It’s more than likely the dirtiest area in your house: your ducts. Dust can collect there for years. If there’s any moisture content (easy to happen in humid weather), mold could be in there as well. Was remodeling work done in the near or distant past? You may have drywall, fiberglass, and even wood in your ducts.
According to the EPA, indoor air pollution is often 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor levels. In some cases, these levels can exceed 100 times that of outdoor levels. If you or someone in your home suffers from allergies or has breathing problems, they may not even know the air inside their homes could be contributing to their discomfort.
You can change or clean your furnace’s filter at regular intervals (which we highly recommend), but it won’t get at the debris in your ducts. Need proof? Take the screws off of a vent and shine a flashlight inside. Gross.
You can try to clean ducts by yourself, but even a good vacuum won’t be able to dislodge dust that’s been accumulating for years. Mold can grow unimpeded. It flourishes in damp, dark places. It’s an unhealthy situation, but it can be remedied.
The best way to clean them is to hire a professional duct-cleaning service. Here at Fire & Ice, we clean ducts, and firmly believe that our process is tops in Columbus, Ohio.
Fire & Ice is one of only four companies out of 50 in Columbus certified with NADCA, and is the only HVAC company in Ohio certified with NAFA
They should also be a member of the Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA), an organization that gives up-to-date information and education on proper IAQ. We are members for the purpose of having regular training and education on proper IAQ to make sure we are up to date. Fire & Ice has the distinction of being the only member of this organization in Ohio.
Why bother with the certifications and memberships? They demonstrate the training and education that takes place to keep us at the top of the industry. Being certified means that we passed training and education courses to show that we have a full understanding of how to properly clean ductwork and how dust particles behave and how to solve our customers' air quality issues. The membership shows our customers that we are continuously being trained and educated.
Believe it or not, there are HVAC companies in Columbus, Ohio, and elsewhere that are out to make a quick buck. They clean the parts of the ducts you can see. They rarely attack mold and mildew.
One tactic they use is to offer their services at a bargain-basement price, then upsell you when they arrive. “You have mold. We need to add $200.” “Your house has two stories. That will cost extra.”
Even the most reputable of companies won’t be able to match the service you’ll get from Fire & Ice. This article will cover why that’s the case. After all, our goal is to leave you with a home with clean, healthy air, and our methods can achieve that best.
By the end of this article, you’ll understand the most thorough process of duct cleaning, what tools are used, and the benefits of having clean ducts.
Why do Do Air Ducts need to Be Cleaned?
Over the years, ducts are going to accumulate a lot of dust, mold, and debris, especially in older houses. Dust will wind up in your ducts from vents, holes in the ductwork, or even from your furnace. Houses get modernized, they get remodeled. You’d be surprised how many pieces of drywall or even some wood pieces will actually be in the ductwork. We even find loose insulation in ducts.
During remodels, there’s drywall being torn out, woodwork being moved, and the HVAC is still running, and that debris winds up out of sight in the ducts.
People with allergies and people with breathing problems don’t realize that their health issues have a lot to do with the air they’re breathing. According to the EPA, the levels of indoor air pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor levels, and in some cases, these levels can exceed 100 times that of outdoor levels of the same pollutants. In other words, sometimes the air inside can be far more harmful than the air outside.
What Effect Does Dust Have on Your HVAC System?
Homeowners don’t realize how much dust and debris is going into their HVAC system, how much dust is getting into the furnace’s blower wheel, heat exchanger, heat strips, and onto the evaporator coil.
Back when I was doing service calls, when we were getting ready for the heating season and we were doing our heating tune-ups, we would turn on the furnace and let homeowners know that they were probably going to smell some stuff burning. That’s because the furnace has accumulated quite a bit of dust during the cooling season, and it singes when the furnace comes to life after months of disuse.
Excessive dust in the furnace can reduce the amount of airflow. High static pressure would be an effect of an evaporator coil with excess dust and debris buildup, restricting the airflow.
If you have certain areas in your home where you’re not feeling a lot of airflow, it could very well be that your blower wheel is not clean enough for it to work properly
The dustier it is, the harder it has to work. The harder it works, the less the airflow, the sooner your HVAC equipment will need service, or even be replaced.
What Are the Health Concerns of Dirty Air Ducts?
Dust mite allergy is an allergic reaction to tiny bugs that live and breed in house dust. Signs of dust mite allergy include those common to hay fever, such as sneezing and runny nose. Vacuuming can get rid of some of it, as can your furnace filter. But that dust in your vents needs special attention.
Mold can get into your ducts in a number of ways. When you have ductwork that’s going into crawl spaces or underneath the house, a lot of the ductwork is not sealed, especially in older houses. You’ll likely have mold building up in there.
As it’s building up, and your system is not sealed, all of that mold is going to be pulled into the ductwork. You’re breathing it. As the mold gets into the system, it starts reproducing. And as it’s reproducing, you’re breathing more and more in.
