McCutcheon Air Conditioning and Heating Blog
Don’t fall for insurance companies that offer policy’s that supposedly will repair or even replace your AC when it fails. They never replace the system – they will just keep sending people out to patch it up and keep it barely running.
According to Angies List “Historically, home warranty service companies have been one of the "worst graded" categories on Angie's List. Members misunderstanding or disagreeing with what their warranties cover and the quality of repair work are cited in the majority of complaints.”
Read the fine print. Some home warranty companies claim to cover major appliances but will in fact only cover a small portion of the total repair cost. They will also most likely send an Less than quality contractor out for the work.
The average cost of a basic coverage plan ranges from $350 to $600 a year, plus $50 to $75 per service call. However, consumers frequently expect more from these plans than they deliver. Home warranties aren’t insurance policies. They’re service contracts.
Some reasons not to use a Home Warranty Program:
- Don’t assume your policy will replace a faulty component. The warranty company may insist on repairing it instead.
- You may not be able to call your favorite service provider. Home warranties usually require you to use a contracted servicer.
- Home warranties rarely cover the entire cost. Claims may be rejected because of “pre-existing problems or insufficient maintenance”.
- When your AC breaks down in the middle of the summer you will wait a lot longer for it to be repaired because the HVAC contractors who work for the home warranty company will always take care of their own customers first. Also, most established air conditioning companies refuse to work with home warranty companies because there are very low margin, pre-determined, diagnosis and repair payment rates.
- The warranty companies have relationships with parts suppliers and usually want to provide the parts used for the repairs. The problem is they typically buy the cheapest part they can get…parts a technician would not put in his own AC unit because; “you get what you pay for”.
- Repair vs. Replace: There are conditions where repair is just impractical and if dealing directly with the customer, my advice as a technician would be to replace the equipment for improved comfort, efficiency, and plain common sense. The home warranty company however will only replace a unit that is unrepairable (very rarely is a unit unrepairable). Even when deemed unrepairable, they provide the cheapest, least efficient “pieces” of new equipment, not complete new “systems”.
- If you think that in the event of a catastrophic failure of your HVAC equipment you’ll be covered for a whole new central air and heating system…you’re probably in for more frustration and disappointment than you bargained for.
Find a good HVAC contractor to provide your maintenance and minor repairs as necessary, and when replacement time comes, you’ll get to choose the right system for you, your budget, and your needs.
Don’t trust anyone contacting you out of the blue with an unbelievable offer.
Reputable companies don’t go around promising free services or massive discounts. After all, they’re in business to make a profit. When someone makes you an unbelievable offer, you should maintain a healthy suspicion.
Be Cautious of Big Discounts or Phony Offers, especially when a company tells you they will give you cash for your old equipment. Most of the old equipment can be recycled and any coolant should be properly extracted from the unit and that can also be cleaned and recycled, but any reputable contractor will have already built this cost into their replacement estimate.
Any HVAC contractor who say’s they will give you $1,000 towards your new installation in exchange for your old equipment is makig up that money somewhere.
After all, this isn’t an old car you are trading in – once it leaves your home it will not be reinstalling it somewhere else. If an HVAC contractor is offering you cash for your old equipment this should throw up a huge red flag. This means that they are inflating the actual cost and overcharging you the amount they claim they are paying you.
It takes time, expertise and much work to properly dispose of HVAC equipment and nobody is going to do that for free. It’s Illegal to dispose of your own AC equipment, and only a trained professional will be able to remove the materials safely and according to specific regulations.
And even if the company is not offering cash back but the price seems too good to be true - make sure they aren’t cutting corners just to get the work and always get at least two quotes. It costs a lot of money to buy and install the best equipment and hire quality installers. Be sure the company you choose is not using second-rate equipment or taking shortcuts.
Today most of us shop on the internet – it’s quick, easy, and usually cheaper than any store.
However, sometimes attempting to save a few bucks can cost you plenty down the road.
