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Air Duct Cleaning Process in Columbus, Ohio, from Start to Finish

Air duct cleaning is a complicated, time-consuming endeavor. To do it right requires a lot of specialized tools and knowledge. We take a look at the process.

Air Duct Cleaning Process in Columbus, Ohio, from Start to Finish

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Fire & Ice Team


December 27th, 2021

Air duct cleaning sounds simple. You get a high-powered vacuum, stick it in a vent or two, suck up the debris, and you’re done.

Like all things HVAC, the process is far more complicated than that. At least it is when you want to be thorough.

Yes, there’s a vacuum involved, but the process can also involve a customized truck, drop cloths, chemicals, compressed air, and specialized tools.

And still, we’re not done.

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If you’re thinking about having your ducts cleaned, there are a lot of companies in the Columbus, Ohio, area that will offer to do it.

We believe our methods at Fire & Ice are better, though. When we’re done cleaning your ducts, you will have the cleanest air possible coming from your vents - because we’re that thorough.

On the other hand, a lousy duct-cleaning job leaves behind dust, mold, viruses, and sometimes worse. The only thing cleaned out will be your wallet after you pay for a substandard job.

Allow us to demonstrate the best, most complete method in Central Ohio from start to finish.

Air Duct Cleaning Process

When we get to the customer’s home, we put on my shoe covers so we're not tracking debris into the house. And I’ll have a face mask on at all times.

We will introduce ourselves and we will go with the homeowner to the furnace. Then we start talking to them about the process and everything that it entails. We‘ll walk them through step-by-step what I’m going to do so there are no surprises.

I’ll make sure their HVAC system is functioning, then I’ll turn it off. If we don’t, the furnace (or air handler) will work against the vacuum, which won’t be as efficient in removing dust and debris. After I’ve done that, I’ll ask the homeowner to give me a tour of the home so that I can locate and count how many return and supply vents there are. I’ll also do a quick inspection of the furnace, the condenser coil, and dryer vent.

We’ll cover each register with an adhesive film called grill mask tape. This helps with the suction in the ductwork and also prevents debris from coming out of the vents. I’ll take note of any dampers on the ducts and make sure that they are open.

Covering a vent with masking tape

Then I’ll have another conversation with the customer to make sure they have a clear understanding of the work to be done. I’ll let them know that I’ll be in and out of the house multiple times because I have to go back and forth to the truck repeatedly to set up my equipment.

I will warn that the vacuum is loud and will be running continuously for the next hour or so.

We have to keep one of the house’s doors open for the hose, but we do have a product that mitigates some of the draft coming in. It’s a canvas roll with two PVC pipes on each end that fits on the frame of the door. It has a zipper that allows me to go in and out, and at the bottom it has an arch so that I can put the hose through.

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From there, I’m going to lay down protective cloth to protect the floors. We have plastic corner guards, as well, so the hose doesn’t damage the corners of walls. The vacuum hose has an eight-inch diameter, and could cause damage if we’re not careful.

I lay out the vacuum hose from the truck to the furnace, then I’m going to get the compressor hose and lay that out. The compressor puts out about 250 pounds per square inch of air.

Then I’m going to go to the supply and return trunks by the furnace and cut eight-inch holes. I hook up my vacuum hose to the supply trunk. I’ll double-check that the HVAC is off.

I turn the vacuum on. Then we go straight to the vents, poke a little hole in the masks, and start blowing air with something called an air wand through the vents. That pushes the debris that’s in there all the way back into the main supply trunk and into the vacuum. You’ll hear debris rolling in the hose as it’s being vacuumed.

We also remove any debris that’s clinging to the vent.

Once I go through all of the supply vents, I’ll go downstairs, take the hose off of the supply trunk and attach it to the return trunk. And I’ll go through the same process with the return vents that I did with the supply vents using the air wand.

Once I finish with that, I’ll go back downstairs and cut two four-inch holes in the ducts. The reason I’m doing that is I want to get a good look at the inside. I need enough space to put my camera through there and see how it looks. I take pictures before I start agitating the dust.

I also drill one-inch holes, because that’s where I’m putting my agitation tools. We have things called air rods. They’re long tubes, about 5 feet long. These tubes allow the compressed air to go all of the way to the end of the agitation tools.

Air Duct cleaning with HVAC technician

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 coming 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.

We also have forward-pushing and reverse-pushing skipper balls. If it’s the forward pushing one, it pushes the debris forward, and vice versa.

I do the supply and return trunk lines. Once I’m done with that, I’ll take multiple pictures to make sure everything that was in there before is gone. We don’t just loosen debris from the ductwork, run the vacuum, and call it a day. We make sure that your ductwork is absolutely clear. We take a look and see what it looks like before we start the process, and then we need to look at it afterward.

Sometimes there is material that adheres to the ductwork, and no amount of agitation is going to remove that. At that point, we need to think about a chemical-based spray. We have two products that we can use. They kill 99.99% of bacteria.

Last, we vacuum the furnace’s return drop, the plenum, the evaporator tray, and the blower wheel as some debris will have gotten in those areas during the cleaning process. If the evaporator coil is accessible, we will inspect it, air wash it, and vacuum it.

If the coil is defective or needs a deep cleaning, we will alert the homeowner and offer recommendations for further work.

We’ll also inspect the furnace and tell the homeowner if we see it needs any maintenance.

Once everything is as clean as possible, I’ll use metal plates to cover up the holes I cut in the ductwork. We’ll use metal tape or caulking to fully seal where the metal plates are covering the holes so that everything is sealed. We also have plastic plugs to fill in the one-inch holes.

Similarly, dryer ducts can clog and prevent the efficient running of your dryer. If we are already at your home to perform air duct cleaning, we can also clean your dryer vent as an additional service.

I show the customers the before and after pictures. We make sure everything is cleaned up, especially around the furnace. We sweep, we vacuum.

Once that is done, I shut off the vacuum and the tools go back into the truck.

I do a final walk-through with the customer to make sure there is no furniture out of place. I also remove the grill mask tape and answer any questions. I will point out any problems I discovered, such as gaps in the air ducts.

How Long Does an 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.

How Much Does an Air Duct Cleaning Cost?

Our duct cleaning pricing is broken down into home sizes:

Up to 1,200 sq. ft. - $578

1,201 sq. ft. - 2,000 sq. ft - $736

2,001 sq. ft. - 2,800 sq. ft - $894

2,801 sq. ft. - 3,600 sq. ft - $1,157

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.

We Are Columbus, Ohio’s, Air Duct Cleaning Experts

Over the years, ducts are going to accumulate a lot of dust, mold, and a lot of debris, especially in older houses.

The main benefit of having clean ducts is, first and foremost, having the peace of mind that there’s nothing sitting in there that can affect your breathing.

It also helps the HVAC equipment. The cleaner you maintain it, the better it’s going to run.

Get started on the road to cleaner ducts by visiting our duct cleaning page and scheduling an appointment.

Read more: Air Duct Cleaning in Columbus, Ohio: Process, Benefits, and Price

4 Benefits of Air Duct Cleaning in Columbus, Ohio

Live in Columbus or its immediate surroundings? Talk with a specialist today!

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