Is some symptom leading you to want an air duct cleaning? Is there mold growing on your air ducts or the smell of mold when you turn on the furnace? Do you suffer from asthma or allergies and find yourself having a difficult time breathing in your house? Do you have many pets with lots of fur and dander flying? Before going for an air duct cleaning, you’ll have cleaned your house and consulted with your doctor for any health concerns. It may be time to consider an air duct cleaning. Air duct cleaning cleans your heating and/or cooling system – from the coils to the ductwork that runs throughout your home to the registers and grilles that send air to and from the heating or cooling mechanism.
If you live in Sonoma County, whether you live in Windsor, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, or Healdsburg, no doubt your home has been bombarded with coupons. No matter where you are looking, you want to be sure you are getting a complete cleaning from a qualified firm, and coupons may not be the best guide. Use the information below to help you decide on the best air duct cleaning company for you.
What About All Those Offers for Air Duct Cleaning in Sonoma County?
You want your home in Sonoma County, whether you live in Santa Rosa, Windsor, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Healdsburg, or Sebastopol, Cotati, or Guerneville, to be clean and healthy. You’ve heard about concerns about indoor air quality. You know that pollutants can build up to greater concentrations indoors than in the outdoors. If you have asthma sufferers or allergies, or have lots of pets, you may be even more aware of air quality. Will an air duct cleaning help resolve the problems? Logically, air duct cleaning can make sense because air ducts and your heating/cooling system send air through your home. Air may have dust or other particles in it, and those particles may accumulate over time. So it makes sense to clean the system once in a while, if you decide to. But don’t listen to impractical claims that air duct cleaning provides huge health benefits. The research simply isn’t there to back up the claims
There are some definite indications that a system needs cleaning. Any heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system that shows signs of mold should definitely be cleaned. (You should also search for the sources that allowed the wet in to start the mold, since it will mold again until you address the root cause.) You should have your ducts cleaned if there are rodent or insect infestations. And if you can see that dust or other material is clogging the ducts or dust actually spits out the registers, air duct cleaning makes sense.
Maybe you cannot be sure that you have a real problem that needs a cleaning. One place to look for help is the company that installed your heating/cooling system. They may be able to help you understand how securely sealed your system is to prevent contaminants from entering, and where possible contamination could enter. You can, of course, also ask an air duct cleaning company. The air duct cleaning company of course wants to sell you something, but a professional firm should be able to provide recommendations.
Extremely low prices on some advertising flyer are signals that something is wrong. If you look at the all the elements that must be cleaned in a complete service, you will see that it is no small job. In addition, the company has to pay for the equipment, including the vacuum systems. Often, you will find advertisements for a teaser rate, then the company piles on charges so that you end up with a big bill. Avoid working with companies tease like this. As far back as 1996, the EPA estimated that a good air duct cleaning job costs between $450 and $1,000. Look for an air duct cleaning company that will provide a reasonable estimate, taking into account the size of your house and ductwork, access to the heating/cooling coils, and the entire system.
Pressuring you to commit to annual cleanings is another sign that something is wrong. Duct-cleaning frequency depends on who is living in the house e.g. smokers, asthmatics, people with allergies, what animals are present, etc. It can also make a difference when there is a change in conditions, such as a sudden increase in rain and subsequent water damage followed by mold, and similar variables. Since the absolute benefits of an air duct cleaning are not yet completely documented, you should have it done only as needed. Air duct companies themselves estimate that a cleaning lasts between three to seven years. This very wide range that makes setting up a schedule less than helpful. Also, if you have the misfortune to encounter a poorly trained technician, your heating and cooling system runs the risk of damage every time you have a cleaning. A good air duct cleaning company will understand that cleaning should be on an as-needed basis and not try to lure you in annual contracts.
What Tools Should be Used to Clean Your Sonoma County Air Ducts?
