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Duct cleaning?
Old 10-04-2016, 09:29 PM   #1
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Duct cleaning?

I enjoyed reading the furnace thread a while back and I would now like some opinions on duct cleaning.

When is the last time you had your cooling/heating ducts cleaned? Was it worth it?
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Old 10-04-2016, 09:42 PM   #2
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One week ago. It was the first time my ducts had been cleaned. The building is about 7 years old. I had noticed poor air quality recently and filters were needing replacement more frequently than before. Apparently there was quite a bit of dust in the ducts. The improvement in air quality was immediate. I'm very glad I had it done and will probably do it every three years henceforth.
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Old 10-04-2016, 09:46 PM   #3
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I think you need to take a look at your ducts to see if there is a problem...


I had mine replaced a couple of years ago... and the ones I had were not bad at all... they were 30+ years old... now, I have no idea if the previous owners had every cleaned them, but I had not and I had been here 5 years before replacing them....
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Old 10-04-2016, 09:48 PM   #4
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Consumer reports says there are special reasons for getting it done, and it should cost a lot and take a long day.
The short quick cheap ones for $99 don't do much, and are a reason to try to sell you other stuff.
Scam Alert: Avoid “dirty” duct cleaners

Now I have seen in newish buildings when you take off the register, there can be a pile of stuff including sawdust, wood chips, etc from when they built the place. So feel free to stick a vacuum hose down each to suck them clean.
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Old 10-05-2016, 05:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmm99 View Post
I enjoyed reading the furnace thread a while back and I would now like some opinions on duct cleaning.

When is the last time you had your cooling/heating ducts cleaned? Was it worth it?
First time ever (40-yr old home), sometime in March 2016.

I was not here when it was done. There are various methods and machines, so do a lot of research.

The difference is noticeable. Our ductwork is metal.

I did notice that one damper was forced closed when they did this. It was easy enough to open that one damper.

If I ever have this done again, I will be sure to be here. I'd like to see how they cleaned larger headers, and exactly what came out of the ducts.
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Old 10-05-2016, 05:41 AM   #6
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As I understand it, duct cleaning is controversial in terms of its value, and unless you have a specific problem like mold or soot, probably better to leave them alone.
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Old 10-05-2016, 05:52 AM   #7
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I bought a foreclosed townhouse for my son and DIL to live in earlier this year. There was no filter on one return and the other was filthy, so I thought a duct cleaning was in order along with HVAC servicing since I didn't know how long it had been that way. I found a company that did both. The duct cleaning guy came out and took a look, showed me that what he could see of the ducts looked clean and it wasn't likely to be worse elsewhere, and suggested I save my money.
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Old 10-05-2016, 05:56 AM   #8
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We had the ducts cleaned in a previous home. The items removed were dust, sawdust, nails, screws, soda cans, bugs, mouse droppings, cigarette butts, wrappers for candy and crackers and cigerettes, etc. It was worth it.
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Old 10-05-2016, 05:57 AM   #9
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I bought a foreclosed townhouse for my son and DIL to live in earlier this year. There was no filter on one return and the other was filthy, so I thought a duct cleaning was in order along with HVAC servicing since I didn't know how long it had been that way. I found a company that did both. The duct cleaning guy came out and took a look, showed me that what he could see of the ducts looked clean and it wasn't likely to be worse elsewhere, and suggested I save my money.
Wow, that is amazing. I have read a lot of scams with duct cleaning, so I am very happy to see that there are good, honest ones like the one you had.
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Old 10-05-2016, 06:32 AM   #10
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Until you talk to the service people, and get details, it is hard to say who to trust, etc.
Where we are, there is pollen, dust, mice, etc.
We did the cleaning as part of HVAC install. We've only been through one complete A/C season, and when we looked at the filter, it did not resemble filters from the past, which would be very grey after a month or two. YMMV.
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Old 10-05-2016, 07:39 AM   #11
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place by my house charges about $3 a duck and $4 for a goose, way better than cleaning them yourself, imo
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Old 10-05-2016, 07:47 AM   #12
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I think a lot depends on the design. Some systems have long returns before they hit a filter. Others have almost no return run length pre-filter. In my opinion, it is probably good to get the ones with a long return cleaned occasionally.

For the supply side: they should not get very dirty unless something is wrong:
- no or bad filter
- leaks in the air box or at the filter junction

If you are leaking in air beyond a filter (like in the airbox/fan cage, or where the filter slips in), then duct cleaning is a futile exercise. You'll just pollute the system again.

Get to the source and seal the ducts. I think this is the most important thing that can be done, and perhaps can be done after your cleaning.

This article discusses it a bit deeper.

Oh, and maybe a one-shot cleaning is worth it just for construction debris. Seems to be a common theme. My house was 10 years old when I bought it. One of the first things I did was take off all the floor supply registers and have a look inside (mirror and flashlight). I found so much construction debris it sickened me. A vacuum got rid of it very easily.
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:21 AM   #13
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We bought a 50 year old house last year, with gas forced air and I don't think the ducts had ever been cleaned. DW got our furnace maintenance co. to come do a cleaning. Disgusting. They showed her before and after in the fan truck. The last people had cats and she said there was enough dust and cat hair in there to make a couple of mannequins out of...
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:29 AM   #14
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Have lived in this house for 20 years. Never had the ducts cleaned. Do pull the odd register off now and then to vacuum out various things that have fallen through the grate.
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Old 10-05-2016, 09:21 AM   #15
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We have lived in our house for 21 years and DW brings up duct cleaning on occasion. Initially I asked the original installer and he basically said that ducts most often don't need cleaning and to "save your money". Our A/C needed replacing this summer and so I asked the company that put in the system about duct cleaning. They seemed skeptical but they said they'd inspect the ducts as part of the install and let me know. The result of the inspection was that the ducts were good - no cleaning recommended. It seems like the furnace and A/C guys don't do duct cleaning and the duct cleaners don't do installations so maybe they just don't like each other. YMMV.
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Old 10-05-2016, 09:30 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Koogie View Post
We bought a 50 year old house last year, with gas forced air and I don't think the ducts had ever been cleaned. DW got our furnace maintenance co. to come do a cleaning. Disgusting. They showed her before and after in the fan truck. The last people had cats and she said there was enough dust and cat hair in there to make a couple of mannequins out of...
We bought a 20 year old place the owners raised St. Bernard's. The ducts(and the rest of the house) needed cleaned badly
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Old 10-05-2016, 10:24 AM   #17
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So if the dirt is sitting in the ducts, what problem is it causing (unless it is damp and growing mold)? It's sitting in the ducts, it's not floating in the air. And you have a filter, right?

I do vacuum inside the floor vents occasionally, stuff does fall in there, and it might gather into a big enough dust bunny to get blown out at some point? And this would be on the other side of the filter, so it wouldn't be filtered out.

I did open up the big common air return in our house to add a vent in the basement, and it was clean. We don't have animals loose in the house though. But we keep the windows open a lot, so we do get dust. If you have dogs/cats, maybe use a coarse filter on the returns so hair does not enter the system (they sell these, just filter material that you cut and fit in the return grill)?

-ERD50
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