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Old 05-02-2008, 10:41 AM
 
Location: Knoxville
4,248 posts, read 20,773,448 times
Reputation: 5008

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Eat said: I regard construction debris left in ducts, or deliberately put there by workers, as shoddy workmanship or vandalism. Removing that kind of stuff doesn't equate to cleaning, in my book. It is nothing more than fixing something that shouldn't have happened in the first place.

I guess we have a different opinion on the definition of cleaning. When I see crud in the floor registers, or in the return plenum, the ducts need "cleaning" in my opinion. I'm not sure how you would not define the process of removing the debris/dust/crud "cleaning".

I'm not an indoor air quality professional, so I can't really comment on mold/fungus or other airborne contamination. I'm really talking about visible stuff inside the ducts, that should not be there, and probably not all that great for you to breathe.

Next time you are in a new construction home, try this - open the return grill and look inside behind the filter, look in the floor registers, then drag your finger over the trim at the top of a door or windows. Then for good measure, drag your finger over the top of a wall outlet cover plate. You will probably find drywall dust. This is even after the cleaning crews have finished.

I don't really have a dog in the fight to get people to get their ducts cleaned. I just see all the stuff in the ducts and registers day after day, and wonder how the air quality must be affected by it. After one of my clients got ripped by this guy, I thought I would put out a warning for others.
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Old 05-02-2008, 11:01 AM
Eat
 
Location: Loudon County, TN
303 posts, read 1,030,817 times
Reputation: 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barking Spider View Post
Eat said: I regard construction debris left in ducts, or deliberately put there by workers, as shoddy workmanship or vandalism. Removing that kind of stuff doesn't equate to cleaning, in my book. It is nothing more than fixing something that shouldn't have happened in the first place.

I guess we have a different opinion on the definition of cleaning. When I see crud in the floor registers, or in the return plenum, the ducts need "cleaning" in my opinion. I'm not sure how you would not define the process of removing the debris/dust/crud "cleaning".

I'm not an indoor air quality professional, so I can't really comment on mold/fungus or other airborne contamination. I'm really talking about visible stuff inside the ducts, that should not be there, and probably not all that great for you to breathe.

Next time you are in a new construction home, try this - open the return grill and look inside behind the filter, look in the floor registers, then drag your finger over the trim at the top of a door or windows. Then for good measure, drag your finger over the top of a wall outlet cover plate. You will probably find drywall dust. This is even after the cleaning crews have finished.

I don't really have a dog in the fight to get people to get their ducts cleaned. I just see all the stuff in the ducts and registers day after day, and wonder how the air quality must be affected by it. After one of my clients got ripped by this guy, I thought I would put out a warning for others.
Removing construction debris is one thing. Being hustled by or engaging a duct cleaning service is quite another.
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Old 05-02-2008, 03:56 PM
 
Location: Knoxville
4,248 posts, read 20,773,448 times
Reputation: 5008
I'm not sure how you would remove the debris, or clean the ducts without engaging a duct cleaning service.
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Old 05-02-2008, 06:21 PM
 
Location: Atlanta suburb
4,728 posts, read 9,086,828 times
Reputation: 3463
Wink Dust and mold are bad enough, but soda cans!

I was at our stick built home in MA when the builder had the ducts all cleaned out before closing. They used a vacuum pump that had about a 4" or 5" diameter flexible hose that was fed down through the ductwork in each room and vacuumed out.

It was the cleanest new home we had ever lived in, so I doubt if that is standard procedure for most builders. Our builder's crew did it themselves, but generally, I would guess that you would have to have a duct cleaning company do it, and they would probably "take you to the cleaners". (Sorry!)

As far as mold goes, according to InterNACHI - a building inspector's forum, mold can be an issue in crawl spaces if the integrity of the vapor barrier is breeched in any way. Even a slow leak in an interior wall creating a constant moisture problem under the house, but not enough to be found for a long time in the house can harbor a mold problem.

