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What to Look For in an Air Duct Cleaner
Air duct cleaning is a relatively new industry that has exploded in the 21st century as a $4 billion annual industry in the United States alone. While some people have embraced air duct cleaning as a beneficial service, others have criticized the service as a waste of time and money. Most likely, people who have different points of view for and against the service are right in one way or another on this issue, and in this article I will explain why I think both sides have interesting and very good points that we as a consumer should consider. In this article I will address the different air duct cleaning methods and explain what those methods are, I will explain the credentials so that you understand who the organizations are and who they represent, and finally I will address the common scams out there so that you as a consumer can avoid such. You can avoid falling for scams and increase your chances of getting good service right if you schedule an air duct cleaning service with a local service provider in the future.
The two most common methods of air duct cleaning are the “contact cleaning” method and the “power vacuum air wash” method of air duct cleaning. The contact cleaning method in air duct cleaning involves using shop vac style equipment to maintain constant contact between the vacuum hose and the duct work surface during the cleaning process. Generally speaking, companies that use this type of cleaning charge less for their services, because they know that they are limited in how much dirt, dust, and debris they can actually remove from the air ducts and generally in your home. 30 minutes to 1 hour service. An air duct cleaning service is usually of no benefit when this method of cleaning is performed, however, if the actual vent boots are full of construction debris or dog food or whatever and you don’t feel like cleaning the vent boots, it may be worth it and have them for you instead. Preferred to get cheaper service provider to work. Now, the power vacuum air wash method of air duct cleaning involves the use of expensive powerful equipment to allow technicians to deep clean the entire HVAC system. The vacuum hose is usually 8-12″ in diameter and is installed in the main trunk line to keep the entire air duct system under a deep and powerful vacuum.
No joke, every vent in the house will have a powerful vacuum pulling it out of every vent in the house, for a perfect negative air barrier, allowing no cross contamination of dirt discharges into your house during the cleaning process! Vacuum machines can be 220 volt HEPA rated negative air machines, gas powered or diesel powered to create a powerful enough vacuum to perform the service properly. Compressed air tools are used to air wash all dirt, dust and debris into the power vacuum hose installed in the main duct, trunk line. When the power vacuum air wash form of air duct cleaning is done correctly, the service usually takes 2-4 hours to service an average sized home. Reputable companies will clean all supply boots, adjacent supply branch lines, supply trunk lines, supply plenums, return boots, return channels, return trunk lines and return plenums, virtually 100% of the entire HVAC system.
It is imperative to clean the entire air duct system, because if there is any debris or contamination left in the system, that released debris and or contamination will recirculate to re-contaminate the air duct system as if nothing had been done. After the air duct cleaning is completed the furnace is restarted. A typical forced ventilation system is a circulation system that continuously blows air in and out while the furnace is running. Companies that are licensed for HVAC will also thoroughly clean the furnace and evaporator coil (often the indoor coil above the furnace).
The benefits of this cleaning method can be tremendous, such as increased air flow, increased HVAC system efficiency, reduced indoor dust, reduced odors from air ducts, and increased lifespan of HVAC parts such as surface igniters, blower motors, limit switches, and capacitors that get dirty over time. Eliminates dust and debris. A reputable company that pays their technicians well, maintains their tools and machinery, and has all the proper credentials with ACCA membership status, EPA certified technicians to handle refrigeration, and proper insurance will charge anywhere from $425.00-$1000.00 per HVAC system. Work about half a day to properly clean each HVAC system.
Prices also vary based on the different cost of living depending on where you live in the country and the different overhead costs charged by each company. Someone in Manhattan New York will cost around $1000.00 per HVAC system cleaned, while someone in Austin Texas will cost around $425.00 per HVAC system cleaned. The cost of living in Manhattan New York is much higher than Austin Texas, so air duct cleaning in Manhattan New York will logically cost more than Austin Texas.
Credentials are very important! Beware of companies with no credentials at all, as an experienced service provider can cause very expensive damage to your HVAC system if they don’t know what they’re doing, and you sure don’t want to be stuck. resulting in expensive repair bills. The best credentials a service provider can have is ACCA membership status.
