Frequently Asked Questions - Air Ducts
Question IconWhy should air ducts be cleaned?
Studies have shown that the air quality inside your home can be 2 to 5 times MORE polluted than the air outside. air. Most disposable filters only remove about 10% of pollutants and allow 90% to enter your home's HVAC system, only to be recirculated over and over throughout your entire home. The pollutants contain dust, pollen, mold spores, animal dander, and much more. These materials collect in the HVAC system and duct surfaces, just as they do on your furniture and floor surfaces. The furniture and floor are cleaned regularly but the duct surfaces are hidden from view and can only be reached by specialized duct cleaning equipment. These pollutants can migrate out into the room again, or become a food source for mold and bacteria, which can thrive in this dark environment, grow, and then can release mold spores or toxins into the indoor air you breathe.
Question IconHow can mold grow in a duct system and what problems can it cause?
Mold spores require a stable temperature, a food source, and moisture to live and reproduce. Dust and dirt that go through the filter are a good food source. Your HVAC system is designed to maintain a comfortable temperature, and moisture is available from humid conditions in the environment and/or any optional whole-home humidifier installed. Live molds can release spores that will trigger allergic and/or asthmatic reactions, sometimes severe, in about 10% of the population. Mold, both living and dead, can produce toxins that may cause short term allergic reactions. Long term exposures to low levels of some mold toxins can result in permanent chemical sensitivity to common compounds in the environment.
Question IconHow should the air system be cleaned?
The following process describes UltimateKleen's full service air duct cleaning. The process of air duct cleaning involves four steps:
  1. Clean the HVAC unit (furnace/air conditioner).
    • After testing the system for proper operation, we will disconnect the power before opening the unit for safety.
    • Vacuum the interior surfaces of the Furnace/Air Conditioner.
    • Clean the cooling coils with a HEPA vacuum and a coil cleaner
    • Clean the Blower unit.
  2. Clean the supply and return registers and grills.
    • Remove wall, ceiling and floor registers.
    • Wash the registers.
  3. Clean the supply and return ducts.
    • Clean all air ducts using powerful duct cleaning equipment.
    • Apply sealant and deodorizer.
  4. Install high quality or electrostatic air filter and odor control products.
    • Install odor control in the return to control odors for up to 3 months.
Question IconWill a dirty air system result in higher energy costs?
Depending on the amount of contamination introduced to your HVAC system from the surrounding environment, energy consumption could be minimally to greatly increased by a professional HVAC and air duct cleaning. If the fan blades, evaporator coil, or other control components of the system are heavily contaminated, the system may have to run much longer to cool or heat the occupied space during each cycle, thereby wasting energy.
Question IconWhich parts of the air system should be cleaned?
There are three major parts in a standard HVAC system:
  1. the supply and return grills,
  2. the interior surfaces of the supply and return vents, and
  3. the HVAC air handler.
All three components must be cleaned. If only one or two of the components are cleaned, the contaminates from the remaining component will gradually contaminate the others over time.
Question IconHow often should I have my air ducts cleaned?
Once the entire HVAC system is thoroughly cleaned, depending on the surrounding environemnt, it should remain clean for about 3 to 7 years if properly maintained and high arrestance filters are installed and changed regularly. HOwever, if you live in an area where the outdoor air contains a higher than normal pollution level, such as near a quary, a mill, a mine, or a heavy traffic road, your system could require cleaning more often, maybe even each year.A standard disposable filter only stops about 10% of the airborne contaminates, allowing 90% of the rest to flow back into the HVAC system. To maintain protection against biological growth, an EPA registered biocide should be applied every 6 to 12 months by a qualified Duct Cleaning Professional.
Question IconWhat are the sources of air duct contamination?
All indoor air was once outdoor air. All of the dust, chemicals, pollen, insects, and mold spores in the outdoor air can be pulled into the air system. People shed millions of tiny dead skin cells every hour. Cooking smoke, household insect sprays, and personal care products are just some examples of indoor contamination sources. Many construction materials, carpets, wood products, and plastics release contaminants into the indoor air as well. During construction or remodeling activities, many types of dust are produced and find their way into the duct work. If the duct components were stored outside prior to construction, they may have collected dust, rain water and even mold before they were installed in your home.
Question IconWhat does it cost to have a whole air system cleaned?
This is the most asked question and it depends on many factors. Some of those factors include the size of your home, the number of supply ducts, the number of returns, how long since the system was last cleaned, where the home is located, and how often you open and then close your windows. When you make the decision to have your HVAC system cleaned, you should have the entire HVAC and air duct system cleaned and then install high quality filters on a regular basis to keep the system clean longer. A thurough, knowledgable, and professional HVAC system and air duct cleaning company would not be able to do this for much less than $400 for a small home or $800 for a large home. Commercial spaces cannot be estimated as their systems are usually much larger and more complicated.
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