent to Monroe Manor residents from Garrison Commander Col. Karin L. Watson, this preventative maintenance work on the entire HVAC system is critical for long-term performance of their home’s system.

“Coupled with quarterly maintenance and filter changes, we anticipate high performance by your HVAC system for years to come,” she said.

“We recognize that this necessary work can be an inconvenient disruption to daily life. Please know we are doing everything possible to reduce the burdens imposed upon you due to this project, which will result in a clean air system for your home to ensure a safe and healthy environment.”