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Your system can be treated with a sealant. These sealants prevent dirt and dust from getting sent back into the air. Sanitizer chemicals can also be added to prevent the growth of mold and other allergens. This is a possible solution for saving on fewer A/C cleanings in the future.
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Check Standards: The NADCA provides guidelines for professionals and customers on safe duct cleaning. If your ducts are insulated, the professional should also follow the guidelines of the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA).
Equipment used to clean ducts varies widely. The cheaper the equipment used the more you are just wasting money. This is why it’s typically not worth doing. In some situations it may be beneficial, but only after determining and investigating the duct system. This should be done by a licensed HVAC contractor and not a duct cleaner that typically do not hold and HVAC license. (Duct cleaners aren’t required to be licensed in HVAC in many areas.)
I was very happy with their service. When they came, they were professional and did a great job. It ended up being a challenge for them to get behind my dryer but they were able to do it and they even cleaned up all the dust that was behind it. Will definitely call them again to clean and would highly recommend them.
If no one in your household suffers from allergies or unexplained symptoms or illnesses and if, after a visual inspection of the inside of the ducts, you see no indication that your air ducts are contaminated with large deposits of dust or mold (no musty odor or visible mold growth), having your air ducts cleaned is probably unnecessary. It is normal for the return registers to get dusty as dust-laden air is pulled through the grate. This does not indicate that your air ducts are contaminated with heavy deposits of dust or debris; the registers can be easily vacuumed or removed and cleaned.
Manufacturers of products marketed to coat and encapsulate duct surfaces claim that these sealants prevent dust and dirt particles inside air ducts from being released into the air. As with biocides, a sealant is often applied by spraying it into the operating duct system. Laboratory tests indicate that materials introduced in this manner tend not to completely coat the duct surface. Application of sealants may also affect the acoustical (noise) and fire retarding characteristics of fiber glass lined or constructed ducts and may invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty.
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Ultimately, the decision to clean air ducts comes down to a homeowner’s own judgment. “Look at your filter and see if it’s dirty,” Vinick says. “Take a look inside the return grills and supply ductwork and you’ll be able to tell if you have debris buildup.”
This is really well written & helpful. Just to make sure: so to clean your return register, you don’t need to shut the power off? I wouldn’t think so either, mine looks like yours, just a space under the hvac cabinet, no electric element seen. Thanks.
I live in a 1950’s ranch house in the South. The prior owners were smokers. Based on recommendations from one of the local conservation organizations, I decided to have a home energy audit done. As part of their findings, they recommended additional insulation in the attic and duct cleaning and sealing. This turned out to be a very problematic process. In terms of the ducts, it was necessary to remove the metal grates. However, these grates had been painted over many times and shoe molding covered the bottom of the grates. The vendor was not able to remove the grates without damaging them in the process. Because these grates dated back to the 1950’s, it was difficult to find appropriate replacements. The ones I finally discovered were correct except they were 1/4” wider. This meant that the shoe molding had to be carved out. The duct cleaner could not provide any assistance with this problem. It took me a month of long evenings replacing the vent covers myself, carefully chiseling out the shoe molding and repainting. In terms of the extra installation in the attic, the same vendor used blow in insulation. Unfortunately, they did not recognize that the 13 floodlights whose mounting extended into the attic were not designed to be buried under insulation. The problem manifested itself in terms of expensive flood light bulbs failing continually. So, I had to have all of the light housings replaced. Yet another unexpected expense. Despite the expense, pain and suffering, I cannot report any improvement in my heating costs or the “quality” of the air. To be fair, I do not have any allergies and did not undertake this for air quality improvements but rather heating efficiency improvements.
A thorough cleaning can yield long-term energy savings. Bob Baker and Ross Montgomery, who study air quality and energy efficiency for the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, say their research shows dirty coils and blowers in commercial buildings can cut efficiency by as much as 40 percent.
If the system is sealed air-tight and a really good filtering system is in place then you should NEVER have to clean your ductwork. Most dust people see in their homes (on beds furniture etc….) is broken down insulation that is being blown into the home from the attic (venturi effect) where the duct bucket (box etc…) is not sealed at the sheetrock ceiling. On the return side, ANY leaks in the ductwork will pull hot attic air and dust into the system, clogging up everything.
Pastor B – First, thank you for the kind words! The answer to the first 2 questions in a nutshell is yes. Running the fan however by itself is probably the better idea to dry the system a bit. That said, it isn’t a solution, just helps a bit. I would attempt to find the root of the problem and take care of that to end the issue. Adding things like air cleaner and UV light to the system can help long term with some of this but having the a/c coil cleaned and checked (the indoor evaporator coil) is a good start if you’ve not had that done before. If the smell is coming from the crawlspace and getting pulled into the air stream is the issue then sealing the ductwork with a mastic may also be a good measure and is something you can do yourself with a bucket of mastic, a paint brush, pair of rubber gloves and long sleeves….you don’t want to get it tangled up in your arm hair and such. It can be a difficult task to get out. 🙂 I hope this helps and thank you for reading!
Although i love to burn candles, depending on the type your asking for problems big ones! At work one day i had been talking with co workers about these black shadows that were appearing on my ceilings and higher wall areas. They seemed to in the corners and along the stud supports , i could even see what i thought to be where all had been nailed. There would be dark shadows perfectly straight across my ceiling and then real dark circels every few inches within the lines. I thought it was the propane heat but learned quickly that oil heat will do that but not normally propane. A co worker brought me a magazine with a huge article about candles and what actually burns off them when lit, an ashy soot that is attracted to the areas on walls and ceilings that omit the most heat or warmth, of course where the drywall and studs meet and corners of the room. Its been about 8 years since i painted the entire house. I started bending to my love for candles again in the last 3 years, surprise i will be spending part of my summer re painting again!! No more candles ,well maybe at the holidays LOL
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems have been shown to act as a collection source for a variety of contaminants that have the potential to affect health, such as mold, fungi, bacteria, and very small particles of dust. The removal of such contaminants from the HVAC system and home should be considered as one component in an overall plan to improve indoor air quality.
Note: Use of sealants to encapsulate the inside surfaces of ducts is a different practice than sealing duct air leaks. Sealing duct air leaks can help save energy on heating and cooling bills. For more information, see EPA’s Energy Star website.
Technicians were friendly, courteous, and professional. They removed or covered shoes before entering my home, they cleaned up after the job was completed, and answered my questions concerning future duct cleaning. Thank you.
Ok what you said is true but in most cases ducts are in a duct flex format, and knowing that the dust in people’s flex duct is just surface dust, any real debris that are in the duct itself will result in very little to no air flow which will keep your unit from performing properly, but if it is true allergy reasons then replacing your duct system is better for overall better air quality, plus if you do pay attention to the warranty on flexible duct is that it only has a 10 year warranty and typically only lasts for 20 years so do your research before having a duct cleaning, and to add one more thing if your duct work is completely metal and you can’t see visible insulation then your duct on the inside has insulation inside of it, if you replace that with duct work that is clean metal on the inside and wrapped with insulation on the outside then it will further reduce the air bourne fiberglass and dust.
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