Air Duct Cleaning Services FAQs

by admin

Do you have a lot of questions about hiring air duct cleaning services? You’re not alone. Below, we answer several commonly asked questions about air duct cleaning, as well as hiring and working with a professional.


Q: Should I call a company that is offering a $99 per house special?

A: Companies that offer very low prices for the whole house should be avoided. The rate is simply a teaser that’s designed to get the unwary to sign up. The customer will then be hit with endless charges that drive the price up. You should know that in 1996, the EPA estimated air duct cleaning charges at between $450 and $1,000.


Q: Does it matter whether the air duct cleaning company uses a truck-mounted or portable vacuum?

A: When the air duct cleaning is done according to NADCA standards, either a portable or a truck-mounted vacuum can perform adequately. While a truck-mounted vacuum is usually more powerful, a portable vacuum may be able to be brought closer to the job itself. For all portable and handheld vacuums that exhaust into the house, it’s important to be sure they use HEPA filters.


Q: Why does it matter what my ducts are made of?

A: Fiberglass is present in much of modern ductwork, whether in the shape of fiberglass duct board, fiberglass lining for ducts or flexduct. Older ductwork may be bare sheet metal. The distinction is important for several reasons. First, cleaning is performed by using a brush or other tool to loosen particles, which are then vacuumed up. The bristles on the brush must be soft when used with fiberglass, so the fiberglass is not damaged. The air duct cleaning company must also be careful about using other tools instead of brushes—blowguns, air whips and the like may not be appropriate for use with fiberglass. Secondly, once fiberglass is damaged by mold or water, it is recommended to replace it rather than trying to fix or remediate it.


Q: Why is there mold on my ductwork?

A: Mold typically comes from damp that is allowed to linger. Damp can be a problem with a heating/cooling system if the coil is not properly drained. The coil is at the heart of the system—it’s where refrigerant is changed from liquid to gas or vice versa. Changing the state of the refrigerant can remove humidity and heat or can bring heat in. The liquid/gas conversation can have condensation as a by-product. This condensation must drain properly so mold does not take hold. This is one major source of mold.


Q: My air duct cleaning company showed me mold from my duct that I never noticed. Are they right?

A: Some air duct cleaning companies will claim that you have mold in your ducts. You should ask for proof. The company may put a petri dish or similar collection device into the duct and then give you the resulting substance as proof that mold is present. Actually, no one can tell if mold is present visually. You should take the substance to a lab and get it tested to be sure it is actually mold.


Q: My air duct cleaning company wants to put a sealant in my ducts. Should I let them?

A: First, ask what the sealant is designed to do. Some sealants are offered with the claim that they will reduce the movement of dust and particles in the ductwork. You should not accept these sealants. First, the sealant will probably be applied by being sprayed into the duct. You cannot guarantee that the sealant will cover the entire surface properly. Secondly, for ducts with fiberglass, the sealant may harm their ability to resist fire and provide better acoustics. The sealant might even void the fiberglass manufacturer’s warranty. Other types of sealants, such as sealants to mend fiberglass or for fire resistance, might be appropriate for use. Ask what the purpose of the sealant is, how it will affect your warranties and how you will know that it is working.


Q: My air duct cleaner wants to spray some antimicrobial chemicals in my ductwork. Is that OK?

A: You should approach the use of chemicals in your air ducts very carefully. Sometimes, air duct cleaning companies recommend chemicals to fight bacteria or mold. First, you have to consider how you or your family members might react to the chemical. Second, you should ask to see the chemical’s label. You should make sure the chemical is being used for one of the purposes identified on the label—otherwise, it should not be used. You should also check how the label says the chemical should be applied. If the chemical cannot be applied as directed on the label, it should not be used. For example, if a water rinse is required, it cannot be used in ductwork because water should not be introduced. With caution, chemicals approved for it may be used on bare sheet metal surfaces. There are no chemicals approved for use on fiberglass or flexduct, or any fiberglass material. If these materials have mold, they should be replaced.

Rather than using chemicals at all, you should search for the source of the problem and try to eliminate it. For example, mold can be eliminated if it is caused by poor condensation drainage if you fix the way the condensation is draining.


Q: What can I do to prolong the life of my air duct cleaning?

A: Air duct cleaning companies estimate that a clean lasts three to seven years, depending on who lives in the house, heating/cooling usage and the local climate. Your best way to preserve a clean heating/cooling system is to prevent dirt and water from entering. Make sure the draining in the system is handled correctly. Change air filters annually (at the same time, it’s good to do carbon monoxide testing). Make sure that you are not missing filters, and that the filter holders do not allow air to pass around the filter. Vacuum the house regularly to prevent dirt buildup. If you have a major renovation project in the house, seal off the registers and don’t run the system until you have cleaned up after the project. Make sure ducts are sealed and insulated unless they are in air conditioned spaces.


Q: I can see dust on the vents where air flows in my house. Do I need air duct cleaning?

A: You may see dust on the registers, or grilles, where air flows into and out of your heating/cooling system. This does not automatically mean that you should get your air ducts cleaned. You can easily vacuum the grilles clean. It is normal for the grilles to accumulate dust over time. Look for large buildups of dust in the vents themselves to determine if you need an air duct cleaning because of dust.


Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified air duct cleaner?

A: Diamond Certified helps you choose an air duct cleaner with confidence by offering a list of top rated local companies that have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only air duct cleaners rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise® earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified air duct cleaner.