Diamond Certified Companies are Rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise.

  • Why this rating is the most accurate.
  • Our editors gather deep company info.
  • Performance is Guaranteed.

Diamond certified companies are top rated and guaranteed

Why Trust Diamond Certified Air Duct Cleaning Companies Rated Highest in Quality?

An air duct cleaning contractor removes dust and debris.

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose an air duct cleaning company that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified air duct cleaning contractor. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated air duct cleaning company and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you’ll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

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John Honey is president of Bragg Plumbing & Heating, a Diamond Certified company since 2013. He can be reached at (415) 702-0907 or by email.

John Honey

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

John Honey: A Tangible Transition

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Program Reporter

NOVATO — After more than two decades in the tech industry, John Honey was ready to transition from the virtual world to something more hands-on. “I was in the sales and marketing side of the high-tech field, working for Fortune 500 companies, and eventually I decided to get out and become an independent business owner,” he explains. “While looking for a business to purchase, I came across Bragg Plumbing and Heating, and it seemed like a good fit. Besides having a fair amount of business knowledge, I had done a lot of plumbing work in my home, so the industry wasn’t totally foreign to me. After taking over the company in 2003, I got my licenses in plumbing and HVAC, as well as my general contractor’s license.”

Today, John says he appreciates the palpable nature of his second career. “I like the fact that what I’m doing now is very tangible and hands-on, as opposed to the tech industry, where everything is very abstract. Fixing a problem with a router just isn’t as satisfying as fixing a leaky pipe or a broken faucet. I really enjoy the simplicity of seeing the results of my work and making a concrete difference in someone’s day.”

Raised in Oakland, John now lives in San Rafael with his wife, Jane, where he enjoys the many attributes the Bay Area is known for. “Besides the rich diversity and vibrant culture, the Bay Area is a very economically viable place to own a business. Plus, since I’m an avid tennis player, I appreciate the good weather.”

In regard to his professional career, John espouses the importance of transparency in business. “To me, transparency means being honest about your intentions and doing what you say you’re going to do,” he explains. “We’re very open about how we do things here, so our customers understand up front what to expect, without any misrepresentation.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, John says he’d volunteer his time to be a resource for younger generations. “I’d like to be a mentor to young people and share some of the knowledge I’ve acquired over my 59 years, whether in regard to business or just general life skills. Of course, I’d also spend some more time playing tennis.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Talk radio or music?
A: Music.

Q: Do you have a favorite band or musician?
A: Burt Bacharach.

Q: Do you have a favorite local restaurant?
A: Servino Ristorante in Tiburon.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Edamame beans.

Q: Do you have a favorite newspaper comic strip?
A: Bizarro.

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Hiring the Right Duct Cleaning Technician


NOVATO — Unlike many contracted home maintenance services, air duct cleaning is unregulated, which means it doesn’t require a special license to perform. For this reason, a common misconception is that any service provider can do just as good a… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Who should I Hire to Clean My Air Ducts?

Complete Video Transcription:

NOVATO — Host, Sarah Rutan: Since air duct cleaning isn’t a regulated industry, you should be selective about who you hire to perform this service.… Read more




  • Carrier

  • Rheem

  • Trane

  • Rotobrush

  • Sorbo

  • Kohler

  • Moen

  • Delta

  • Grohe

commercial air ducts
HVAC air ducts
air vent ducts
residential air ducts (home air ducts)
dryer vents
air conditioning ducts
heating ducts

air duct inspection
Rotobrush cleaning services
air duct maintenance
air duct filtration system installation
ductwork vacuuming
air duct decontamination
biocide application
air duct mold removal
microbial decontamination
electrostatic air filter installation

Bel Marin Keys
Belvedere Tiburon
Black Point
Corte Madera
Dillon Beach
Forest Knolls
Kent Woodlands
Lucas Valley
Marin City
Mill Valley
Mission Rafael
Muir Beach
Muir Woods
Point Reyes Station
San Anselmo
San Geronimo
San Marin
San Quentin
San Rafael
Santa Venetia
Sleepy Hollow
Stinson Beach
Strawberry Point
Tamalpais Valley
Terra Linda


Bay Area SMACNA (www.bayareasmacna.org/)
Contractors State License Board (CSLB) (www.cslb.ca.gov/)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (epa.gov/)

National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) (www.nadca.com)
North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA) (www.naima.org)
Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) (www.smacna.org/)

Know What You Want
Things to Consider Before Hiring an Air Duct Cleaning Service

Before you decide on an air duct cleaning company, it’s a good idea to get what you want straight in your mind. No matter where you are looking in Marin County, whether in San Anselmo, San Rafael, Mill Valley, Larkspur, or Novato, you want to be prepared. Going into the search, there are a few things to think about. Asking yourself the following questions may help you prepare to hire the best air duct cleaner.

