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