If you are replacing your air conditioning system, make sure that the unit is the proper size for your needs and that all ducts are sealed at the joints. A unit that is too big will cycle on and off frequently, resulting in poor moisture removal, particularly in areas with high humidity. Also make sure that your new system is designed to manage condensation effectively.
I guess I should present my credentials first, I am a 30 year veteran of the heating and cooling industry. I started at the bottom and have participated in every area of the trade. Installer, service, maint. Ownership, rep, territory manager and so on. A forced air duct system is a large vacume. Like your vacume it has an air intake (return air) and an exhaust (supply registers). A filter just like a vacume (located next to furnace or air handler). Now I want you to visualize something. Put your head inside your vacume cleaner and breath. Get the picture? This is what your duct work looks like. Do you clean your vacume when it’s dirty? If it’s full and the filter is dirty you lose performance and it starts poluting the air you breathe. It’s common sense. I recommend hiring a duct cleaning outfit that you have researched to be honest, background checked, drug tested, insured, and highly recommended by your piers in the area. The service is a necessity, but like everything, it should be done by a qualified company.
The original furnace was a coal fired “octopus” design which had no blower to circulate the air but relied upon warm air rising to distribute the heat. That also means that the system breathed air in from the basement and most of this type did not have a cold air return system. At some point (probably in the 1940’s) the system was upgraded to a forced air gas furnace. The upgrade included replacing the 12″ diameter air ducts exposed in the basement with 6″ ducts and a cold air return system of ducts from the two (only two) air returns on the first floor.
And if you have flex duct and/or fiberglass ductboard in your home- the last thing you want is a big brush or anything abrasive running through it. Even high-pressure air can erode ductboard so I wouldn’t clean it with anything. If it becomes contaminated, get rid of it and install real ductwork. If your ductwork is accessible in the basement – the best thing to do is take it down and manually clean it if it’s full of junk. It’s not going to cost a nickel more to do that than to pay $500-1000 for a ‘duct cleaning machine” AKA big blower and vacuum – to do the job.
I bought a Groupon for an air duct cleaning and deodorizing for $59. I read all of the fine print and it said "unlimited ducts." When they came to perform the service they said it would cost an additional $200 to cover the entire house. I ended up canceling the whole service and the guy who was there do to the work said he is leaving the company because of issues like this. He said 25% of their customers end up canceling when they arrive to do the service because of the dishonest advertising. Later the same day, the manager called me to discuss why I canceled the service. I told her the Groupon was dishonest and intentionally misleading and her response was, "I don't work on the advertising." I told her that as the manager she has some responsibility for what is advertised about the company and she said, "I just work here, I don't own the company." So apparently the management has no responsibilities at Best Air DC, perhaps that is part of the problem. I will never use them again and hope no one else does either. Save your money!
If you think duct cleaning might be a good idea for your home, but you are not sure, talk to a professional. The company that services your heating and cooling system may be a good source of advice. You may also want to contact professional duct cleaning service providers and ask them about the services they provide. Remember, they are trying to sell you a service, so ask questions and insist on complete and knowledgeable answers.
I had them out to clean the ducts, exhaust fans, and dryer vent in my 54 year-old home yesterday. They showed up a bit early and took their time to ensure that all the grunge was gone. I must say...they really earned their paycheck with this place! The father and son duo worked together to remove and clean the register covers, ream out the ducts and vents with a big furry brush/vacuum unit, and vacuum up the mess. They stated that I had the dirtiest ducts they had encountered in 15 years, and took over two hours to tidy them up, finding nails, copper pipe and assorted detritus and emptying the vacuum bag three times in the process. They were here over 2 1/2 hours, yet charged the fee they had quoted me on the phone, as promised. It was not the cheapest price I have seen, but it seemed fair to me.
It’s 11 years plus in the industry I have only had to sanitize two systems both were slab systems that were in concrete and could be cleaned with a different method than normal duct cleaning. We were able to use water to rinse out the disinfectant. Would you use a chemical on anything else you use to eat or drink with and not rinse it off? The ducts in your home should be thought of as your homes heart and lungs and breathe the same air that you do. And just like us we wouldn’t use bad chemicals in our lungs and heart.
