Why and when to do it, and how to know if you’ve chosen the right service provider
Your heating and air conditioning system should do more than simply maintain your home at the desired temperature that keeps your family comfortable year round; it should also keep the air you breathe in your home clean and safe. A key component to that is having clean duct work. Ducts are the passageways that connect your HVAC units to the registers in each room of your home. Over time, dust particles and other airborne contaminants can collect inside the duct work, reducing its effectiveness for delivering high-quality air throughout your home.
Here are the top 5 most common reasons to consider cleaning your duct work:
- If you have pets in the home.
- If people living in the home suffer from allergies or respiratory issues.
- If there are smokers in the home.
- If there has been water damage to the home or HVAC system, such as flooding.
- If you have undergone renovation or remodeling (think large, dusty projects).
We’ve discussed the topic of duct cleaning on a few occasions and even outlined the steps that energetic DIYers can take when it comes to cleaning a home’s duct work. Read that blog and you’ll see it’s a sizeable job that needs to be done right to realize the full range of health and performance benefits possible. We aren’t going to reinvent the “why and how you should clean duct work” wheel in this article, instead we are going to concentrate on the WHAT you should expect from your professional HVAC service provider before, during, and after duct cleaning.
These steps are taken automatically with the skilled, licensed, and bonded professionals at One Hour Heating and Air, but they aren’t with all companies. We want all customers, ours or not, to be informed.
BEFORE the duct cleaning:
- Ask the service provider to show you the condition of the ducts and the amount of dust, debris, or other contaminants. You should see the before and after condition of your ducts.
- Ask for a detailed procedure plan and how the provider will protect your pets, family, property, and home from any possible contamination.
- Be wary of companies that claim to hold a certification from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA does not endorse, certify, or approve duct cleaning services.
- Ask the service provider to explain what types of cleaners (read: chemicals) will be used and any potential chemical risks.
- Ask for and check customer references. (One Hour Heating and Air offers many customer reviews online and can provide area-specific customer references. We also invite all prospective customers to check our rating with the Better Business Bureau).
- If a service provider says you have mold, ask to see the areas of concern and if they offer lab testing of a sample to confirm it is mold (as some dirt and debris can resemble mold, but is not mold).
- If you have (fiberglass?) insulated air ducts and any part of that duct work has become wet or moldy, it cannot simply be cleaned, it must be replaced.
- Get a comprehensive job estimate up front that includes details about the work to be done, the time frame required, and the full price including anticipated taxes and fees.
DURING the duct cleaning:
Here is how One Hour Heating and Air experts approach duct work cleaning; use this as a checklist to compare us apples to apples to other vendors. If they are not meeting these standards, your ducts will not be as clean and effective as they should be.
- All access ports and doors are opened to allow for a thorough cleaning to the entire system. New access points are carefully created, if needed.
- We inspect the whole system to ensure that there is no dangerous asbestos material. If any is found, we will deploy an added layer of special procedures to complete the job safely for everyone. Asbestos should only be handled and removed by trained experts with proper equipment.
- We will use a vacuum system that deposits dust, dirt, and other contaminants outside the home or we use high-efficiency particle air (HEPA) equipment if exhaust must occur inside the home.
- We will cover and protect all carpet and household furnishings during cleaning.
- We carefully brush all duct surfaces to dislodge dust, dirt, and debris to maximize vacuuming effectiveness
- We use only soft-bristled brushes for fiberglass duct board and sheet metal ducts that are lined with fiberglass.
- We can also soft-bristle brush flex duct, but sometimes it can cost less to replace accessible flex duct.
- We seal and reinsulate any small tears or holes or access points (made during service) to ensure the duct work is airtight when the job is done.
AFTER the duct cleaning:
Here is what you should look for when your service provider is finished. Now, we realize to get to this point you will have hired someone and the work will be complete. Use the following as a keyword guide to search for HVAC vendors that hit these industry benchmarks. Your One Hour Heating and Air technician will be well-versed in these areas, however, we always advocate customers doing due diligence before any service, especially duct cleaning, is booked.
- The entire heating and cooling system is VISIBLY clean; along with duct work, registers, plenums, drain pans, humidifiers, coils, and fans. (NOTE: Plenum is any space where supply or return air passes through, this can be duct, joist, attic, crawlspace, or wall cavity.)
- The heat exchanger is visibly clean.
- The cooling coil is visibly clean; light passes through the cooling coil to the other side (the technician can test this with an everyday flashlight).
- Coil fins are straight, not bent, and evenly spaced.
- Coil drain pan is visibly clean and drains properly.
- Metal: Interior duct work surfaces are visibly clean. This can be ascertained by viewing several random sites along the return and supply ends of the ducts.
- Fiberglass: Any and all fiberglass is in good working order, free of tears, scratches or holes.
ACCESS DOORS, REGISTERS, DIFFUSERS:
- Any new access doors, registers, grilles, and diffusers are visibly clean and installed with mastic tape (access doors), screws, or other proper attachment materials (not duct tape).
- There are no air leaks detected around the access doors when the system is running.
- System functions properly in both heating and cooling modes
Duct cleaning is a big job and it needs to be done properly by trained professionals with the experience, equipment, availability, and dependability to maximize the air quality and HVAC system performance in your home.
We’ll put our service up against the competition any day. At One Hour Heating and Air, we’ve been serving your neighbors in Charlotte and the surrounding areas, including Indian Trail, Concord, and Mooresville for decades.
Our affordable financing programs can match any budget to a high-performance, top-quality comfort system. If your system is relatively new, but needs a seasonal inspection and tune-up, our highly skilled technicians are standing by for all your central air needs. If we need to do a repair, we’ll waive the trip fee!
Visit www.onehourAC.com for our weekly and monthly specials. Call our 24/7 customer service line today 704-251-0610.