  1. Do I want a Diamond Certified company thatis rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?
  2. Can I easily access my heating/cooling system components or will I expect the air duct cleaning team to have to create access?
  3. What are my ducts made of? Sheet metal or sheet metal lined with fiberglass? Flexduct? Fiberglass board?
  4. Is it important to me that my Marin air duct cleaner be associated with NADCA?
  5. Is my heating/cooling system working properly before the cleaning?
  6. Do I want chemicals used in my air duct cleaning?
  7. Do I want a Marin County air duct cleaning service that will protect my family, my house, and my pets during the cleaning process?
  8. Am I looking for an air duct santizing service that offers a realistic assessment of my house and air duct vacuuming needs?
  9. Do I want to make sure my air duct cleaning company is licensed as an HVAC contractor?
  10. Do I see mold on my ductwork or smell a moldy smell?
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What To Ask In Person
Questions to Ask Marin County Air Duct Cleaning Companies in Person

You and your Marin County air duct cleaning company representative will most likely meet in person when the representative comes to your home to do an estimate. A visual estimate is the best way for the company to know what is actually involved with your home. Some air duct sanitation companies may have you describe your system over the phone, in which case, the more you know about it, the better. But speaking in person with someone who will perform the estimate for your house is one of the best ways to get insight intothe process.

  1. How many air duct cleaning company employees do you think the job will take?
  2. How long do you think the air duct cleaning services will take?
  3. Will you use vacuum cleaners in the house that don’t vent outside? If so, are they HEPA filtered?
  4. Do you see fiberglass used in my heating/cooling system? How will you clean it?
  5. Do you see any places where you may have to open up access to my ductwork or heating/cooling system?
  6. If you do need to open access points, how will you make sure they are sealed after the air duct cleaning?
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  • What To Ask References
    Ask Previous Customers About Their Experiences with Local Air Duct Cleaning Services

    It’s best to choose a Diamond Certified air duct cleaner because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can’t pass. If you want quality from an air duct cleaner in Marin County and the greater Bay Area, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified company. Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified companies. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews. That’s because all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.

    If you can’t find a Diamond Certified air duct cleaner within reach, you’ll have to do some research on your own. If you do, it’s wise to call some references provided by your air duct cleaner. Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by the air duct cleaner are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. In fact, many air duct cleaning contractors in Marin County and the Bay Area likely give out customers references that they know are satisfied.

    If you do call references on your own, specifically ask for a list of the company’s 10 most recent customers. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only customers they know were satisfied.

    1. Did the cleaners respect your house and leave it clean after the air duct cleaning was completed?
    2. Was there any damage to your heating/cooling system as a result of the air duct cleaning?
    3. Did you have any chemicals applied to clean your air ducting system?
    4. Did the air duct cleaning company recommend any chemicals for killing mold and bacteria?
    5. Did you get a written estimate for the air duct sweeping?
    6. Was the quoted price what you paid? Or did they tack on fees?
    7. Was your entire system cleaned or did they just blow some air through the ducts only?
    8. Was the crew pleasant and easy to work with?
    9. Did the air duct cleaning team help you inspect the work after they cleaned?
    10. Were you satisfied with the air duct cleaning provided? Why or why not?
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  • Review Your Options
    Find and Hire a Good Air Duct Cleaning Service in Marin County

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    Consider the following questions before deciding on the best air duct cleaning in Marin County for you.

