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Duct Cleaning - Do or Don't?

Old 05-03-2011, 07:23 AM
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Default Duct Cleaning - Do or Don't?

Asked a few friends and seem to get split responses. What are pros and cons for cleaning ducts in the home. Some say it just stirs up contaminants/irritants. Some say it reduces them.
Does it increase efficiency?
You get yours done? Why/Why not?
My home is 14 years old and never had it done.
Old 05-03-2011, 07:28 AM
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Do you have a lot of pollen in the area? Open your windows a lot? Change the filters and notice that they're clogged more often than not? If so, it's not a bad idea.

Check the squirrel cage fins for junk on them. If they're spotless, then you're probably OK.
Old 05-03-2011, 07:29 AM
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I recently ripped out some ductwork from my 1953 house - some was original, some was redone in 1983.

The original ductwork was metal and more or less spotless. The 1983 ductwork was flex, and had some grime buildup in the corregatations.

Of course, I can't be confident that the previous owners hadn't cleaned the ducts, but I doubt it.. based on what I saw, I would be surprised if it was worthwhile assuming you have been reasonably diligent about using a good quality filter in your air handler.
Old 05-03-2011, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Flot View Post
I recently ripped out some ductwork from my 1953 house - some was original, some was redone in 1983.

The original ductwork was metal and more or less spotless. The 1983 ductwork was flex, and had some grime buildup in the corregatations.

Of course, I can't be confident that the previous owners hadn't cleaned the ducts, but I doubt it.. based on what I saw, I would be surprised if it was worthwhile assuming you have been reasonably diligent about using a good quality filter in your air handler.
My house was also built in 53, all of the ductwork is metal 8 x 14ish. Our Heater / AC suggested a cleaning..............When he got in there with a scope he said forget it, its pretty dam clean. I also change the filter out once a month. Duct cleaning didn't really start around here until about 12-15 years ago. We have been in the house for 20 years
Old 05-03-2011, 07:37 AM
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Our lot is surrounded by a farm field. Lots of dust, pollen and the filter usually NEEDS to be changed every 4 to 5 months. Use a standard filter from B-lowes. On the positive side the house is dry and no mold issues I have been aware of.
Sounds then like i should be getting them cleaned..
Old 05-03-2011, 07:37 AM
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the feathers get stuck in your teeth if you don't...
Old 05-03-2011, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by cgrand View Post
the feathers get stuck in your teeth if you don't...
I seem to get a lot of bugs in my soup when the a/c kicks on...
Old 05-03-2011, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by starmonk View Post
Asked a few friends and seem to get split responses. What are pros and cons for cleaning ducts in the home. Some say it just stirs up contaminants/irritants. Some say it reduces them.
Does it increase efficiency?
You get yours done? Why/Why not?
My home is 14 years old and never had it done.
A good duct cleaning service will put a camera in your ducts and show you any build-up.

Some older homes can have LOTS of crap in the ducts.
Old 05-03-2011, 08:45 AM
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Just another thing to say you need and to charge you for.
Old 05-03-2011, 08:52 AM
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I get in fights with my wife everytime I try to clean ducts or fish in the house.

In all seriousness--the dirtiest ducts I have seen are often associated with new construction. Lots of sheetrock dust, soda cans, Micky D wrappers, and once a bucket full of piss and shmandt. Clean them when you first move in and keep the filters changed monthly and your ducts will stay pretty clean. However, clean your coils regularly to make sure they stay efficient.
Old 05-03-2011, 10:18 AM
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Dogs and cats are always very big contributors. The more animals in the house the more the ducts should be cleaned out.

Scoping the ducts should definitely be done when children have lived there....one never knows what treasures lurk there?

Last edited by Garett; 05-03-2011 at 02:44 PM.
Old 05-03-2011, 10:55 AM
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Another contributing factor is the location of the return air grilles and location of the air filter(s). If the grille is in the floor, ducts are going to be dirty. If you have filter grilles, ducts will probably be clean.

A good duct cleaning company can/will put a scope or camera in the duct so you can look for yourself. A "good" company is the operative word here. I think it's an enterprise with a lot of "shady" people in it.
Old 05-03-2011, 02:15 PM
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Have look...I've seen 1" of matted dust in some ducts.
Old 05-03-2011, 02:30 PM
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To the op! I do home renovations and include duct cleaning on every large job. I have found sears to be the best in my area,reasonable and very good. There are different types of duct cleaning. Sears has the best equipment. They will show you what they pull out of your ducts when finished.

Camera shots will not show you everything in your ductwork!

Duct cleaning is a very good thing for anyone with allergees or pets, etc. If you live near a farm and don't change your filter but once every 3 to 4 months, they will be filthy.

Filters, regardless of where you live should be changed once a month for the simple fact that a clogged filter will make your system run harder, shortening the life of your furnace. Very hard to tell if a filter is dirty just by the eye. I do not buy cheap filters either, they are worthless. Buy a hepa filter.
Old 05-03-2011, 02:58 PM
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Boy I certainly couldn't afford to replace a hepa filter once a month!
Old 05-03-2011, 03:16 PM
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Why do you want it done? Are you having issues, large chunks of dust coming out of you supply vents, smell, mold concern?

I'm in the industry and I do not recommend duct cleaning in my area for many reasons.
1. In my area there are too many bait and switch companies out there that have no clue as to what they are doing. They buy a few machines, hire some guys from the labor pool and send them out with little if any training on how to complete the job.
2. Ducting in my area is fiberglass ductboard and flex duct. The board is a porous material that can't be cleaned effectively. The Flex can be damaged by improper use (or wrong type) of machine. In addition the duct transitions at J-box and plenum can have the tape joint and collars come apart causing leakage.
3.duct cleaning is not mold remediation. the only way to guarantee to remove mold from ducting (in my area) is to remove and replace with new.
4.If you are filtering with a good media or pleated filter and change regularly (min every 2 months) you should not have an issue unless you have damaged or leaking ducting.

I have more reasons but I'll stop.

If you have all sheet metal ducting and the correct machine then duct cleaning can be effective although I have never seen residential ducts anywhere near as dirty as the duct cleaning advertisements show. I have seen some commercial applications that run 100% outside air application have dirty ducting that was in need of cleaning.

Thanks
Old 05-03-2011, 05:32 PM
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Great responses but they seem split still. My main lines are sheet metal the lines off to the vents are flex...No smells, no mold I know of. The house gets dusty but not severe...Appreciate all the advice.
Old 05-03-2011, 08:23 PM
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How much $$ are we talking?
Properly done, it can't hurt.
Finding a company to do it properly could be a problem.
If your AF is at the furnace, then your return air ductwork has been unfiltered since it's been there.
You wouldn't believe the stuff I've found in ductwork. Toys, money, dead animals and lots of dust/dirt.
For the most part, it just sits there and probably won't bother you until you see what's there.

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