Envirotech Clean Air Stoneham, Ma
 
 

 

Duct Cleaning FAQ

Many people would be shocked if they could look inside their home's ductwork. Even the most careful cleaning of the home may not be able to prevent the gradual accumulation of dust, mold, bacteria or other allergens on the inside surfaces of air ducts. At EnviroTech, our National Air Duct Cleaner Association (NADCA) certified technicians use state-of-the-art equipment to thoroughly clean all the interior surfaces of your air ducts to provide your home with a cleaner, healthier living environment. As one of New England's most trusted air duct cleaning companies, take advantage of EnviroTech's knowledge and professionalism to give the care your air ducts deserve.

Click one of the questions below to view the answer


1. What is air duct cleaning?
Your air ducts may become contaminated with particles of dust, pollen or other contaminants if your system is not properly installed, maintained, and operated. If moisture is present, the potential for mold growth is increased and spores from such growth may be released into your home's living space and affect those with allergies, asthma or other respiratory problems. EnviroTech's professionally trained, NADCA certified technicians are fully qualified to clean your home or office's air duct system.

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2. Deciding whether or not to have your air ducts cleaned.
Since the conditions in every home and office are different, it is impossible to generalize about whether or not air duct cleaning in your home or office would be beneficial.

You should consider having the air ducts of your home or office cleaned by an EnviroTech certified technician if:

  • Air ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the living space from your supply registers.
  • There is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system.

Be aware of the $99 whole house specials! If a service provider fails to follow proper duct cleaning procedures as outlined by NADCA, the cleaning of your air ducts can actually cause indoor air problems. For example, if a low-cost service provider uses an inadequate vacuum collection system, their cleaning can actually release more dust, dirt, and other contaminants into the living environment than if you had simply left the ducts alone. That's why EnviroTech's NADCA-certified technicians only use vacuums fitted with HEPA filters to remove 99.97% (efficient to 0.3-micron size) of airborne particles. Worse still, a careless or inadequately trained service provider can damage your ducts or heating and cooling system, possibly increasing your heating and air conditioning costs or forcing you to undertake difficult and costly repairs or replacements.

When interviewing potential service providers, be sure to ask:

  • Is every part of every component included in their estimate to you? Leaving a single tainted component can potentially re-contaminate the entire system.
  • Is there is an additional travel charge for coming to your home or office?
  • Are there any additional fees or hidden charges for performing a complete cleaning?

Remember, if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is! At EnviroTech, we offer you upfront, honest pricing with expert technicians who are always happy to answer any questions that you have about the cleaning of your duct system.

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3. Why EnviroTech should be your duct cleaning service provider.
Do not assume that all duct cleaning service providers are equally knowledgeable and responsible. EnviroTech's technicians are professionals that are certified by NADCA, a national association that is recognized for its air duct cleaning standards, and they take their work very seriously.

  • EnviroTech has been in business since 1998, we have been in business long enough to have the experience any job requires.
  • Whether is it a team of one, two, or more, EnviroTech provides a certified NADCA technician to perform a proper HVAC system cleaning and visually inspect all of the air ducts and related system components as outlined by NADCA.
  • We take pride on giving our technicians the best equipment to effectively perform the cleaning of your air ducts. Our training and experience has made EnviroTech the choice of thousands of hospitals, universities, residential homes and Fortune 500 companies throughout New England and around the nation.
  • EnviroTech is a member in good standing with NADCA and has won the NADCA Outstanding Safety Award every year since 1998.
  • EnviroTech is fully insured.
  • References are available upon request.

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4. What you should expect from EnviroTech Clean Air as your service provider.

When you choose to have your ducts cleaned by EnviroTech's certified technicians, you should expect us to:

  • Visually inspect your system before cleaning.
  • Protect your carpet and furnishings during cleaning.
  • Use well-controlled brushing of duct surfaces in conjunction with contact vacuum cleaning and compresses air to dislodge dust and other contaminating particles.
  • Use vacuum equipment that use only high-efficiency particle air (HEPA) filters.
  • Take care to protect the air ducts, including sealing and re-insulating any access doors the technician may have installed or used so they are airtight.
  • Follow NADCA's standards and guidelines for air duct cleaning and visual inspection.

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5. How to determine that EnviroTech did a thorough job cleaning your air ducts.
Seeing is believing! EnviroTech technicians follow NADCA's nationally recognized standards and guidelines to provide expert visual inspection to verify the cleanliness of your heating and cooling system.

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6. How to prevent future duct contamination after cleaning.
Committing to a good preventive maintenance program is essential to minimize future air duct contamination.

To prevent dirt from entering the system:

  • Use the highest efficiency air filter recommended by the manufacturer of your heating and cooling system.
  • Change filters regularly.
  • If your filters become clogged, change them more frequently.
  • Be sure you do not have any missing filters and that air cannot bypass filters through gaps around the filter holder.
  • When having your heating and cooling system serviced, be sure to ask the service provider to clean cooling coils and drain pans.
  • During construction or renovation work that produces dust in your home, seal off supply and return registers and do not operate the heating and cooling system until after cleaning up the dust.
  • Remove dust and vacuum your home regularly. Use a high efficiency vacuum (HEPA) cleaner or the highest efficiency filter bags your vacuum cleaner can use.
  • If your heating system includes in-duct humidification equipment, be sure to operate and maintain the humidifier strictly as recommended by the manufacturer.