Avoid HVAC discount websites - you are just asking for trouble. Those Too Good to be True cheap Internet deals usually do not carry a warranty! It’s standard for HVAC manufacturers to void the warranty on any system that was purchased online. This is because buying equipment online almost always leads to poor installation, which will, in turn, negatively affect how the system performs and how long it lasts. There is a very good reason reputable AC Techs are factory authorized – and that is mainly to protect you the consumer!
When you buy online, you’re taking on enormous risk.
HVAC is expensive and it’s tempting to try and look online for a good deal. However, without the advice of a knowledgeable HVAC specialist, you may get a lower price for the equipment, but will experience major consequences in the long-run with inefficient performance and replacement costs.
When trying to buy an HVAC system online the average person will not know which unit to get and will end up with something too large or too small. If the equipment is too small, it will never efficiently cool your home during the summer. If a system is too large, it will start to short-cycle until it breaks down prematurely. A qualified HVAC contractor will perform calculations to determine the right equipment.
Complicated systems need smart installers
Finding a quality contractor is just as important as having the right system, but professionals won’t install equipment that was purchased online because a warranty doesn’t cover it. They know what kind of risk the system is already running.
Even if you buy an energy efficient air conditioner at a lower price online, without proper installation, you can never expect it to work at the peak of efficiency and save you money. With HVAC, proper installation is critical for the best performance of your system.
When you go searching for a deal online, the lower price tag does look appealing. After all, installing a heating and air conditioning unit is a costly process. However, don’t let the lower price tag fool you. With no warranty, the wrong size, and improper installation, you are going to end up spending much more money trying to maintain your “bargain” system. That doesn’t sound like the smart thing to do. In the end you will always get what you pay for.
We are delighted to hear that Gold Star Father Kris Hager will be attending our Memorial Day lunch. Kris is the chairman of Gold Star Fathers of Florida, Inc. and he regularly speaks at events honoring our fallen soldiers. His son, SSG Joshua R. Hager, was killed in action on Feb. 22, 2007. Please join us as we honor fallen heroes like Josh on Thurs. May 25 from 11 to 2 at our shop at 5696 Pinkney Ave in Sarasota.
Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning and Heating is honored to have received the Angie's List Super Service Award for achieving and maintaining a superior service rating on Angie's List throughout 2016.
This achievement is particularly significant as Angie’s List experienced unprecedented member growth in 2016. More than 1.6 million consumers, many of whom were eager to quickly hire highly qualified service pros, joined Angie’s List after the company added a new, free membership tier.
“Companies that can meet higher demands without missing a beat in their exemplary performance standards truly do stand apart from their peers,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “Only a fraction of the HVAC companies in Sarasota, FL were able to do it.”
Angie’s List Super Service Award 2016 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade. The SSA winners must also be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.
High quality Air Filters can reduce the energy consumption of your Air Conditioning system by up to 16%. Quality filters may cost more in the short run, but they pay for themselves with lower energy bills, fewer repair bills, and cleaner air. Air filters with higher MERV ratings will remove more household allergens.
Ceiling Fans can save you money all year, but only if they're turning in the correct direction. In the winter, or whenever it gets cold enough to heat your home, adjusting the direction switch so that your fan is turning clockwise and setting the fan to a low speed will force the hot air that is trapped in the ceiling down and out towards the walls.
Keeping cool is great for you, but not for your attic...
According to FPL, over 70% of homes in Southwest Florida have leaky ductwork. If you live in one of those homes, you’re probably spending 20 to 30% more on your electric bill – just to cool your attic!
Why are we telling you this now?
If you need to repair or replace your ductwork in Florida, there’s no time like winter.
Attics in Florida can reach temperatures of up to 130 degrees during the summer, so technicians can’t stay up there as long during the summer as they can when it’s cooler outside. This means that a job that takes 1 day during the fall or winter may take 2 days during the dog days of summer.
Air Conditioning companies are also much busier during the summer, so you’re more likely to get a great deal between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day!