Experts agree that moisture should not be present in ducts. If moisture and dirt are present, the potential exists for biological contaminants to grow and be distributed throughout the home.
How Often Should Air Ducts Be Cleaned?
Typically, duct cleaning is something you’re going to want to do every 3-5 years. If you have pets or smokers, it should be done every 1-3 years. A lot depends on how dusty the house is, how tight it is (can dirty outside air seep in?), and whether or not mold-forming moisture can be kept out of the ducts.
What Tools Do We Use to Clean Air Ducts?
We have a truck-mounted power vac system, which we’re proud of. The reason we use this system is that it is the most efficient way of creating the vacuum in the ductwork to pull debris from inside to our truck. The vacuum in the truck is rated at 12,000 CFM (cubic feet per minute), so it’s very powerful. (The largest portable vacuums are capable of about 5,000 CFMs.)
This system also provides compressed air at about 250 pounds per square inch of air, which powers our agitation tools.
We have tools called air rods. They’re long tubes, about 5 feet long. When connected together, it allows the compressed air to go through and all of the way to the end of the agitation tool. They allow us to reach the entire length of the ductwork.
We have multiple agitation tools. We have one called the octopus whip. It has eight rubber fingers that have holes at the end of it that air goes through. As soon as that air starts to come through, those fingers start flying around everywhere. It hits all of the walls of the ductwork, and loosens any debris that is on the walls.
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We also have forward-pushing and reverse-pushing skipper balls. Basically at the end of those rods, the air is going in different directions. If it’s the forward pushing, it’s exactly that. It pushes the debris in whatever direction it’s headed. The reverse works the opposite way. When you’re getting that ball to the end, it will start pushing everything back.
The goal is to loosen all the debris from the ductwork and push it all back so the vacuum can eliminate it.
What’s Included in Our Air Duct Cleaning Package?
As part of the Fire & Ice duct cleaning package, we’re going to use agitation tools and then air wash and vacuum the furnace blower compartment, which includes the blower wheel and motor.
If the evaporator coil is accessible, we will inspect it and vacuum it. If the coil is defective or needs a deep cleaning by removing it from the system, we will alert the homeowner to that fact and offer our recommendation for further work.
By cleaning those parts of the furnace, you’re making sure that you’re getting the most efficient airflow it can offer you. When your system is blowing air, you’re getting as much of that air as possible.
Benefits of Having a Clean Furnace
The benefit of having a clean furnace, first and foremost, is having the peace of mind that there’s nothing sitting in there that can affect your breathing. It also helps the equipment. As we all know, the cleaner you maintain machinery, the better it’s going to run.
At Fire & Ice, we emphasize being thorough. We do this so that you get what you pay for. We don’t just loosen debris from the ductwork, run the vacuum, and call it a day. We make sure that your ductwork is cleared to NADCA standards. We take a look and see what it looks like before we start the process, and again afterward to make sure it is done the right way.
We also air wash and vacuum the blower compartment. Our inspection will show if the blower wheel requires a deep cleaning by removing it from the system and washing it with chemicals - with approval by the homeowner.
How Long Will the Air Duct Cleaning Take?
Depending on the size of your house, it can take anywhere between two and four hours. Factors determining the job length include the size of the house, the number of rooms, location of the furnace, and if there are multiple systems.
We Can Remove Mold. What’s to Keep It from Coming Back?
We’re going to offer a chemical spray to disinfect the ductwork and kill the mold. As we’re cleaning, the standard is to clean out any material that has not adhered to the ducts. We might find growths and other things in the ductwork that won’t come out with the tools that we use. At that point, with the customer’s ok, we can use chemicals that will kill 99.99% of the mold and bacteria that are growing inside.
What Is the Price for an Air Duct Cleaning from Fire & Ice?
Our duct cleaning pricing is broken down into home sizes:
Up to 1,200 sq. ft. - $549
1,200 sq. ft. - 2,000 sq. ft - $699
2,001 sq. ft. - 2,800 sq. ft - $849
2,801 sq. ft. - 3,600 sq. ft - $1,099
Over 3,600 sq. ft - Call for a quote
We also provide additional services while we are at your home, such as dryer vent cleaning and whole home disinfectant. Please visit our website for a complete list.
Call Fire & Ice for Your Air Duct Cleaning in Columbus
It’s easy to ignore how dirty your ducts are. After all, it’s not like you peer inside your vents every day, or at all. But that dust, mold, and debris aren’t going to go away on their own.
From a health standpoint, and to keep your HVAC system performing at its full potential, the benefits of clean ducts are immense. Those of us in the business refer to your furnace or air conditioner as the heart of your system, but they can’t do their job without the arteries and veins - ductwork. If your ducts are unhealthy, so is your home.
I hope by now you have a better understanding of everything that goes into our duct cleaning process here at Fire & Ice. If you’re interested in having your ducts cleaned, and you live in Columbus or Central Ohio, visit our duct cleaning page on our website to schedule yours today.
Live in Columbus or its immediate surroundings? Talk with a specialist today!Schedule Service