As you investigate the air duct cleaning companies in Windsor, Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Rohnert Park, or Petaluma, you may come across claims that some tools are better than others. One type of vacuum is often touted over a different type. Air-duct-cleaning vacuums may be truck-mounted or portable. Some claim that truck-mounted vacuums are superior. However, the trade association for air duct cleaners, the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), says that when standards are followed, either a type of vacuum will do the job effectively. Truck-mounted vacuums are usually more powerful, but a portable vacuum can be brought into enclosed spaces, closer to the job itself. If a portable vacuum is used that exhausts into the house, it must have a HEPA filter to prevent particles from being released into the interior space. Your air duct cleaner may use for handheld vacuums and wet vacuums for smaller tasks, and these vacuums should also have HEPA filtration.
The air duct cleaning company should bring other tools besides the vacuum. Brushes are used to agitate the heating/cooling system components and loosen dust. Some air duct cleaning companies may also use an air whip, an air gun, or a blowgun to loosen and move debris. However, fiberglass can be damaged by aggressive tools. Look for a company that uses soft-bristled brushes with fiberglass. Your air duct cleaner might also need tools to cut into ductwork for better access. Inspection tools might include mirrors, a camera or closed-circuit television, or a periscope
Do Companies Need any Training to Clean Air Ducts in Sonoma County?
The air duct cleaning company, no matter where it operates in Sonoma County, whether in Windsor, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Healdsburg, Rohnert Park, Sonoma, Cloverdale, or Guerneville, if it offers a complete service, should have a license. Your air duct cleaner should have a C20 contractor’s license from the California Contractors State License Board. The C20 license is for building, maintaining, and repairing heating, air conditioning, and ventilation equipment. In a proper air duct cleaning, the service includes the removing and cleaning the blower motor components, then reinstalling them. Since the blower motor is part of the HVAC system, the air duct cleaning company should be licensed to work on HVAC systems. The state of California requires that contractors include their license number in their advertising. You will notice that many air duct cleaning companies do not have a license. You should ask them what components they include in their duct cleaning service.
Air duct cleaning companies that belong to the National Air Duct Cleaning Association (NADCA) as well as being licensed are also a good choice. Members of the association perform work to the association’s standards. They also adhere to the association’s ethics standards. The companies also pledge to hire at least one certified Air Systems Cleaning Specialist (ASCS), a certification provided by NADCA.
Looking for Reliable Sonoma County Air Duct Cleaning Companies
You are searching for an air duct cleaning company in Sonoma County, whether in Healdsburg, Sebastopol, Petaluma, Cotati, Guerneville, Windsor, Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Sonoma, or Cloverdale, that offers reliable service. Like any contractor, air duct companies should expect that you will take common sense steps during the hiring process and cooperate with you. Begin by asking two or three contractors for an estimate. Make sure the estimate is for your particular situation, not a general estimate. Ask the company about its licenses and/or certifications. Ask how long the company has been in business.
California requires that any company that employs people have workers compensation insurance. Check that the air duct cleaning company has it, so that you are protected if a worker is hurt on your property. Also check that the air duct cleaning company is bonded. California requires that contractors be bonded. Look for a company that has general liability insurance, even though the state does not mandate it. Ask for a written agreement before work is started. When getting an estimate, be sure to ask how long the job may take and how many people it may require, and make sure the estimate covers those variables. Ask how the firm plans to protect any pets and the house itself during the cleaning process.
What Does Getting a Sonoma County Air Duct Cleaning Actually Mean?
When you sign up for an air duct cleaning, whether you are living in Windsor, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Healdsburg, or Rohnert Park, know what to expect from the company. First, the company you hire should look out for safety concerns. Prior to any air duct cleaning, the air duct cleaning company should look to see if asbestos is present in the heating/cooling system. If there is asbestos, it must be handled according to the state guidelines.
Make sure that your air duct cleaning company has the proper tools. A vacuum alone is not enough, since tools such as brushes or blowguns should be used to agitate debris, in concert with the vacuum, which will pull the debris out of the heating or cooling system.
The air duct cleaning company should tell you what components are included in the cleaning. These include the supply and return air ductwork. The supply air duct sends heated or cooled air to the rooms, while the return air duct sends air back to the heating or cooling mechanism. The supply registers, return air grilles, and any diffusers should be removed, cleaned, and reinstalled.
