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McCutcheon Air Conditioning and Heating Blog

3 minutes reading time (633 words)

Dirty Air Conditioning Ducts

If low quality AC filters are used, or if your ductwork is not adequately sealed, you may accumulate some dirt and other debris over a period of time.

There are many companies out there who will try to scare you by claiming your home is making you sick. They create advertisements that warn about cancer causing mold, dust mites, and toxic insect parts that cause asthma and allergies. One company claims they can extract up to 15 gallons of debris from your ducts and by doing so, you will save up to 30% on your electric bill.

Unfortunately, most of the information available about duct cleaning originates from people associated with the industry or from firms who market air duct cleaning services.

It seems that the air quality business is very profitable and very easy to get into.

For example, the following is from the www.air-care.com website.

"...The air duct cleaning and decontamination industry is currently experiencing unprecedented growth. ..."Gain unlimited earnings, Realize a 50 - 70% net profit, Operate with a low overhead..."

This is one of countless companies that offer equipment and training for those wanting to start a profitable residential duct cleaning business. For a low price (and 0% financing) you can get lightweight one man duct cleaning equipment that will help you rake in the big bucks.

It is very simple to get into the air duct cleaning business, anyone with the slightest bit of interest can do it, and any requirements are minimal. There are also virtually no uniform standards of professional practice, This has caused small companies to spring up that offer questionable and controversial techniques.

What methods are used to "clean" residential ducts, and do they work?

Vacuum equipment: The claim is that dirt can simply be sucked out of the ducts. This is actually very ineffective because it is impossible to vacuum debris from even a few feet of duct work. Just try vacuuming your floor by holding your duct buster 6 inches above the carpet.

Blowers: They only dislodge loose debris from the very end of the ductwork – the first couple feet that anyone can actually see. Only a very small portion of the total ductwork is cleaned..

Brushes on flexible rods and compressed air fed through the ductwork: This method removes only a very small amount of the debris and will damage ducts creating an even larger problem. Using any kind of brush or forced air will also blow all of those contaminants throughout your home. If the ducts are fiberglass – this method will damage insulation and release fiberglass fibers throughout the home.

Bottom line is that if you actually have dirt in your residential air conditioning ducts, it is almost impossible to effectively remove it by any method available without damaging your ducts and making your air quality worse.

Can you sanitize ductwork?

Companies often claim they can sanitize residential ductwork. The problem here is that the biocides needed to kill mold and bacteria will also cause a danger to the occupants of the home. Simply spraying Lysol into the ducts does nothing. And believe it or not – some companies have been known to do just that.

Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. will not clean residential ducts because there just is no effective way to do it.

The best way to ensure you have the best air quality is to use a good quality air filter that is changed on a regular basis, and make sure your duck work is in good condition and is not leaking. Installing Ultra Violet Lights will also kill germs, germs, bacteria, viruses, mildew, and mold spores such as stachybotrys and black mold.

If you have any questions, or need a second opinion, please call Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc.

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