    1. Is the air duct cleaning company acting professionally, giving a valid, written estimate of the cost of the job?
    2. Are the air duct cleaning technicians performing the job certified by NADCA?
    3. Does the air duct cleaning company act in accordance with the best ethics, reviewing the site for possible asbestos?
    4. Is the air duct cleaning company concerned with keeping your family, pets, and house safe during and after the cleaning?
    5. Does the air duct cleaning company have the appropriate equipment to perform the job safely, especially HEPA filters on any vacuums that exhaust into the building?
    6. Does the air duct cleaning company ask the right questions about the composition of your duct system and explain how they will handle fiberglass materials?
    7. Does the air duct cleaning company recommend the use of chemicals? If so, can they clearly explain the value of doing so?
    8. Does the air duct cleaning company help you inspect the job after it is complete?
    9. Is the air duct cleaning company licensed and affiliated with NADCA?
    10. Is the air duct cleaning company dedicated to do a complete job, cleaning all components of the system or are they just going to blow some air through just the ducts?
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  • How To Work With
    In Anticipation of Hiring a Marin County Air Duct Cleaning Company

    Before you decide to hire a Marin County air duct cleaning company, whether you are looking in San Anselmo, San Rafael, Larkspur, Mill Valley, or Novato, do some background checking. Know what kind of heating or cooling system you use. Is it a furnace and air conditioner or do you use a heat pump? Examine your ductwork. Is it made of bare metal pipes? Or are the pipes lined with fiberglass? Does your system also include fiberglass duct board or flexduct? If you cannot tell, ask for help.

    Look for areas where there are large amounts of dirt that may clog the system, look for signs of mold, and look for signs of animal or insect infestation. Consider access to your system – make sure the cleaners can get to it. Be aware of areas where the air duct cleaners may have to create access.

    You’ve Found Your Marin County Air Duct Cleaner

    Once you’ve settled on a Marin County air duct cleaning company that you are going to go with, whether you are in San Rafael, Novato, Larkspur, Mill Valley, or San Anselmo, you need to ask them for a solid,

    written estimate. Ask any questions you have about how they will clean your heating/cooling system. If the issue of using chemicals comes up, ask to see the labels and make sure the chemical is used for the purpose and in the manner described on the label. Work with your air duct cleaner to protect your furniture and floors, as agreed. If chemicals are used, it’s wisest to clear all occupants of the house, including pets, during the application.

    To Make the Job Easier for Your Marin County Air Duct Cleaning Company

    A small amount of preparation on your part can make the job easier. Know as much about your heating/cooling system as possible, so you can indicate what you want cleaned. Know the materials used in your system so you can make the appropriate decision, for example, knowing that you should not try to fix wet, moldy, or smelly fiberglass material, but should replace it. Decide with the air duct cleaning company who is responsible for covering and protecting the furniture and floors.

    How will they be protected? Do your part as agreed. Speak with your air duct cleaning representative about where new access might need to be added. Be clear that you expect any additional access to be sealed after the cleaning. Clarity about expectations prevents frustration on both sides. If you cannot be on site during the cleaning, make sure the air duct cleaning company can contact you for any questions. Let the air duct cleaning company know at the start of the appointment that you would like to use their inspection tools to check after the cleaning is done.

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  • Be a Good Customer
    How Can You Be a Good Air Duct Cleaning Customer?

    It’s the air duct cleaner’s responsibility to perform quality cleaning on your air duct system. But you play a big part in the success of your air duct cleaner, too. Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a Marin County air duct cleaner.

    • Be clear and upfront with the air duct cleaner. Let them know what you want from your air duct cleaning, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
    • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way!
    • Before you hire an air duct cleaner in Marin County, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the air duct cleaning representative your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local aid duct cleaners occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
    • Ask your air duct cleaner if you should call to check on the progress or if he will call you with updates.
    • Be sure your air duct cleaning service representative has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while they’re cleaning your air ducts. The work will move along more smoothly if your air duct cleaner can reach you for any necessary updates, questions or work authorizations.
    • When your air duct cleaning contractor contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the air duct cleaning on schedule.
    • Pay for the air duct cleaning work promptly.

    Why would you want to be a good customer? Air duct cleaners in Marin County appreciate customers who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

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Check The Work
How Do I Decide If My Marin County Air Duct Cleaner Did a Good Job?

