Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems collect mold, fungi, bacteria and a variety of contaminants that reduce the quality of the air residents and visitors breathe. A dirty air duct contributes to poor indoor air quality and affects the health of people in the residence.
Vacuum collection alone does not clean the HVAC system. Brushes, air whips, “skipper balls” and other tools that agitate contaminants and debris scrub the surfaces within the air duct system and propels contaminants and debris into the vacuum collection device(s).
Anti-microbial chemical sanitizers are applied to the interior surface of the air ducts to control microbial contamination…but…before sanitizers are used, the system should be thoroughly cleaned. All anti-microbial chemicals used must be EPA registered for use in HVAC systems. Ask to see the chemical’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). If you are still concerned, call the EPA at 1-800-438-4318. There are no EPA registered anti-microbial products for use on porous system surfaces – such as fiberglass surfaces.
When sanitizing air ducts you want to make sure the air duct cleaning company uses safe; effective EPA approved products that are safe for people, pets, and the environment. An atomizer fogs the sanitizing product throughout the entire ventilation system.
Finding an Air Duct Cleaning Company
Allergic people, infants and elderly are especially sensitive to the microbes that cause respiratory problems like bacteria, mildew, fungi algae and dust mites which require a highly-effective sanitizer to eliminate odor-causing microorganisms as well contaminants associated with allergies, mildew and bacterial growth. Make sure the sanitizer is rated by the EPA as a category IV product with the lowest toxicity rating. Sanitizing air ducts means toxicity and safety safeguards that establish and ensure there are no harmful dermal (skin), ocular (eyes), inhalation (breathing) or ingestion (swallowing) effects from the products.
There are two popular types of vacuum collection systems…those mounted on trucks and trailers versus portable units. Truck/trailer mounted equipment is generally more powerful than portable equipment. By contrast, portable equipment often can be brought directly into a facility, locating the vacuum closer to the ductwork. Both types of equipment clean to air duct industry standards. Vacuum units should be attached to a collection device for safe containment prior to disposal. A vacuum collection device which exhausts indoors must be HEPA (high efficiency particulate arrestance) filtered.
Factors to determine right air duct company
The frequency of air duct (HVAC) cleaning depends on several factors:
*before occupying a new home.
*afterhome renovations or remodeling.
*number of smokers in the household.
*Pets that shed hair and dander.
*Water contamination or damage to the home or HVAC system.
*Residents with allergies or asthma benefit from better indoor air quality.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency says that “duct cleaning services” typically range in cost from $450 to $1200 per heating and cooling system, depending on the services offered, the size of the system to be cleaned, system accessibility, climatic region, level of contamination” and type of duct material.
Consumers should beware of air duct cleaning companies making sweeping claims about the health benefits of duct cleaning – such claims are unsubstantiated.
Consumers should also beware of “blow-and-go” air duct cleaning companies that charge low fees and do a poor job of cleaning the heating and cooling system. These companies also try to persuade consumers into unneeded services or provide service without the consumer’s permission. Contact the Better Business Bureau and local, federal, and state elected officials to report the company.
Have multiple choices
Interview at least 3 local air duct and HVAC cleaning contractors and to perform a free system inspection and to provide a price to clean the HVAC system.
Narrow your list of potential contractors:
* Make sure the company is a member in good standing of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA).
* Verify that the company is certified by NADCA to perform HVAC system cleaning.
* Ask how long the company has been in business and determine if that experience is adequate.
* Ask if the company has the right equipment to effectively perform cleaning, and if the company has done work in homes similar to yours. Ask for references from neighbors.
* Inquire whether the company is in good standing with the local Better Business Bureau.
* Get proof that the company is properly licensed and adequately insured.
* Make sure that the company is going to clean and visually inspect all of the air ducts and related system components.
* Avoid advertisements for “$99 whole house specials” and other sales gimmicks.
NADCA Members sign a Code of Ethics stating they will do everything possible to protect the consumer and to follow NADCA Standards for air duct cleaning. Air duct cleaning companies must meet stringent requirements. All members must have certified Air System Cleaning Specialists (ASCS) on staff, who have taken and passed the NADCA Certification Examination. Passing the exam demonstrates extensive knowledge in HVAC design and cleaning methodologies. Air System Cleaning Specialists are also required to continue their industry education by attending seminars to keep their NADCA certification status current.
Find out as much as you can about the air duct cleaning company before you hire the company.