Moisture should not be present in ducts. Controlling moisture is the most effective way to prevent biological growth in air ducts. The presence of condensation or high relative humidity is an important indicator of the potential for mold growth on any type of duct. Controlling moisture can often be difficult, but here are some steps you can take:

  • Promptly and properly repair any leaks or water damage.
  • Pay particular attention to cooling coils, which are designed to remove water from the air and can be a major source of moisture.
  • Make sure the condensate pan drains properly
  • Check any insulation near cooling coils for wet spots.
  • Make sure ducts are properly sealed and insulated in all non-air-conditioned spaces (e.g., attics and crawl spaces).
  • If you are replacing your air conditioning system, make sure that the unit is the proper size for your needs and that all ducts are sealed at the joints.

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7. Does duct cleaning prevent health problems?
There are examples of ducts that have become badly contaminated with a variety of materials that may pose risks to your health. The duct system can serve as a means to distribute these contaminants throughout a home or office. In these cases, duct cleaning may make sense. However, a light amount of household dust in your air ducts is normal. Duct cleaning is not considered to be a necessary part of yearly maintenance of your heating and cooling system, which consists of regular cleaning of drain pans and heating and cooling coils, regular filter changes and yearly inspections of heating equipment.

Experts do agree that moisture should not be present in ducts and if moisture and dirt are present, the potential exists for biological contaminants to grow and be distributed throughout the home. Controlling moisture is the most effective way to prevent biological growth in all types of air ducts.

  • Correct any water leaks or standing water.
  • Remove standing water under cooling coils of air handling units by making sure that drain pans slope toward the drain.
  • If humidifiers are used, they must be properly maintained.
  • Air handling units should be constructed so that maintenance personnel have easy, direct access to heat exchange components and drain pans for proper cleaning and maintenance.
  • Fiber glass, or any other insulation material that is wet or visibly moldy (or if an unacceptable odor is present) should be removed and replaced by a qualified heating and cooling system contractor.
  • Steam cleaning and other methods involving moisture should not be used on any kind of duct work.

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8. Are duct materials other than bare sheet metal ducts more likely to be contaminated with mold and other biological contaminants?
You may be familiar with air ducts that are constructed of sheet metal. However, many modern residential air duct systems are constructed of fiberglass duct board or sheet metal ducts that are lined on the inside with fiberglass duct liner. The use of insulated duct material has increased due to improved temperature control, energy conservation, and reduced condensation.

Many insulated duct systems have operated for years without supporting significant mold growth. Keeping them reasonably clean and dry is generally adequate. However, if enough dirt and moisture are permitted to enter the duct system, there may be no significant difference in the rate or extent of microbial growth in internally lined or bare sheet metal ducts. Cleaning and treatment of mold contamination on bare sheet metal with an EPA-registered biocide is possible. However, once fiberglass duct liner is contaminated with mold, cleaning is not sufficient to prevent re-growth and there are no EPA-registered biocides for the treatment of porous duct materials. EPA, NADCA, and NAIMA all recommend the replacement of wet or moldy fiberglass duct material.

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9. Should chemical biocides be applied to the inside of air ducts?
Not routinely. Chemical biocides are regulated by the EPA under Federal pesticide law. EnviroTech only uses products that are registered by the EPA for the specific use of remediating mold or bacterial growth within air ducts. The specific use(s) must appear on the pesticide (e.g., biocide) label, along with other important information. It is a violation of federal law to use a pesticide product in any manner inconsistent with the label directions.

Before an EnviroTech certified technician uses a chemical biocide in your air ducts, the technician will confirm the scope of the consultants recommendations and demonstrate visible evidence of microbial growth in your air duct.

EnviroTech certified technician can:

  • Show you the biocide label, which will describe its range of approved uses.
  • Apply the biocide only to un-insulated areas of the duct system after proper cleaning to reduce the chances for re-growth of mold.
  • Always use the product strictly according to its label instructions.

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10. Do sealants prevent the release of dust and dirt particles into the air?
As with biocides, a sealant is applied by spraying it into the air duct system. Most organizations concerned with duct cleaning, including the EPA, NADCA, NAIMA, and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association (SMACNA) do not currently recommend the routine use of sealants to encapsulate contaminants in any type of duct. Instances when the use of sealants to encapsulate the duct surfaces may be appropriate include the repair of damaged fiberglass insulation or when combating fire damage within ducts. Sealants should never be used on wet duct liner, to cover actively growing mold, or to cover debris in the ducts, and should only be applied after cleaning according to NADCA standards and guidelines.

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E-Mail: DGreenblatt@BreathEasier.com
Envirotech Clean Air, Inc. • 10 Spencer Street • Stoneham, MA. 02180 • Phone: 800-698-1300 • Fax: 781-279-2910


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