How do you know if your ductwork needs to be repaired or replaced?
Most homes in Florida have flexible ductwork. Flexible ductwork is less expensive and easier to install, but it’s just plastic and, as such, it will deteriorate over time. If your ductwork is more than 5 years old, you should inspect it at least once a year.
1. Start by visually inspecting your ductwork. Look for tears in the protective coating, kinks, flattened areas, or even exposed insulation.
2. Flexible ductwork is very susceptible to wildlife. If you suspect that you might have had rats, squirrels, raccoons or any other critter in your attic, make sure you check your ducts.
3. If your ductwork is rattling, clanging, or banging, you could have some loose connections.
4. If the vents that are closer to AC System have more air pressure than the vents that are further away or if some rooms are colder than others, take a look at your ductwork.
5. If your electric bill seems higher than it should be, your ductwork could be to blame.
If you would like to schedule a service or maintenance visit, call Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning and Heating at (941) 921-7208 and let us help you get your home ready for next summer!
Not all air cleaning devices are appropriate for home use; some can even be harmful to your health.
Ozone generating air cleaners, for example, can lead to respiratory tract irritations and other breathing difficulties, while passive electrostatic air purifiers actually do very little to clean indoor air.
The best way to promote cleaner air in your home is to have UV lights installed in your HVAC System.
For over 100 years, UV lights have been used in a variety of applications to safely and reliably kill germs on surfaces, in the air, and in water. Germicidal ultraviolet lights generate UV-C, the “C” in UV-C refers to the particular frequency of UV light that kills germs. Sean McCutcheon’s Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. can safely and efficiently improve your home’s indoor air quality by installing germicidal UV lights in your air handler.
UV Purification is a cost effective way to bask stationary objects like your evaporator coil and duct walls with the germicidal power of UVC light. Most UV lights are installed in such a way that the UV rays directly treat the evaporator coil. Other types of UV lights can actually be installed in the return or supply air duct to treat the air as it passes through. There are even portable UV units that can purify up to 900 sq. ft. These portable units may be ideal for those who work in offices without a purification system, or for those who do not have a forced air system.
Whichever Ultraviolet Purification process you choose will help prevent and destroy mildew, biological odors and other microbial contaminants before they can reproduce and colonize.
One of the most important things to remember is that UV light sanitization is very cost effective and it should not break the bank. Sean McCutcheon’s Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. can install a UV Systems for as little as $250.00 and rarely more than $675.00 for most residential applications per HVAC system.
We are constantly hearing horror stories from people who were talked into paying thousands of dollars for an installation we could have done for $250.00 so be diligent and at least get a second opinion. You can avoid getting swindled by an unethical contractor if you do just a little research.
Although some commercial versions can last up to 3 years, most UV lights need to be changed once a year to ensure maximum effectiveness.
If you would like more information about Ultraviolet Germicidal Lights and whether this is the right option for your particular HVAC system, call Sean McCutcheon’s Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. and one of our expertly trained home comfort specialists will answer any questions you may have.
Sean McCutcheon’s Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. has been named a Carrier Award Winning I.A.Q. Expert for three years running.
Chances are your air conditioning system is out of sight and out of mind, at least until there is a problem.
Adjusting the thermostat and changing filters is probably the extent of your integration with the largest appliance in your home.
So how do you know when it's time to think about replacing your air conditioning system?
If your equipment needs frequent repairs and your energy bills are going up, your cooling or heating equipment may have become less efficient. If your heat pump or air conditioner is more than 10 years old. Replacing your system with a high-efficiency unit can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.
But replacing the system may not always be the only answer. It's very important to also make sure the ductwork is in good condition.
If some rooms in your home are too hot or too cold, this could be due to duct problems or inadequate insulation. You may want to have your ductwork inspected and tested for leaks. leaky ductwork can cause the air to be too dry in the winter or too humid in the summer which will also cause humidity problems.
Leaky ducts will also pull particles from the attic which will create excessive dust in the home.
