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  1. #1

    Question Duct Cleaning Advice

    Hello, great forum you have here!

    Apologies if this is post is in the wrong spot, the cue under General Discussion pointed me here.

    Ok I will get right to the point. I am looking to have my ducts cleaned, but have become confused after researching on this forum.

    The facts:

    - I live in South Florida (Palm Beach Gardens)
    - 1500sqf Condominium on the second floor (of which there are three total floors)
    - Condominium is about 10 years old
    - ducts are in the ceiling, I believe they are flex ducts
    - 12 vents
    - Filter: Filtrite 2200 20x20" http://www.amazon.com/Filtrete-Aller.../dp/B002WC83DK

    - Looking to increase air quality; limit dust.

    I am almost certain the people who lived here before me have never vacuumed, they were slobs. I had the carpets cleaned before I moved in. I have a hoover vacuum with a HEPA filter; this one http://hoover.com/products/details/u...gless-upright/

    I have read many posts that say duct cleaning causes more harm than good. Have also read duct cleaning is not advised for flex ducts. On the contrary I have also read posts that state duct cleaning can be helpful IF it is professionally done right and the whole living space is vacuumed and dusted well.

    My home seems abnormally dusty. I have vacuumed once a week since I have moved in (December 2011). I have slight allergies, but the thick layers of dust that pile up once a week are irritating me.

    I have taken off the screen of my vents and looked inside, they do seem to be holding dust but nothing extreme.

    I have called some places that have good online reviews, and so far one is quoting me $400 for use of their Rotobrush. The other is quoting $700 and I do not know what method/machine they use.

    May I get some professional advice on what to do?

    From my research I should either find a professional that uses an Abatement and Not a Rotobrush or I should clean my home diligently and change the filter often.

    Thank you for reading,

    Peter

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Philadelphia PA
    Posts
    2,190
    Peter, you said "or I should clean my home diligently and change the filter often." You clearly have high personal standards and I believe that unless your previous owners NEVER changed filters then your routine house cleaning will do the trick

    Too many7 people believe that the dirt tracks on the ceilings of large units in commercial spaces means that the dirt is coming from the ducts.. WRONG as you alluded, the dirty air is being entrained into the CLEAN high speed air jet from the diffuser and leaving the tracks behind. also the velocity of the air going through your ducts at the inside surface of the duct is close to ZERO so the air is not scouring the duct and disloging the dust/ dirt
    You have got to learn from other people's mistakes! Because God knows you don't live long enough to make them all yourself !!!!!!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Caledonia WI
    Posts
    881
    If you really want clean air, have a high efficiency air cleaner installed. Not the one inch "high efficiency" hardware store filter (much to restrictive). Then only use replacement filter medias made by the air cleaner manufacturer. Cleaning flex duct is very tricky and I don't recommend it unless absolutely necessary, and then I'd still rather change it than clean it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    south louisiana
    Posts
    3,199
    what type of insulation is in your attic?
    do you have recessed lights?

    sometimes 'dust' is insulation particles from attic
    entering the house. recessed lights, unsealed supply boxes,
    leaky ducts & plenums distribute this 'dust' throughout the house.

    I've had many complaints about dusty houses and allergies.
    sealing duct/plenun/return & supply boxes goes a long way to
    keep dust in attic.
    if duct system is tightened to minimal leakage, then neither
    uv lights, air purifiers (which imo do little for a big cost)
    are necessary. also imo duct cleaning is a racket, esp for flex.

    if the flex has holes, tears or mold inside then you replace the flex.

    once you seal all the holes between attic & living space, the duct/plenum
    system then you add a media filter at the return.

    best of luck.
    The cure of the part should not be attempted without the cure of the whole. ~Plato

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    4,412
    Have your ducts checked for leakage with a duct blaster ( or blower door), cleaning ducting without testing and sealing is a waste of time and money IMHO. Putting restrictive filters with RA leakage will only make the problem worse. And yes flex ducting can be cleaned with no damage to it when properly done.
    I expect ERL will disagree with me, but look into having Aeroseal done on your duct system. It sounds like its unaccessible and Aeroseal is the only way to seal a system like yours!
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    south louisiana
    Posts
    3,199
    sokay jimj, we can't all agree all the time!
    my only issue with aeroseal is cost & lack of sealing
    of leaks over 3/4 or 5/8".