Once you have black mold in you sub-flooring of studs it can be very difficult to remedy. I guess the trick is to keep up with the maintenance and yearly crawl under the house to be sure there is no damage to the vapor barrier and that there are not wet spots (like under a washing machine just above). Nasty business.
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Old 05-04-2008, 05:55 AM
Eat
 
Location: Loudon County, TN
303 posts, read 1,030,817 times
Reputation: 96
Code requires crawlspaces to be vented. There is a shool of thought that says crawlspaces should not be vented, but should be sealed and part of the house's conditioned space. That is, they should be treated as short basements with a plastic covered dirt floor and one or two heating/air conditoning vents. That assumes the house has forced air heating and cooling, of course.

By conditioning the air in the sealed crawlspace, humidity is kept down and mold is prevented.

My understanding is code does not allow this, at present.
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Old 05-04-2008, 06:01 AM
Eat
 
Location: Loudon County, TN
303 posts, read 1,030,817 times
Reputation: 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barking Spider View Post
I'm not sure how you would remove the debris, or clean the ducts without engaging a duct cleaning service.
How about having the builder do it in the first place.

When you started this thread, you posted a warning that at least one duct cleaning "service" was running an apparent scam. I, and at least one other forum member, have said that most duct cleaning services are at best of dubious value. I have provided links that professional health organizations tend to agree.

I have read nothing that has changed my opinon.
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Old 05-04-2008, 07:11 AM
 
Location: Knoxville
4,248 posts, read 20,773,448 times
Reputation: 5008
Well, Eat, I guess we can agree to disagree.

Yes I did post this thread to warn people of the possible scam. But, I am of the opinion that duct cleaning has it's place, and is probably needed in more houses than you might think.

Of course in a new construction home, you could ask (demand) the builder to have the ducts cleaned out. But how about the house that is 5 years old, or 10, or 20? There isn't a builder to go back on to have them cleaned.

Don't forget that not all of the crud that is in the floor registers and ducts is the result of construction debris. You would probably not believe the things I have seen in floor registers when I look in them.

I have attached a few photos from some of my inspections. Ducts that are disconnected in a crawlspace gives ready access to a variety of critters to get into, live, reproduce, and yep, use the bathroom. I have also attached a photo of a humidifier that was long neglected and had a large amount of mold/fungus growth inside. Since the supply air is blowing over this stuff, it stands to reason that you may not want to breath it in.

I have seen things in registers and ducts that made me gag (too gross to share here). I could not imagine living in a house (breathing the conditioned air) where those conditions existed.

To have your ducts cleaned to make your teeth whiter, or allow your kids to make better grades, or to keep extra terrestrials away is of course not necessary. But, in my opinion, there is a time and place for this service, and they are all not scam artists.

Your mileage may vary.
Attached Thumbnails
Duct cleaning-damagedduct.jpg   Duct cleaning-debrisinregister.jpg   Duct cleaning-disconnected.jpg   Duct cleaning-floorregister.jpg   Duct cleaning-humidifier.jpg  

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Old 05-05-2008, 09:57 AM
Eat
 
Location: Loudon County, TN
303 posts, read 1,030,817 times
Reputation: 96
And exactly how do they clean the flex ducts that are in so many homes?
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Old 05-05-2008, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Atlanta suburb
4,728 posts, read 9,086,828 times
Reputation: 3463
Barking Spider, they are amazing photos! I am now more convinced than ever to have our ducts cleaned, at least every 3 years or so.
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Old 05-05-2008, 05:12 PM
 
Location: Knoxville
4,248 posts, read 20,773,448 times
Reputation: 5008
Eat,
I'm not in the duct cleaning business.

I was just proving my point that duct cleaning is necessary. I'm not really interested in arguing with you about the mechanics of it.

I wasn't home when they cleaned my ducts (flex ducts), so I really don't know the entire process.

By the way, my ducts were not harmed when they were cleaned (in case this is where you are taking this).
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