The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) HVAC System Cleaning Standards is the only air duct cleaning standard recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ANSI is a prestigious international organization that creates rigorous standards to improve products and services for the betterment of consumers to ensure that the product or service is safe and effective. If an organization does not have ANSI accreditation, they lack the validity of their product or service in the HVAC, heating, ventilation and air conditioning field.
A prime example of this is NADCA, which stands for National Air Duct Cleaning Association. NADCA has created some good guidelines to follow for air duct cleaning procedures, however, they don’t require much HVAC technical knowledge to deliver the best procedures for cleaning your furnace or evaporator coil, which is at the heart of the entire air duct system. Often NADCA member companies are not licensed for HVAC, which increases your risk when hiring them to clean and HVAC systems. These important working components also need to be cleaned, which in my opinion means NADCA will leave you in the dust associated with HVAC system cleaning. A safer approach is to shop with ACCA member companies to ensure your HVAC system is properly cleaned by a licensed HVAC contractor or company rather than hiring an under trained carpet cleaner or air duct cleaner.
Air duct cleaning is a good service if it is done properly by an ACCA member company, however many companies have taken advantage of the good service many homeowners and building owners desire by offering a bait and switch strategy or blow and go air duct cleaning process. which causes the system to become corrupted after the service is completed. 9 times out of 10 you should discredit ads that have 10 vent lines cleaned Air Duct Cleaning starts at $59.00-$199.00. There are only two results from this type of ad either company “A” arrives for $79.00 and actually cleans 10 vent lines with a shop vac type machine and leaves your system contaminated within 1 hour or company “B” comes to clean 10. vent lines for $69.00 and their technician explained that the returns were very dirty and could be cleaned for $25.00 each.
Now your ticket is $144.00 with 3 return lines cleared. While the technician is still cleaning, he discovers that your trunk lines are very dirty and charges you $100.00 to clean the supply trunk line and another $100.00 to clean the return trunk line, which now makes the ticket $344.00. You’re done getting upsells, right? No, think again, because the technician explained to you that he had to cut the access to the ductwork to properly clean it, he now has to sell you cleaning doors to install so that all your air doesn’t escape. of the system, so he quotes you $75.00 for each clean out door to make the ticket $494.00 sold for an additional $150.00.
It would be great if the job was done right, however the guy is in your house with a shop vac type machine, which means he got $494.00 from you to keep your HVAC system dirty. After the air duct cleaning service is done and he leaves, you notice dust blowing out of all the vents as the furnace cycles, as it has kicked up a lot of dust during the air duct cleaning, as the shop has vac style machinery. Effective in performing a thorough air duct cleaning service. You can call a reputable company that is an ACCA member company that can use the most powerful equipment in the industry and give you an “up front” price quote in the same ball park as the bait and switch company that ultimately outed you. , to complete the work completely and correctly. If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. Buyer beware, these bait and switch tactics have been around for years, and usually the companies that follow these pricing structures leave most of the dirt, dust, and debris in their ventilation systems that they are paid handsomely for by customers. Clean up.
When shopping for a service provider that offers air duct cleaning as a service, make sure they are an ACCA member company, tell you they are licensed for HVAC, and check their record with the BBB. If they have some grievances, that’s fine, as long as all grievances are resolved. You are aware that 5 complaints have all been resolved expeditiously and 112 complaints remain unresolved. These contractors and companies deal with the general public, which means they deal with different personalities and characters from different walks of life every day. It is almost impossible for a company to do enough to keep a perfect record with the BBB. Usually companies that are small and do not have a lot of jobs are the only companies that get a good score with the BBB. None the less, BBB is still a good reference, however, to protect yourself from scam companies and if you are not sure about all reputable companies it is wise to refer companies there.
The conclusion of this article is that if a company is licensed for HVAC, uses the most powerful air duct cleaning machinery in the industry, performs air duct cleaning using the power vacuum air wash method, and has a good reputation with the BBB and other reporting organizations, then in most cases air duct cleaning is more Done well and correctly, you can experience positive results such as increased air flow from vents, reduced odors from vents, increased HVAC system efficiency, and increased furnace and air flow. Conditioning is part of life.
Author: Mike Menke Managing Member of Lucky Duct, LLC. Lucky Duct, LLC is a full service licensed heating and air conditioning company operating in Denver Colorado. Visit www.luckyduct.net to find out more information and facts about air duct cleaning. Enter the “Air Duct” page to find content related to air duct cleaning.
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