Need help with Air Duct cleaning "problem"
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    28

    Need help with Air Duct cleaning "problem"

    I'm sure you have all seen this a million or more times. I have dug through the search function to see what was said. I fully believe it is a waste of time and money to have my air ducts cleaned.
    HOWEVER, my wife is convinced we have to have the air ducts cleaned because she and the kids are getting sick alot this time of year. (Go figure, it's cold and flu season. My oldest son is in kindergarten with loads of small disease caring vermin, er other darling children) So I am stuck between a rock and my wife.
    The details, it's a residential home about 30 years old. 2 year old Thermo-Pride oil heater (Thanks guys, I decided on that from reading here awhile back, I'm sure the stuff is still around) It has a AprilAire 5000 on it. We are the second owners, from all signs the previous owners had no pets, at least no signs of hair etc. I have sealed the ducts with metal tape. We have Anderson windows and doors. I sealed up the basement windows with plastic.
    So, I need advice on what type of system to look for in a duct cleaner contractor. She found a ad in the mail flyers for a $85 dollar duct cleaning. I can't convince her it's a scam. I have to do this even if I don't want to. If I'm gonna do it I'm gonna do it right and hopefully not get scammed. Advice please.

  2. #2
    Go to the EPA website at www.epa.gov and do a search for "air duct cleaning." You will find lots of information on whether or not air duct cleaning is needed. And if the "boss" still decides you need to get your ducts cleaned, there are also some tips on what to look for in an air duct cleaning service.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Taylors, SC
    Posts
    403
    Just curious, any nose bleeds??? I would look into getting a hygrometer to measure the humidity level in the house, or lack there of. Im probly going to get pounded for this, but if anyone is getting nose bleeds, it is likely due to low humidity. When your nose bleeds, there is an open passage for viruses, etc. to go straight into your blood stream, bypassing the bodys natural filter. Just one of many possible explinations. Read the above link and I think you will learn a lot. There is also more info on this site and other sites than you could read in a life time. Just go to a search engine and type in IAQ, you will see what I mean. As for the duct cleaning coupon, save your money and get a babysitter and take your wife out for a nice dinner, you will get more for your money that way IMO.
    Poor planning on your part doesn’t necessarily constitute an emergency on my part.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    212
    Have you considered proper ventilation? Your house may or may not need it, but if you do have "stale" air, it can also contribute to those issues.

    I am a homeowner going through the same thing you are. Not with duct cleaning, but with getting sick issues and trying to resolve it. Good luck.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Raleigh,NC.
    Posts
    355
    30 yrs. is a lot of dust. i usually advise replacement. eclipse is right on the money along with filtration should get your desired results .
    remember, with electronics; when its brown,its cooking and when its black, its done!!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    garland, texas
    Posts
    662
    If the wife's not happy, nobody in the house is gonna be happy. 85 bucks to make her happy is cheap. It may be a poor job/scam but she will never know unless you show her all those EPA reports and then you may have to spend hundreds or even thousands to convince her its done right.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    28
    Quote Originally Posted by totaleclipse View Post
    Just curious, any nose bleeds??? I would look into getting a hygrometer to measure the humidity level in the house, or lack there of. Im probly going to get pounded for this, but if anyone is getting nose bleeds, it is likely due to low humidity. When your nose bleeds, there is an open passage for viruses, etc. to go straight into your blood stream, bypassing the bodys natural filter. Just one of many possible explinations. Read the above link and I think you will learn a lot. There is also more info on this site and other sites than you could read in a life time. Just go to a search engine and type in IAQ, you will see what I mean. As for the duct cleaning coupon, save your money and get a babysitter and take your wife out for a nice dinner, you will get more for your money that way IMO.
    Hygrometer reads in 30% + range. I have been vacilliating for awhile on whole house humidification(again I have posts somewhere here about it). Only occasional nosebleeds om ny oldest, and that is usally when he is on Benadryl. Thanks for the input I'll check out the EPA site. Like I said I think it's a waste of money. BUT, the boss wants it so....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    997
    I will totally agree that if not done correctly duct cleaning is a waste of money. So would installing a unit badly. But the dirt and dust needs to be cleaned out of the duct. The dirt is a food source for mold. To help insure that mold does not grow Id get it cleaned. It will take 5 to 8 hrs to do an average size home and $89.00 will not cover that time.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    North Richland Hills, Texas
    Posts
    14,914
    Even with the best duct cleaning equipment and most highly trained personel using the very best practices, the vast majority of duct cleaning is a useless waste of money that does nothing to improve IAQ, reduce dust or improve the performance of the system.
    There are cases where it is needed, but they are very few and far between. Billions of dollars have been spent on a service that has no measurable benefit.