Make sure the supply and return plenums get cleaned. The plenums are boxes that are close to the coil for the heating or cooling device and connect to the rest of the ductwork that travels throughout the house. Check especially for moisture on the supply plenum, which can lead to mold. The supply plenum sometimes gets damp if condensation from the coil is not properly drained.
Verify that the air-stream side of the heat exchanger and the secondary heat exchanger are part of the cleaning. The blower motor and its housing and assembly should be removed, cleaned, and reassembled, leaving the entire blower compartment clean and no oil or other debris on the blower blades. The evaporator coil, drain, and pan should all be clean, and the coils should not be damaged or smashed after the cleaning. Any air filters should be replaced with filters that match the highest standard recommended by the heating/cooling system’s manufacturer. The air cleaner should also be washed.
Do Chemicals Have Any Place in My Air Duct Cleaning?
There are cases where it is valid to use chemicals in your air duct cleaning. Your air duct cleaning company, if following the trade association standards, has the option to clean your evaporator coil using chemicals and water instead of vacuuming. Ask your technician if he or she will use a chemical to clean the coil.
Sometimes chemicals are recommended to prevent mold or bacteria from returning. Be cautious about allowing the use of such chemicals. Consider that if they are applied in your duct or any part of the heating/cooling system, they will be released into the air in your home. Every chemical manufacturer must register the chemicals they produce with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), specifying the uses for the chemical. The chemicals cannot be used for anything besides the registered use. There are only a small number of chemicals that are registered for preventing bacteria and mold.
Any chemical for preventing microbial growth must be applied as described on the label or not applied at all. For example, if the label requires rinsing with water, it should not be used, since it is not a good idea to introduce water into your ductwork. Note that chemicals for preventing mold or bacteria are only for application on bare sheet metal. Much ductwork today includes fiberglass duct board, or is flexduct, which includes fiberglass, or consists of a metal pipe lined with fiberglass. Fiberglass and materials that include any fiberglass should be replaced if it has mold, wet, or other contamination, since there are not products approved to clean fiberglass.
Make sure that you really need any chemicals suggested. Ask the air duct cleaner to show you the mold or other microbial growth. Not everything that looks like mold is mold. If your air duct cleaner shows you material from inside your ducts and claims that it is mold, get it checked by a laboratory to prove that it is mold. If you’ve decided to allow the application, the chemical that will be applied should be shown to you, so that you can verify that it is approved for use in your situation. Chemicals to stop microbial growth should always be a last resort. Speak with your air duct cleaner to find out why he or she cannot simply remove the existing growth and then address the source of the problem – for example, improper evaporation drainage – to prevent it from returning.
Resist any sales pitch that tries to convince you that you need a sealant to prevent dust and particles from being blown around your house. In most cases, such sealants do not work. Since they are often sprayed into the ducts, proper coverage is impossible. Besides, a sealant may harm ducts built from fiberglass, reducing their ability to manage acoustics and possibly even harming their fire retardation abilities and voiding the manufacturer’s warranty. The EPA, the NADCA, the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA), and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) do not generally recommend using sealants that are supposed to trap dust. Be aware that there are some sealants that may be appropriate. These sealants may be applicable when repairing damaged fiberglass insulation or fire damage in the ducts. A sealant should never be applied on top of wet, dirt, mold, or the like.
How Can I Tell If My Sonoma County Air Duct Cleaning Worked?
After the air duct cleaning from your Sonoma County air duct cleaning company, whether in Windsor, Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Rohnert Park, or Petaluma, take a good look at the heating/cooling system. 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 done. Make sure there are no rip or tears in the fiberglass if your ducts include fiberglass board, flexduct, or metal pipes lined with fiberglass. Mold should be cleaned from metal pipes, and fiberglass material that had mold should have been replaced during the cleaning.
Make sure that you look at every component that you expected to be cleaned. These include the registers, the plenums, the blower motor, and the evaporator coil. Ask the air duct cleaning company if each component on your list has been cleaned. If they have not been, ask for explanations. Shine a flashlight on the evaporator coil. You should see the light shine through to the other side when the coil is clean. If the air duct cleaner had to make any access openings, make sure they are proper sealed. Test that the system works after the cleaning – in both heating and cooling modes, if you have both.
Read moreRead less