How To Know If The Cleaner Did A Thorough Job?

If you browse the internet for duct cleaners, you will come across endless companies offering them. You have to handpick one of them based on theirreputation, track record, experience, rates, and up-to-date infrastructure. The job does not end here. Once you hire a company you have to checkif they were able to produce the desired outcome. Remember, missing a component will have the entire system clogged with dirt in no time. The best way to crosscheck if the service provider did a thorough job is a meticulousvisual inspection of the unit after the task has been completed. The whole conduit may not be visible from outside.Some service providers use remote photography to documentthe conditions in the inaccessible part of the system. None of the components should have a spec of dirt on them. You can give your service provider thePost-Cleaning Consumer Checklist before he starts his work. Once it is done ask him to show each component. Check in the questions in thelist if the respective part has been cleaned to your satisfaction. If any of the components still looks dusty, it indicates that the job has not been doneperfectly. Ask your service provider to correct those deficiencies.


Here is typical post-cleaning check list

Categories Questions
General • If the duct cleaner has reached out and cleaned the entire HVAC system which includesthe conduits and components like drain pans, humidifiers, coils and fans?

• Was he able clean the plenums?
Heating • Has he cleaned the heat exchanger surface?
Cooling Components • Has the cooling coil been spruced on both the sides?
To check it you can flash a torch light on the coil. If it shines through the other side the job was thorough.

• Are the coil fins straight and spaced uniformly from each other?
Sometimes a clumsy professional get them smashed and bent due to manhandling.

• Is the coil drain clean and functioning properly?
Blower • Are the blower bladesfree of any stickiness and debris?

• Is the blower compartment cleaned of all dust?
Plenums • Are the plenums working properly and offering the same efficiency as recommendedby HVAC system manufacturer?

• Is the supply air plenum free of moisture and dirt?
Metal ducts • Are the interiors of the duct work free of oil and diet?
Choose sitesin the interior at arandom and inspect.
Fiber Glass • Is the fiber glass material free of abrasions and fit properly with underlying materials?
Access doors • Is there air leakage through access doors?
Air Vents • Are the registers, grilles and diffusers reattached steadfastly with the walls, floors and ceilings?
System Operation • Is the whole system functioning properly?


Here are some more tips to check the quality of job done by the cleaner:


You should know that your heating and cooling system has broadly two types of conduits- the intake duct and the supply duct. The intake duct is the one that return air to the heatingand cooling unit. The supplyduct delivers conditioned air from the HVAC to your living space. The intake ductwill get dirtier than the supply duct, as itdoesn’t have filters. Make surethat the cleaner donot show you the photo of aclean supplyduct forinterior duct as post cleaning verification.


Try avoiding sealants and sprays in your ducts as they are not recommended by the EPA and the NADCA. It is better notto have them in your ducts as they can be the cause health hazards later. No biocides, anti-microbial chemicals are registered with the EPA for use inside ductwork.Mark,it is better notto use steam for duct cleaning.

Why to get your duct cleaned after renovation?

Duct cleaning often becomes essential after a house renovation or remodeling. Always opt for it, if there has been asbestos abatement, lead paint removal, or significant dust was gathered during renovation. This is the time when ducts collect dangerous dust and debris which get lodged inside and can cause illness.

Also check if water is trickling in the ducts system through leakages or due to flood. This could be the root cause of mold growth and therefore requires both repairing and cleaning. If there are pets in your house, it is better to clean your ducts periodically as harmful pet hair often gets collected in the ducts.


How to keep duct contamination at bay?


The air ducts in any household will get dirty over time. But there are certain ways of preventive maintenance to keep your ducts clean as long as it ispractically possible. Let’s take a quick look into them:


• Use high efficiency air filter for your heating and cooling system as recommended by your manufacturer. These filters expel the stale air inside the roomand ensure flow of flesh air. Efficient filters also remove dust particles near them thus bringing down the level of contamination. But keep in mind that they are not efficient againstmicroscopic house dust mite feces.