During the cooler winter months here in Florida, it's a great time to repair or replace ductwork. Most air companies are not as busy as they are in the summer months, and they will most likely give you a nice discount since the technicians won't have to work in a 120 degree attic.
If you suspect that your ductwork may need to be replaced, please five Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning and Heating a call at 941-921-7208...For the quality and service you deserve!
There is an enormous temptation for business owners to be a "Jack of All Trades".
After all, none of us want to turn away potential business and "one stop-shopping" is very convenient for the customer so it's a win-win for everyone, right?
Customers like the idea of a one-stop shop, because it makes life easy if you have someone you can trust to take care of all your needs. Merchants like the idea because they aren't sending businesses elsewhere.
It all sounds like a great idea except that, when you are trying to be all things to all people, you quickly find out that you can't be the best at everything and nobody is ever completely satisfied.
Gone are the days of the days of the backyard mechanic, today's vehicles require skilled technician's that understand the science and technology required to keep them running, the same is true of your Heating and Air Conditioning equipment.
Advances in technology have made specialists more important than ever and Social Media and websites like Angie's List or Ask the Seal make it easier than ever to do a little bit of research online so you do not have to settle for a second rate company.
It used to be that hiring the best meant paying more, but that is simply not the case anymore, especially in a highly competitive industry like the HVAC industry.
In fact, quite often the opposite is true. When you hire a less expensive company, you frequently end up paying for parts you didn't need or inferior work that causes serious problems that could have been avoided by a specialist.
The "Jack of All Trades" business model is based on the philosophy that you should have a solution for nearly 10 out of 10 of the people you encounter. Specialization requires business owners to be comfortable with the idea that they may have to turn away some business.
The "Jack of All Trades" business model forces merchants to provide services they may not be able to stand behind, or even offer unnecessary or ineffective services.
For example: Anyone who understands HVAC systems knows that most residential flexible air duct systems cannot be effectively cleaned without dismantling or replacing the entire system. You cannot properly clean ducts by attaching a powerful vacuum to a vent, but the "Jack of All Trades" company will offer this service because they know that – if they don't, someone else will.
Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. specializes in the installation, repair and maintenance of residential and commercial Air Conditioning and Heating systems. We are not plumbers, we are not electricians, and we will never offer you a product or service that we feel is inferior, ineffective, misleading, or that you simply do not need.
If you need plumbing or electric work, do yourself a favor and call someone who is a specialist in that field, but if you are looking for the highest quality Air Conditioning and Heating installation, repair or maintenance in Sarasota and Manatee counties, call Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. - the premier HVAC Company in Southwest Florida.
Most of us rely on technology to help manage our daily lives more efficiently, so connecting our HVAC system to the internet may be the next logical step.
You can stay connected to your business or residential property wherever you are. Instant notifications of temperature and humidity changes are only a couple advantages of thermostat remote access.
One of the best products currently available is the Honeywell Prestige 2.0 Comfort System Thermostat. With a convenient iPhone app you can view and change HVAC system settings, View and set temperature, View indoor humidity, View outdoor temperature and humidity, Access multiple thermostats and even multiple locations, and get instant alerts via email.
Convenience is not the only reason to consider this thermostat, it could help save you money on your electric bill.
When the Prestige 2.0 is used for commercial applications the programmable display will register occupied, unoccupied, override, and holiday settings.
You can create custom events 365 days to program the thermostat based on business hours. To help save money, there is an economizer setting that switches between ventilation and cooling during occupied times depending on the outdoor temperature. With total control over your thermostat settings you can ensure the air conditioning or heating is only running at those times when it is needed.
Other features of this thermostat are return and discharge air temperature sensors, customer alerts if the system is not functioning as expected, and alerts that inform the customer that there could be an issue prior to loss of cooling or heating capability.
If you are interested in knowing more about this type of thermostat, please call Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning And Heating, Inc. and one of our comfort care specialists will be happy to help you determine if this is the right thermostat for you.
At Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning And Heating, Inc. we not only keep you cool, but we give you the quality and service you deserve!
Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. has just been recognized by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) as an ACCA Quality Assured New Homes Contractor.
This certification is awarded to HVAC contractors who satisfy the requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR Qualified New Homes Program (Version 3). New ENERGY STAR certified homes are independently verified to be at least 15% more energy efficient than homes built to the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), and they feature additional measures that deliver a total energy efficiency improvement of up to 30 percent compared to typical new homes, and even greater savings when compared to most resale homes.
If you have a winter home in Florida that is vacant during the summer months, or even if you just take your vacation in the summer, you need to take certain precautions to prevent mold growth while you are way.
Mold needs three things: Nutrients, a place to grow, and moisture.
So the obvious thing to do is check for any moisture problems, and fix leaky plumbing.
It is very important to have your air conditioning inspected and maintained so it is operating smoothly.
This summer you can prevent mold from developing in your vacant home by controlling the indoor relative humidity so it is below 60%.
One of the ways to manage humidity is to have a programmable thermostat installed that will run your air conditioner at 72° for just two hours each morning before sunrise and at 88° the rest of the time. This will help prevent mold by removing moisture from the air during the cooler hours when relative humidity is highest and your A/C runs most efficiently.
For more information, and to have your HVAC properly serviced, please call Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc.
Handymen are not required to be licensed by the State of Florida. However, there are restrictions on the kinds of services a handyman can perform.
If a handyman does work that requires a license, criminal prosecution is possible. The type of work that requires a license includes construction, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC.
Don't confuse a Business license with a contractor's license. A Handyman is not a licensed contractor and cannot obtain permits. Most projects, even small ones, require permits and inspections. If your project isn't permitted or doesn't comply with the building code, you may have to remove or repair the work at your own expense and be subject to fines by local government.
Homeowners who hire unlicensed contractors face several potentially costly penalties.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation can issue an order to stop construction and can levy a $5,000.00 fine for aiding and abetting unlicensed contractors.
Other dangers of Hiring Unlicensed Contractors are the fact that unlicensed contractors typically do not have the education, insurance, or qualifications needed to get a license. They may perform poor quality work or even leave the project unfinished. They also often have criminal backgrounds.
There are times when a handyman can be convenient. If you have small jobs around the house or a "honey do" list that does not require much skill, a handyman may be fine. Just make sure the handyman does not claim they can do any work that should be done by a licensed professional.
You should also be aware that any work performed by an unlicensed contractor will not be covered under your homeowner's insurance policy.
If you do hire a Handyman – make sure he has workman's compensation and liability insurance or you will be held liable if any of his employees is injured.
If the person doing work for you is unlicensed and does not pay his sub-contractors or suppliers, You may be subject to liens placed on your property.
Sometimes trying to save a few bucks just isn't worth it. It's better to protect yourself and know all of the facts.
For more information about unlicensed contractors please visit http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/reg/UnlicensedActivity.html
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.
All of us like to try and find the best deals – especially when it comes to expensive home improvements.
However, if a plumber, electrician, or air conditioning contractor has just given you a very low quote that seems too good to be true, there is a good chance they are unlicensed.
As tempting as it may be to hire an unlicensed contractor who offers a great bargain, it is against the law!
Now if you are ever in doubt you can whip out your smart phone and make sure you have the right person for the job!
Just search for the Florida DBPR Mobile App – it's free, and will let you easily search for companies and individuals to make sure they are licensed.
Besides it being illegal to hire unlicensed contractors, unlicensed contractors are subject to arrest and prosecution for working without a license.
Here are some other reasons not to use them:
Unlicensed contractors may not have the proper skills and experience. They also don't have professional or legal standards they must abide by.
Unlicensed contractors are dangerous because they expose you to significant financial harm if injury or property damage happens.
Homeowner's insurance does not cover unlicensed contractors, and by law the homeowner is held responsible for hiring an unlicensed contractor and is held accountable for any work associated with the contractor. If an unlicensed contractor's carelessness leads to injury or damage to your neighbors property, the problem is yours.
