Air Duct Cleaning

A Good Thing When Done Right

As our south Florida customers know, up until a few years a go we owned Absolute Environmental Air Duct Cleaning. I’m proud to say we were one of the most trusted and respected air duct cleaners in the tri-county area. Over the years we cleaned everything from 1 bedroom condos to pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities and hospitals.

I know you have seen the ads. I get them in the mail every week and to be honest, they really tick me off.

“Rid your home of dust, dust mites, bacteria, fungi and thousands of other microorganisms.”

“Save hundreds on your electric bill”

“Stop the flu before it stops you”

“Get rid of viruses and bacteria now”

The truth is air duct cleaning will not get “rid” of the thousands of microorganisms in your home. We do not live in a bubble. Also it will not drastically reduce your electric bill or keep you from getting colds or catching the flu.

A properly done air duct cleaning gets the “stuff” out of the duct work and ac unit that can cause health problems. That includes mold, pollen, dust, bug parts, pet dander and anything else in there that should not be there. However air duct cleaning won’t remove all the dust in your home or the germs that float in the air. It will remove some but you still have to dust, vacuum and take your vitamin C.

However we believe air duct cleaning is a very important part of keeping a cleaner and healthier home. Clean air is a good thing and very important for people who suffer from allergies and/or asthma. Your children and elderly family members are especially vulnerable to the effects of bad indoor air.

Think for a second, when was the last time you cleaned behind the fridge. Pretty nasty right. Now think about the duct work in the house, think how dirty it could be after 5, 10, 20 + years. It is true that over time, dust, pollen, mold, bug parts, lint build up inside your ductwork, making your duct system a rather unhealthy place and it is no longer providing you with cleanest air.

Now if your system is really bad it can become a serious breeding ground for mold spores, bacteria, fungus, mildew and other microbes. We cleaned some duct work that actually had mushrooms growing in them. When you turn your ac system on all this stuff is re-circulated through your home and could seriously impact the health and comfort of your family.

Some tell tale signs that you need to have your ducts cleaned

  • You notice a musty/moldy smell when you first walk in the house or when the system first kicks on.
  • Dirt on the air vents
  • Dust streaks on the ceiling or wall where the air blows from the vents.
  • Dust seems to build up faster
  • You start sneezing when you’re by an air vent.

We would have customer call us and say their ac company said air duct cleaning was bad for the system and a rip off. They were right and wrong.

If the cleaning is done by someone or some company that does not know what they are doing they really can screw up you ac system, the ductwork and make matters much worse.

However when it is done right it can make a huge difference in the quality of the air coming from your ac system and in your home or office. A good cleaning will remove the dirt, dust, mold, pollen and anything else that may be in the duct work and ac unit. A clean ac system is better for your health, will run more efficiently and may require less maintenance. Less dirt means cleaner coils which make the systems work easier
How do you find a qualified air duct cleaner in your area? Do your research! Ask a neighbor, check the yellow pages or go online.

Warning: Don’t fall prey to the companies advertising “whole house air duct cleaning, 29.00, 39.00 or even 49.00 ” You know a company can’t afford to send someone to your house, have them spend any amount of time doing anything that remotely resembles work and stay in business and only charge 29.00. I can almost promise you they will start trying to up sell you the moment they get in the door.

If they bring in a little machine on 4 wheels that looks like a big shop vac with a long hose with a brush on the end you will want to reconsider your choice of companies. We played with one and it was worthless for any duct work longer than 6 feet.

Look for a company that has been in business for a good while, is licensed and insured. Some states like Florida require them to have an AC mechanical license. I suggest you look for a company that its main business is air duct cleaning. It’s also good if they are members of NADCA (national air duct cleaning association) or IAQA (indoor air quality association). That means they have at least gone through some training.

Also make sure they are willing to stand behind their work. At Absolute Environmental we offered a 12 month warranty. Still not sure, ask for references.

Before they start the work they should walk with you around the house or business and look at all the vent openings and air handlers. The tech should turn on the system so both of you can confirm the unit is working correctly. They need to open the air handler and see what condition it is in including the blower motor and coils. You don’t want any surprises. There were times we had to tell the customer we would not clean their systems because it would actually cause them more problems. Some systems are too old or damaged to be cleaned. Sometimes it is best just to start over with a new system.

Make sure the air duct cleaning tech goes over how they are going to do the work and exactly how much it is going to cost. We always gave our customers a signed quote before any work was done.

Now there are 2 different methods of air duct cleaning, negative air flow source removal and direct contact source removal.

Negative air flow source removal just means they will hook a really big vacuum, may be a truck, truck mounted or portable, into the duct system to create a suction point. These vacuums will create suction anywhere from 2,000 CFM to 10,000 CFM. The hookups are usually at the air handler, plenum or vent opening.

Direct contact method does the same thing but they vacuum the surface of the duct work by hand. Inch by inch. We used this process in a lot of older condos with fiberglass duct work and in a lot of commercial buildings. Some commercial building have duct work you can crawl in.

Proper Steps:

  • First thing they should do is remove all the grills and wash them.

  • Then they send either an air wash or brush system through each vent opening to loosen the debris so it can be sucked into the vacuum. They should start at the furthest point from the vacuum and work towards it.

  • Once that is done they may or may not, we always did, fog a sanitizing agent into the system. We used a product called Oxine, chlorine dioxide that worked really will in killing any microbial growth that may still be on the surface.

  • Then depending on the condition of the air handler they will need to remove the blower motor and clean it. While it is out they will be able to thoroughly vacuum the insulation inside of the unit. Fog the unit with the Oxine.

  • If the coils are a little dirty they can be air washed if they are real dirty they need to be acid washed and that is another process in its self. Really bad ones have to be removed and washed and that is not cheap. A coil cleaning can run 275.00 to 450.00.

  • Once all is cleaned they will put everything back together and turn on the system. When done correctly a good cleaning will last you 3 to 5 years.

What does a cleaning cost? Some cleaning companies charge by the job, others the tonnage of the ac units or like we did, by the vent. Let’s say you have a 2,000 sq.ft house, you can expect to spend about 450.00 to 550.00.

Things you can do to make your cleaning last longer are keep a high quality ac filter in the unit and change it. If you’re doing any construction like drywall and tile work turn the unit off. The ac system can suck up the dust and ruin the unit and create a huge mess of the duct work. If you have to have it on, go to home depot or Lowe's and get extra pleated filters and cover the return grill with them.

As I mentioned earlier we believe in air duct cleaning at the allergy store. We know for a fact that air duct cleaning, when done right, will improve the indoor environment and that is great for allergy sufferers. When we owned the company we had countless number of customers call and tell how much better they felt or that the house smelled so much better.

If you are in the Dade, Broward or Palm Beach Florida area we recommend DuctMasters and Absolute Environmental to our customers. They both service most of South Florida including :


Miami Boca Raton
Plantation Pembroke Pines
Davie Delray Beach
Pompano Beach Lake Worth
Weston Hollywood
Aventura Jupiter


DuctMasters has been a premiere duct cleaning and AC service company in the tri-county area for 20 years. When we owned Absolute Environmental, if we lost a customer to Ductmasters we knew the job would be done right. Give Roger Herde a call at 954 791-4111 and tell him Mike sent you.


Absolute Environmental Air Duct Cleaning is still one of the best air duct cleaning company in south Florida. Give Wes or Lindsay Boyden a call at 954 472-3773

I hope I’ve given you information that will help you when it is time to get your duct work cleaned.


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