Bragg Plumbing & Heating Industry Info

(415) 702-0907

John Honey is president of Bragg Plumbing & Heating.
If you own your home, don’t forget about the importance of periodically cleaning your air ducts.

Heating and air conditioning systems play prominent roles in any home, so keeping ducts clean is crucial for maintaining indoor air quality. Many different kinds of businesses offer duct cleaning as a service, from carpet cleaners to mold remediation contractors. The reason is simple: Unlike many aspects of home maintenance that are regulated by municipal codes and standards, duct cleaning doesn’t require a contractor’s license to perform. Unfortunately, this lack of regulation means many companies that offer duct cleaning don’t possess adequate knowledge or high standards of performance.

“Your duct system is an extension of your furnace and air conditioning system, so it’s best to have a licensed HVAC contractor handle the cleaning,” says John Honey, president of Bragg Plumbing & Heating in Novato. “An inexperienced company may simply clean the ducts and be on their way, but an HVAC contractor is familiar with the entire apparatus and will take a holistic approach to the service, offering expert solutions in addition to performing the cleaning.”

The serious nature of duct cleaning is reflected in the standards set by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), which detail the specifics of the service and how it should be performed. One fundamental aspect of the NADCA guidelines that inexperienced companies tend to neglect is a thorough inspection of the HVAC system prior to performing the cleaning service. An inspection should preempt every service, as damaged, worn-out or malfunctioning system components will continue to be a problem even if the system is clean. A licensed HVAC contractor that follows the NADCA guidelines will examine the system before cleaning it and inform the homeowner of any potential problems.

According to NADCA guidelines, the cleaning process begins with putting the entire duct system under negative pressure, which creates a sealed suction that collects all dust and debris into a common containing unit. While negative pressure clears a lot of the dust on its own, additional cleaning is needed to thoroughly dislodge the debris that collects within the ductwork. Other steps include removing and cleaning system components like supply registers, return air grilles, and diffusers, as well as dismantling, cleaning and reinstalling the workings of the system’s blower section. As Mr. Honey says, in addition to proper methodology, duct cleaning should also be performed with patience and thoroughness. “You can’t rush the job—you have to allocate the right amount of time to ensure it’s done thoroughly and to standard.”