• Change filters immediately in case of clogging. Ensure all your filters are in place and air do not bypass them by passing though gaps or through filter holders.

• Whenever you ask for a professional inspection of the HVAC system, always ask them to clean the cooling coils and drain pans.

• During renovation or remodeling seal the supply and return registers. Do not operate the heating and cooling system until the place has been cleaned of dust.

• Regularly clean your home with high-powervacuum cleaners or vacuums with highest efficiency filter bags. These will remove hair, dead skin cells, dust mites, and dirt from the living space and prevent them from settling in the ducts. Keep the bathroom clean to control mold spores from growing and finding their way in the ducts.

• If your heating and cooling system has humidification equipment inside, run and maintain it regularly as instructed by the manufacturer.

• Most household have trouble with their ducts due to thepresence of moisture. Moisture invites microbial growth inside the ducts. There are many ways in which moisture can get inside your ducts. The first isthrough floods. The second way is leakage. Improper installation of the system is also a moot reason. According to the studies condensation on or near cooling coils of air conditioning units leads to moisture contamination of the system. The presence of condensation or high relative humidity invites harmful mold growth. Therefore repair leaks promptly. Always pay heed to your cooling coils. Those designed to remove water from air is major factor of moisture contamination. See if the condensate pan is draining properly.Always make sure that there is no or minimum standing water and debris. If you see wet spots near cooling coils, then check the insulation.


• In the non-air conditioned areas of the house, ensure that the ducts are sealed properly. These spaces could beattics, basements, and crawlareas.


• In case you are getting a new air conditioner for your house, ensure that it is of optimalsize. A too big unit will cycle on and off frequently and fail to remove moisture effectively. A too small unit will lead to very little moisture removal. The ducts of the ACshould be sealed at the joints. Always buya model that will manage condensation effectively.


What is mold?


Mold is classified as a fungus. It is not species of plant, animal or bacteria. Scientifically theyare categorized as eukaryotic micro-organisms, which can decompose dead organic material such as leaves, wood, and plants. The spores released by them are too small to be detected by the naked eyes. They can only be seen through a microscope. However, when lot of these grows in a place they appear like patches of green, blue or black.

How does mold grow in ducts?

Mold can grow only in the presence of water and moisture. They cannot grow in dry spaces. They need a source of food and temperature between 40 degrees and 100 degrees F. Besides air ducts, they also grow in wooden furniture, walls, and tiles. They decompose the substrate to make nutrition available to them. Although theycannot grow on inorganic surfaces such as plastic, concrete etc.,they can breed in the organic dirtlayerlying on them. This is what happens inside the air ducts. The ducts get lodged with dust which enters through the filters. The heating and cooling system is designed to maintain a comfortable temperature. Moisture is available from humid condition of the place, the humidifier in the heater, and the cooling coils in the air conditioner. All these conditions allow mold to grow actively in the HVAC ducts.

Molds are generally detected by a musty odor coming out of the air ducts. You may see a peculiar discoloration on your air vents. These signs indicate that there is moisture problem in your HVAC system and there is thick microbial growth deeper inside the unit.

If your air duct hasinternalinsulation or are made of fiberboard then they need to be replaced. Molds are difficult to remove from such surfaces. You cannot even apply sealants on this type of ducting.


Can molds cause serious health issues?

The molds release spores in your living space, which can trigger allergic and asthmaticreactionsamong the members of the house. Black mold is atype pf mold that releasescertain toxins, which can cause lungs damage. Long exposure to toxins released by molds can lead topermanent chemical sensitivity to certain compounds in the environment. Some signs of toxic poisoning are irritated mucous membranes, decreased attention span, headaches, dizziness, and difficulty in concentration. When ducts are beingcleaned of molds in the house, always wear respirators, masks, and protective clothing.

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