If a contractor files bankruptcy or skips out while working on your home, you are responsible for all fines and unpaid bills to suppliers. You're also responsible for the wages of employees who worked for the unlicensed contractor.
Many people prefer to have a heat pump.
With a heat pump, you do not need to have a separate AC system and a heater, the heat pump actually provides both heating and cooling capabilities.
During colder temperatures a heat pump will extract heat from the air outside and pump it inside. This means that they use much less energy than even the most energy efficient furnaces.
Unfortunately however, heat pumps work best at temperatures above 40 degrees.
When it gets very cold and the air temperature falls below 40 degrees, the unit can freeze up. When this happens the system has to defrost itself. During a defrost cycle the air conditioning has to run in order to melt the ice, and the backup electric heater will turn on so cold air is not blown into the home. So basically you have AC and heat working at the same time which isn't all that efficient.
The way to avoid this situation is to go ahead and turn the heat on before it gets that cold. On most thermostats this is listed as EM Heat (Emergency Heat) When a thermostat is set to this, only the heat will turn on when the temperature drops.
Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. advises that you test your electric heat before the temperature gets very cold. This way you know that you will have heat on those cold nights.
Most people never think to make sure the heat is working properly, and every year this results in great numbers of people calling AC repair companies for emergency service calls. There just aren't enough AC techs to handle these calls and some people go days without heat.
Another great idea is to sign up for a preventative maintenance program.
Your AC System will be completely checked every spring and fall so you will have peace of mind knowing it will heat when it needs to. Also, with a maintenance agreement, if you ever do need a repair, you will get priority as a preferred customer.
The question is "Can your A/C air ducts really be efficiently cleaned?"
Many disreputable Air Conditioning companies offer cheap duct cleaning. They run specials for $49.95 and claim to be able to clean the air in your home. They will scare you with warnings that you have filthy moldy ducts and the health of your family could be in danger.
One company even uses this line " The average single-family home will have gallons of dust collecting on the walls of air ducts..." They offer to clean your vents for $15.00 each. Funny enough - their ad looks like they are holding a vacuum up to an air vent. That must be one powerful vacuum to suck gallons of dust from hundreds of feet of ducts.
There have been horror stories about people spending thousands of dollars just to have an A/C company do nothing more than spray cans of Lysol into the vents while the AC is running and then claim the ducts have been sanitized.
Some companies use special brushes at the end of long poles and claim they can remove the dust, mold, and etc, that way.
So what is the truth about duct cleaning?
The truth is that most residential A/C Air Ducts cannot be properly cleaned.
If you have Flexible Ducts the act of stuffing a brush through them will rip the material and create holes in the ductwork. The result: Not only are your ducts not clean - but now you are losing cold air into your attic as well as letting more contaminants (and maybe a few little critters) into your home.
If your ducts are made of fiberglass board - not only can they not be properly cleaned, but the act of trying to clean them will most likely result in filling your ducts, and your home with tiny little fiberglass particles. Some fiberglass ducts have a coating that will reduce the amount of fiberglass particles created - but there will still be more than 50% of the "dust" left remaining.
Unfortunately the only type of ducts designed to be cleaned are usually for commercial applications.
Let us repeat: Very few residential duct systems can be effectively cleaned without dismantling or replacement.
So how about sanitizing ductwork?
One of the most efficient and acceptable ways to sanitize ductwork is by using a type of fog machine that will mist a chemical that can sometimes kill mold growing in ducts. Usually you will have to completely vacate the premises for up to 6 hours while this is going on. Even then, you can only expect a 40% success rate.
Bottom line - beware of duct cleaning scams. Usually the unscrupulous contractor will use this as a means to gain access to your home and intentionally mislead the homeowner into paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for additional work.
At Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning and Heating - we want you to you be informed, and we want you to know the facts. Feel free to call or email us anytime you have a question.