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duct cleaning - bs?

Old 12-16-2011, 06:48 PM
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Default duct cleaning - bs?

Had winter checkup on geothermal home hvac system today and guy told my wife ducts are filthy - no kidding after 15 yrs. Recommended duct cleaning @$700. Any value to it or just the ol' make them think the place is dirty sales routine?
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Old 12-16-2011, 06:54 PM
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Depends on if they know what they are doing.
Yes it helps if you have allergy or any other air related health issues. The air handler should be cleaned also.
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:06 PM
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Coin toss. Whole lotta profit in it like that extended warranty they push on you.

Good read here. http://magazine.angieslist.com/air-d...-cleaning.aspx
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:29 PM
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How often does the wife have to dust? That is your clue if you need your ducts cleaned or not. If she has to dust a couple times a week then they need cleaning and it would/ should be worth the 7 bills.....that's providing the air handler is or has been on. If she only has to dust every other week or three then I'd say the 7 bills is a waist of money. But if any of you that occupy the house have respiratory problems then the money would probably be well spent.
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Old 12-17-2011, 04:31 AM
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No respiratory issue or allergies except for low-key season stuff here and there. Dust doesn't seem out of the norm. The air handler runs 100% of the time and always has, there's a (non-electric) electrostatic filter that I clean monthly and does get fairly dirty. thanks
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Old 12-17-2011, 04:46 AM
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Inspect the ducts.

Sometimes they are beyond nasty.
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Old 12-17-2011, 04:52 AM
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How is it actually done?
To me the trunk line would have to come apart somewhere for them (their tools) to get inside?
I would want inside the duct video of before and after.
When the system is run right after the cleaning, I would have filter media on every supply air grill to catch the loose particles that will be blown out when the system starts up.


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Old 12-17-2011, 04:59 AM
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I've never had ducts cleaned, I've never been present when customers had their ducts cleaned. I have taken apart the ductwork on hundreds of houses and was always amazed at how filthy the ducts were. After they have been cleaned, they were like new. From what I understand, there's different methods for cleaning and the results can differ greatly. There's even been a number of scams related to duct cleaning (BIG SURPRISE!).

In almost every system I've designed, there's a filter grill and filter for every return in the house. When the filter is at the furnace/air handler, all the returns are accumulating dust and more. Return grills in the floor are the worst and ceiling returns pick up the least dust.

Have the cleaning company show you the "dirty" ducts before you OK the work. Have them show you the after results before you pay them.
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Old 12-17-2011, 05:06 AM
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Good info guys. Might look into it more. Have been using this hvac place forever and they've never tried to sell me anything - just clean, check pressure in the loops, all's good, bye bye. Now, first time my wife is here, she gets the ol' you have a dirty house routine and two estimates; $700 for the duct cleaning and/or $600 for better filter system (didn't mention that).

I'm sure the ducts are dirty. The way it played out is what bothers me.
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Old 12-17-2011, 05:10 AM
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Have mine done every 2-3 years. Have a 2500 sf ranch and its worth it to have it done IMO. Have a big lab so dog hair is everywhere.
$500 avg cost.
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Old 12-17-2011, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Ackdog View Post
Have mine done every 2-3 years. Have a 2500 sf ranch and its worth it to have it done IMO. Have a big lab so dog hair is everywhere.
$500 avg cost.
Good point on the pets. We had a lab for 11 yrs and a cat for 19 ().
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Old 12-17-2011, 05:29 AM
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You'd be surprised to see what comes out of those ducts. Little kids love those floor slots for "storage."
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Old 12-17-2011, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by snapperkid View Post
Coin toss. Whole lotta profit in it like that extended warranty they push on you.

Good read here. http://magazine.angieslist.com/air-d...-cleaning.aspx
Interesting read....thanks for the link
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Old 12-17-2011, 05:42 AM
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Like most everything else there is no pat answer.
Before and after pictures. Have them show you what they collected. NADCA certified has a bit of credibility. Are we talking about metal ducts? Where is your air filter? If your ducts need routine cleaning they are a better filter than your filter.
A dusty home doesn't mean spit as to rather your ducts need cleaning or not.

A simple test you can do is to put cheesecloth over a register or two that you think dust is coming from.

My opinion is that if your ducts need cleaning that it is the result of a failure; rather it be installation, maintenance or abuse; such as operating the system during construction.

http://epa.gov/iaq/pubs/airduct.html
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Old 12-17-2011, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by kone View Post
Good point on the pets. We had a lab for 11 yrs and a cat for 19 ().
Oh well, then it's a given those ducts would be a mess.
I as well would want to see video of before and after before paying.

My last place I pulled all the ducts (trunks included) outside and cleaned them myself (right down to with the garden hose) before I finished off the space.
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Old 12-17-2011, 05:51 AM
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I used both Servicemaster and/or Servpro for this service. Both inspected the ducts prior to actually cleaning them to assess whether or not they needed cleaning and left me with the decision yeah or nay depending on what they found. I generlly had them do the cleaning.
I have the inline filters and change them regularly, but the ducts still accumulate stuff.

Nice links Soundbounder.
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Old 12-17-2011, 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Jibara View Post
1) A dusty home doesn't mean spit as to rather your ducts need cleaning or not.

2) My opinion is that if your ducts need cleaning that it is the result of a failure; rather it be installation, maintenance or abuse; such as operating the system during construction.
1) Ok I conceed to a larger degree.
- Yes if a home has a poor seal at the sill plate and the around windows and doors a home will have more of a dusting problem than a home that is properly sealed.
- Yes 20 - 30 lbs of dust bunnies in the duct work can act like a filter.
- Yes the more traffic and active traffic there is in the house the more dust will become air bourne.
- Yes the cleaning of the floors will effect how dusty a house is.

But Chris mentioned he cleans his electrostatic filter monthly and that's probably more then the most of us do (me included). The more often one cleans or changes the filter(s) the cleaner the ducts will remain and the better quality air there is to breath.
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Old 12-17-2011, 06:39 AM
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On a side note.......check into having your ducts sealed after they are cleaned. This process starts with a pressure test to calculate how much the system leaks. Once that is done they can blow in a vaporized polymer that seals up the openings. We had this done and the results were quite impressive.
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Old 12-17-2011, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Tireless View Post
On a side note.......check into having your ducts sealed after they are cleaned. This process starts with a pressure test to calculate how much the system leaks. Once that is done they can blow in a vaporized polymer that seals up the openings. We had this done and the results were quite impressive.
How'd they price that out, per liner foot or sq. ft of house?
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Old 12-17-2011, 07:03 AM
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Call sears and get a quote. They do a great job and are fairly priced. Guessing they would be half of what you were estimated and they will show you everything they pull out of your system. I have used them for years on construction projects after we are done tearing into my customers homes. If you have allergies the cleaning can definately be a benifit. Also, the cleaner the system as a whole, the better and more efficient your furnace system will run. Change your filters every month!

Tell them you are a contractor and plan to use them in the future on multiple projects and you will get a break on the price!!! Good luck.
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