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Old 05-01-2008, 05:06 PM
 
Location: Knoxville
4,247 posts, read 20,764,941 times
Reputation: 5007

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I need to place a warning for anyone thinking of getting their ducts cleaned.

A client of mine told me about her recent experience. There has been some full page or half page ads in the local paper advertising duct cleaning and mold testing, etc. She called them to come out.

Within a short time he "found" some SERIOUS mold in her ducts that would require extensive work. He gave her a bid of around $900 (more than twice what I paid to have mine cleaned last year) to clean her ducts and get rid of the mold. He scared her to death.

Here's the good part - he ended up taking a little over $100 cash to do the job. It seems to me there might have been a bit of a scam going on there. Maybe I'm just paranoid - or not.

Be careful out there!
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Old 05-01-2008, 06:13 PM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
2,172 posts, read 6,884,992 times
Reputation: 1525
There are scam artists around. I found that out when I had the carpets and ducts cleaned before I moved into my condo when I bought it a couple of years ago. Really got taken. I've learned the hard way to at least check with the Beter Business Bureau before hiring someone. The first company I used had pages of complaints, which I discovered after the fact. Live and learn.
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Old 05-01-2008, 07:05 PM
 
2,197 posts, read 6,717,523 times
Reputation: 1686
Beware of the same issue with mold/moisture in crawl spaces. I had a weatherproofer quote me $1600 to install all these heavy-duty things to keep my foundation safe and my crawl space moisture-free. The pest control companies offered to save me some bucks by doing it for $900-$1000.

The guy who got the job done was a handyman, who gave me everything I needed-- and nothing I didn't-- for $300. Yep, it really pays to check around.
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Old 05-01-2008, 07:18 PM
 
Location: Atlanta suburb
4,728 posts, read 9,085,537 times
Reputation: 3463
You know, I think I probably would have gotten several estimates, but only with one type of contractor - probably the weather proofing people. Would I ever have come out of the short end of the stick!

Thanks for the heads up and advice, Barking Spider, Knoxgarden and GBH. It is always a good idea to check with the BBB, but I'll be sure to try different avenues besides.

Too bad we can't get a list of reliable, honest handyman type businesses on C-D. That is a great route to go if you know they are good and honest.
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Old 05-01-2008, 07:22 PM
 
Location: Lee's Summit, MO
592 posts, read 1,891,777 times
Reputation: 209
I've always heard and assumed Duct Cleaning is a waste.

What's this about preventing moisture in crawlspaces?
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Old 05-01-2008, 07:50 PM
 
Location: Atlanta suburb
4,728 posts, read 9,085,537 times
Reputation: 3463
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjb62676 View Post
I've always heard and assumed Duct Cleaning is a waste.

What's this about preventing moisture in crawlspaces?
After living in a few newly built houses, mjb, I can attest that duct cleaning is not a waste.

The air intake for your hot air furnace takes in not only house air, but all of the small particle dust, pollen, mites, etc. that is floating around in your house. These should be trapped by your heating plant filters, but unless you are using electrostatic filters, all of this gunk is blown out in your face through your heating and cooling vents!

Pollen is so sticky that it, as well as the dust and other debris in the air, will stick to the inside of your ducts and collect more dirt to its sticky surface. Hot air heat generally creates a lot of dust in one's house - and particularly new construction.

It is beneficial to have the ducts cleaned in a new house, at least, before moving in. Your allergy sufferers will thank you.
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Old 05-01-2008, 09:45 PM
 
Location: Knoxville
4,247 posts, read 20,764,941 times
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Duct cleaning is not a waste. Here's a simple test to see if you could maybe use a duct cleaning. Open up your return grill and remove the filter. Now look around and inside the area. You will probably see, dust, dirt, lint, etc. That stuff is getting sucked into the air handler and to the inside of the coils of the air conditioner. You probably know what happens if a car radiator is covered with something (to block the air flow). The car overheats. Same thing happens to the air conditioning system. A dirty coil can make the unit work much harder, and will shorten it's life.

2nd test. If you have supply registers in you floor, lift up the grill and look inside. If your's is like most houses, there will be a bunch of crud in there, from pine needles because you put the Christmas tree over a register every year, small toys because the kids drop them in, kitty stuff because the litter box is next to the register, or in some cases, full of floor sweepings because some idiot thinks it's easier that a dust pan.

Over the years I have pulled out soda cans, blocks of wood from when they installed the hardwood floors a decade ago, and seen more disgusting sights than I care to remember. I have also looked down and seen the dirt in the crawlspace because the ducting came loose at some point and the HVAC unit has been heating and cooling the crawlspace forever.

Since the supply air is blowing over anything that is in the ducts, that means you are breathing it. Yuck!

Duct cleaning is very real, and just makes sense to do.

As far as moisture in the crawlspace goes, lets just say you want to keep it down for lots of reasons, and a topic for another day.
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Old 05-02-2008, 06:51 AM
 
Location: Lee's Summit, MO
592 posts, read 1,891,777 times
Reputation: 209
Well, I was just assured on here that Crawlspaces were great because they didn't have moisture issues.

How do they go about cleaning the ducts free of pollen, etc without actually replacing the ductwork?
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Old 05-02-2008, 07:21 AM
Eat
 
Location: Loudon County, TN
303 posts, read 1,030,652 times
Reputation: 96
I have never had air ducts cleaned, nor has anyone in my family, so far as I know. In fact, I have always believed it was just another unneeded service oversold to a public already overwhelmed by shoddy merchandise and dubious "professional" services.

I did a bit of searching, and nothing I have found has convinced me I was wrong. Take a look at these two sites before spending any money on duct cleaning.

Duct Cleaning - American Lung Association site (http://www.lungusa.org/site/pp.asp?c=dvLUK9O0E&b=35440 - broken link)

Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned? | Publications | Indoor Air | Air | US EPA

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.

Last edited by Eat; 05-02-2008 at 07:52 AM.. Reason: It just felt good. :-)
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Old 05-02-2008, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Lee's Summit, MO
592 posts, read 1,891,777 times
Reputation: 209
I know that new construction tends to have quite a bit of sawdust at first.

When we bought the Dyson, you all should have seen all the sawdust it drew out of the carpet.
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