So I purchased a Groupon to have this service done on my HVAC. I waited like 3 weeks or so since I was not using the heat or AC and I was in no hurry. So, on the day of my scheduled appointment which was 12noon I get a call from their office at 12:05pm that they are running late and they are 2 hours away...How did they manage to end up 2 hours from my house? Odd. Anyway, the girl tells me that they can't make the appointment today and will have to reschedule 30 days from now. What? 30 days from now? I was expecting perhaps tomorrow or the next day, not 30 days from now. This is extremely poor customer service and poor time management. Their leadership team should be reprimanded or replaced. I don't know how this company can stay in business when their business practices are so disorganized and they cannot even manage a schedule efficiently. I would NEVER recommend this company when they treat the customers so poorly. Their front office person should be retrained or fired since she does not have the skills needed to deal with customers. I would go so far as to fire their Office Manager or perhaps the Manager of this company. Well, at least they did not show up and provide poor service as it appears they did in the other customer reviews.
Air duct cleaning service providers may tell you that they need to apply a chemical biocide to the inside of your ducts to kill bacteria (germs) and fungi (mold), and prevent future biological growth. Some duct cleaning service providers may propose to introduce ozone to kill biological contaminants. Ozone is a highly reactive gas that is regulated in the outside air as a lung irritant. However, there remains considerable controversy over the necessity and wisdom of introducing chemical biocides or ozone into the duct work.
Here in Frisco, TX…just had a tech come out to clean vents. I used a 30 bucks groupon for “complete vent cleaning”. He told me I have 3 AC units and groupon covers only 1. I told him to do the unit upstairs where the kids sleep. He decided on his own to do the downstairs unit. I yelled at him why he is not doing the unit I told him to do! He said they are all connected. I will clean two for you for the price of one… Oh really?
I moved into a house built in 2003 last year, and spent a lot of time researching air filters because I realize air pollution inside the house is many times higher than outside, and my health and the health of children and youngers can be so adversely impacted by inhaling these indoor pollutants. I spent a lot of money on the best filters because here in northern Kentucky, I discovered I am allergic to something in the air starting in Spring that made me sick for 10 days - sort of a Upper Respiratory Illness. It never occurred to me the previous owner had never cleaned the air ducts, although he had both very young children, two dogs and a cat.
The bottom line is: no one knows. There are examples of ducts that have become badly contaminated with a variety of materials that may pose risks to your health. The duct system can serve as a means to distribute these contaminants throughout a home. In these cases, duct cleaning may make sense. However, a light amount of household dust in your air ducts is normal. Duct cleaning is not considered to be a necessary part of yearly maintenance of your heating and cooling system, which consists of regular cleaning of drain pans and heating and cooling coils, regular filter changes and yearly inspections of heating equipment. Research continues in an effort to evaluate the potential benefits of air duct cleaning.
I purchased a Groupon for cleaning of unlimited air ducts and one return vent for $39. I should have checked into their hours first because they only offer services during normal business hours. So, with no evenings or weekends available you have to take time off work. I asked Groupon for a refund when I realized this and they refused because it wasn’t within the three day window. Then they didn’t even show up or call for the appointment. I called them after they were an hour late and they were going to call the local dispatch office and have them call me back within 15 minutes. I did not receive that call. I called again and was told I would get a call back from a manager. That didn’t happen either. So I asked Groupon for a refund again and they gave me Groupon bucks. When the survey came asking if I was satisfied with the Groupon customer service I said no, I want real money. I got my real refund the next day. Seems to me Groupon should stop dealing with these companies.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), a government agency, conducted a study in the 1990s to investigate two claims: Duct cleaning makes indoor air healthier; and it reduces energy costs by improving airflow. After testing 33 homes in Montreal before and after duct cleaning, the study found that there was no significant improvement in air quality and that duct cleaning alone did not improve airflow or energy efficiency. In some cases, measured particle levels actually increased immediately after a cleaning. In other cases, particle levels decreased immediately after cleaning but returned to previous levels within weeks.