When it comes to evaluating your Marin County air duct cleaning company, whether in San Anselmo, San Rafael, Larkspur, Mill Valley, or Novato, you can visually inspect the system. If something in particular led you to wanting your air ducts clean, check on it to see if it is resolved. Peer down the ducts to see if you can see dust or particles. A good air duct cleaning company will often lend you the same tools they use to inspect, so that you can see the job is well done. Many ducts today include fiberglass board, flexduct, or metal pipes lined with fiberglass. If you have fiberglass, make sure there are no rips or tears in the fiberglass. Look for mold or mold stains. Mold should be cleaned from metal pipes, and fiberglass material that had mold should be removed.

Before the cleaning begins, make a checklist of all the components that you expected to be cleaned – from the registers, to the plenums, to the blower motor, to the evaporator coil. Ask the air duct cleaning company if each component on the list has been cleaned, and ask for explanations if they have not been cleaned. You should be able to shine a flashlight on the evaporator coil and see the light shine through to the other side. If the air duct cleaner had to make any access openings, they should be shut after the inspection and properly sealed. Finally, you should test that the system works after the cleaning – in both heating and cooling modes, if you have both.

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Written Warranties
Checking Work Against Invoice and Asking for Warranties

Your main goal is to ensure that the entire system is cleaned, not just some ducts. You may have prepared your personal checklist of the pieces to be cleaned. Try to get this checklist as part of the invoice. If not, go through the checklist to make sure all the pieces of the system were cleaned as you anticipated.

Be sure to ask your air duct cleaning company about warranties. Many provide services with a guarantee of customer satisfaction. Ask what the warranty covers and what the process is for making a claim against the warranty. Ask about the procedure for compensation if the heating/cooling system is damaged during cleaning.

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Top 10 Requests
Top Requests for Air Duct Cleaning Services in Marin County

Air duct cleaning should be performed by professionals ready to do the full job. You need to make sure that all the components of your heating and cooling system are cleaned properly. These are not really separate service requests, but points that should be covered by any proper air duct cleaning service as part of the standard air duct cleaning.

Clean and Reset System Components
There are supply registers, return air grilles, and diffusers that are spread throughout your house as part of the heating and cooling system. These should all be removed, cleaned, and returned to their places during the air duct cleaning.

Clean Plenums
The plenums are boxes that attach the devices that heat or cool the air to the rest of the ductwork that spreads through the house. Both the return and supply air plenums need to be cleaned, and you should make sure the supply plenum in particular does not have moisture built up.

Seal Air Duct Access Panels
Sometimes, your air duct cleaning professional will need to cut access panels to get at parts of the system to cool it. You should make sure the access panels are properly sealed after the cleaning.

Heat Exchanger Cleaning
Both the air-stream side of the heat exchanger and the secondary heat exchanger must be cleaned.

Remove, Clean, and Reinstall Air Duct Blower Motor
The blower motor should be removed and cleaned, along with its housing and assembly. The blades must not have oil or other dust, nor should the blower compartment as a whole.

Clean Evaporator
The evaporator coil, pan, and drain must be cleaned. You should be able to point a flashlight at the coil and have the light shine through. If not, the coil is not clean.

Replace Air Filter
The dirty air filters should be removed and their replacements should match the efficiency rating recommended by the heating or cooling system’s manufacturer.

Wash Air Cleaners
The air cleaner should also be washed as part of the air duct cleaning.

Clean Supply Ductwork
Make sure that the ductwork that send the air supply to the rooms in your house is cleaned.

Clean Return Ductwork
Check after the cleaning that the return ductwork, which sends air back to the heating or cooling device is clean.

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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Terms for Air Duct Cleaning Customers

When you want to know if your air ducts are going to be cleaned properly, you need to be able to discuss your system with your HVAC expert. Below are some terms that may help you be more comfortable with the conversation.

advanced reciprocating compressor
Kind of compressor used for improved efficiency when compression refrigerant for cooling.

air handler
In the heating and cooling systems for your house, the part that sends the air through the ductwork.

British thermal unit
Measure of heat. One BTU is roughly equivalent to the amount of heat that a wooden kitchen match gives off.

Also known as: BTU

annual fuel utilization efficiency
A rating on a furnace that indicates how efficiently the furnace uses fuel to make heat. Reported as a percentage. An AFUE of 90% indicates that 90% of fuel is producing heat, while 10% is leaving as exhaust due to combustion.