    you never know...OP may have access to ducts in attic, so
    a bucket of mastic & a roll of hardcast 1402 would work.

    but testing ducts for leakage would be my start.
    along with blower door for house leakage.
    The cure of the part should not be attempted without the cure of the whole. ~Plato

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by genduct View Post
    Peter, you said "or I should clean my home diligently and change the filter often." You clearly have high personal standards and I believe that unless your previous owners NEVER changed filters then your routine house cleaning will do the trick

    Too many7 people believe that the dirt tracks on the ceilings of large units in commercial spaces means that the dirt is coming from the ducts.. WRONG as you alluded, the dirty air is being entrained into the CLEAN high speed air jet from the diffuser and leaving the tracks behind. also the velocity of the air going through your ducts at the inside surface of the duct is close to ZERO so the air is not scouring the duct and disloging the dust/ dirt
    Ok, now that makes sense. I'll keep cleaning my house as I do, and try to find where all the dust is sitting (furniture, blinds, ect.)

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by billg View Post
    If you really want clean air, have a high efficiency air cleaner installed. Not the one inch "high efficiency" hardware store filter (much to restrictive). Then only use replacement filter medias made by the air cleaner manufacturer. Cleaning flex duct is very tricky and I don't recommend it unless absolutely necessary, and then I'd still rather change it than clean it.
    I was looking into that, but I don't think I am able to install one. I have, what looks to be, a half sized A/C for a Condo/apartment. I say half sized because the A/C sits above the water heater. After all has been said, I'm not going to clean the ducts. Even if it does help a little, it's not worth the money.
    Thanks for the input!

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by energy_rater_La View Post
    what type of insulation is in your attic?
    do you have recessed lights?

    sometimes 'dust' is insulation particles from attic
    entering the house. recessed lights, unsealed supply boxes,
    leaky ducts & plenums distribute this 'dust' throughout the house.

    I've had many complaints about dusty houses and allergies.
    sealing duct/plenun/return & supply boxes goes a long way to
    keep dust in attic.
    if duct system is tightened to minimal leakage, then neither
    uv lights, air purifiers (which imo do little for a big cost)
    are necessary. also imo duct cleaning is a racket, esp for flex.

    if the flex has holes, tears or mold inside then you replace the flex.

    once you seal all the holes between attic & living space, the duct/plenum
    system then you add a media filter at the return.

    best of luck.
    Well, I don't have much of an attic, so I'm not sure on the insulation. There is a floor above me, so maybe two feet of space in between floors for the duct work. I have no recessed lights, I do however have multiple fans with cracks/openings that lead into the ceilings. I'm going to do my best to seal these off.

    I definitely think the recessed fans are causing some of the dust.

    Also plan to check the supply box and duct returns. Thanks for the idea.

    I don't think the ducts have holes. Because, as I said, there is no attic and they have never been cleaned before. I don't see how a hole could have been caused. Always a possibility though.

    What do you mean "add a media filter at the return?" (I'm new at this and I'm still learning all the terms, thanks)

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by jimj View Post
    Have your ducts checked for leakage with a duct blaster ( or blower door), cleaning ducting without testing and sealing is a waste of time and money IMHO. Putting restrictive filters with RA leakage will only make the problem worse. And yes flex ducting can be cleaned with no damage to it when properly done.
    I expect ERL will disagree with me, but look into having Aeroseal done on your duct system. It sounds like its unaccessible and Aeroseal is the only way to seal a system like yours!
    Okay, I'll figure out what those are and see what I can do. Thanks for the insight on the restrictive filter. Mine is definitely restrictive.

    Exactly, I don't see how anyone can access my duct work, even if there is a leak. I'll look into Aeroseal as well, thanks for the tips!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    south louisiana
    Posts
    3,199
    sorry...media filter is a 4" filter that rather than change monthly lasts
    for several months. they remove more 'particulate matter' (stuff) from
    the air than a regular filter.

    you can caulk to seal house leakage, caulk is a great product.
    it expands & contracts...like our houses do and if you buy a 25-35 year
    caulk...will last a very long time.
    I like Dap's Alex clear caulk...goes on white but dries clear.

    best of luck.
    The cure of the part should not be attempted without the cure of the whole. ~Plato

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