Also known as: AFUE

A measurement that shows the number of cubic feet of air that flow by a single point in sixty seconds. Higher numbers indicate greater air flow.

Also known as: cubic feet per minute

Refers to a system’s ability to affect a specified amount of space. Heating capacity is usually described in BTUs, while cooling capacity is usually described in tons.

carbon monoxide
A gas created by combusting carbon-based fuels when there is not sufficient air. It is highly dangerous, while being odorless.

A part of a heating or cooling system that determines how much pressure is put on the refrigerant. It is typically part of the outside unit.

condenser coil
The condenser coil is the part of a heating or cooling system that returns refrigerant from a gas to a liquid. Changing the state from gas to liquid extracts the heat. It is typically part of the outside unit.

Unit of measurement for noise.

Also known as: dB, decibels

A damper is part of duct work. It can open or shut to allow or cut off airflow.

Refers to a kind of furnace that moves cool air from the top and sends warm air to the bottom. Often used when a furnace is placed on the second floor.

Pipes that send air from a system’s air handler to the vents located throughout the house.

Also known as: ducts

A calculation that determines how efficient a device’s energy use is. The formula is to divide the device’s BTU by its wattage.

Also known as: energy efficiency ratings

electronic air cleaner
A kind of filter, it can remove large particles and contaminants from the air. For smaller particles, it magnetizes viruses, bacteria, and other tiny particles, then attracts them to a collection surface.

Also known as: EAC

energy saver switch
Makes an air conditioner’s fan and compressor switch on and off in sync, so that less energy is used.

Energy Star
A government program to label devices that offer better energy use than others in their category. This allows consumers to save on energy costs.

evaporator coil
Part of the indoor system for the heating or cooling system, it changes the state of the refrigerant from liquid to gas or vice versa, thus removing heat and humidity from the air.

Also known as: indoor coil

fan coil
A fan coil may be used instead of the furnace and evaporator coil. The fan coil is also an indoor part of the system, and it changes the state of the refrigerant from liquid to gas or vice versa to remove heat and humidity.

A type of filter used to prevent particles from re-entering the surrounding space.

Also known as: high efficiency particle air

Measurement used to describe how efficient a heat pump is. A higher number indicates more efficiency.

Also known as: heating seasonal performance factor

The acronym for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.

heat exchanger
A part of a furnace that moves heat to the surrounding air.

heat pump
A heat pump moves heat and cold in and out of the house. When used in cooling mode, it performs like an air conditioner to remove heat from the house. In heating mode, it uses heat from the outside to warm the house.

horizontal flow
A kind of furnace that takes air in one side and send it out warmer on the other side. Installed on its side, it is often the type used for attics or crawl spaces.

Also known as: horizontal heater

phantom load
The electricity that a device uses when it is plugged in and not turned on.

The plenum is sheet-metal box that allow more ductwork to connect to either the furnace outlet or the air handler outlet.

split system
A split system may be a heat pump or air conditioner. The components are installed in two locations, usually inside and outside.

two-stage compressor
A compressor that can operate at two different levels. When properly sized, the device operates 80% of the time at its low level, and 20% of its time at its high level. By operating at the lower level most of the time, the device improves efficiency and reduces humidity level and operational noise.

A furnace type. It pulls cool air in at the bottom and exhausts warmed air out the top. Often used in a basement installation.

A device that gets heating or cooling energy from the indoors air and moves that energy to incoming air.

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Frequently Asked Questions
Marin County Air Duct Cleaning FAQ

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 who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only air duct cleaners rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporationalso 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.

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

A: Air duct sanitization companies that offer very low prices for the whole house should be avoided. The rate is almost always simply a teaser, designed to get the unwary to sign up. The customer can then be hit with endless charges that drive the price up. In 1996, the EPA estimated air duct cleaning charges at between $450 and $1000.

Q: Does it matter whether the 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 that 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 and it is 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 that mold does not take hold. This is one major source of mold.

Q: My air duct cleaning company showed me mold from my duct. I never noticed it. 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 anti-microbial 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 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 and sanitization?

A: Air duct cleaners estimate that a clean lasts three to seven years, depending on who lives in the house, heating/cooling usage, the local climate, and the like. 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 build up. 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, or other wise clean them. 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.

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