    For a good editorial on duct cleaning, read this. Lots of interesting links to follow. http://hphaa.com/editorials/index.htm
    If more government is the answer, then it's a really stupid question.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    4H: Hot, Humid Houston H.O.
    Posts
    3,304
    I would consider it more hazardous to clean ducts if they are flex. As a homeowner I had it done one time, on a house that had hard duct. Never could tell if it did any good, the house was dusty before and it was dusty after. Mostly I think this is a business of selling a placebo.

    On the other hand, having a catalog of placebos to satisfy your better half, just might make her happier. I would also try to include some things that are not placebos, such as good media filters, maybe conspicuous room filtering appliances.

    If the system is flex, won't the cleaning process be likely to damage the ducts?

    Best of luck -- Pstu

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    212
    Like is always said before on this site, you must find the source of the problem and go from there. Clean ducts or not, if you have other issues such as humidity or lack of proper air exchanges, or whatever else can be making your house give you health concerns, then those issues should be dealt with accordingly.

    Cleaning the ducts is like taking vitamin c if you "don't feel well". It may or may not help. Most likely, not. Get to the root of the "problem", if there is one. It's worth a check of your system and house.

    I would not discount my house making me sick. It can happen.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    724

    Hmm Indoor Air QUANTITY

    I have copied and posted some important comments. The first is by far the most important: If the wife's not happy, nobody in the house is gonna be happy

    Now some questions: 2 year old Thermo-Pride oil heater Does it have outside air for combustion? What about the hot water tank? With young kids I assume the dryer runs daily, does the dryer have an outside air intake?

    The reason for the questions is your following statement: We have Anderson windows and doors. I sealed up the basement windows with plastic. WHY DID YOU PUT PLASTIC ON THE BASEMENT WINDOWS? Were there spider webs on them? Do you know what an “infinite loop” is and how it applies to your home?

    And the following : Get to the root of the "problem",
    I would not discount the house making you sick. It can/does happen.

    To improve Indoor Air Quality, control Indoor Air “QUANTITY!”
    The quality of my performance, sometimes depends on the quality of my audience.
    Imitation (Plagiarism) is the best compliment one can get -- "Open A Window"

    To improve Indoor Air Quality: Control Indoor Air QUANTITY = "I.A.Q.Q."

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    28
    Quote Originally Posted by cissado View Post
    Have you considered proper ventilation? Your house may or may not need it, but if you do have "stale" air, it can also contribute to those issues.

    I am a homeowner going through the same thing you are. Not with duct cleaning, but with getting sick issues and trying to resolve it. Good luck.
    That is the crux of the problem. My wife and kids are sick alot. She read one of those flyers you get in the mail so she is convinced the ducts are the cause. She is also thinking it may be the water doing it. Her father told her well water can make you sick. (This after we just spent about 10K on a new 300ft well )

    Quote Originally Posted by Xavier View Post
    I have copied and posted some important comments. The first is by far the most important: If the wife's not happy, nobody in the house is gonna be happy

    Now some questions: 2 year old Thermo-Pride oil heater Does it have outside air for combustion? What about the hot water tank? With young kids I assume the dryer runs daily, does the dryer have an outside air intake?

    The reason for the questions is your following statement: We have Anderson windows and doors. I sealed up the basement windows with plastic. WHY DID YOU PUT PLASTIC ON THE BASEMENT WINDOWS? Were there spider webs on them? Do you know what an “infinite loop” is and how it applies to your home?

    And the following : Get to the root of the "problem",
    I would not discount the house making you sick. It can/does happen.

    To improve Indoor Air Quality, control Indoor Air “QUANTITY!”
    The windows where sealed to keep outside air from infiltrating and sucking out the humidity in the winter. I had considered a whole house humidifier but after reading some advice here I wanted to make sure there was not another cause for the low humidity. Last year we where down in the low 20%'s on the hygrometer. After sealing, we are above 30%, but we have had a relativley wet and mild winter. It may just be a coincidence. I don't want to humidify and risk mold growth.

    The heater was installed by ThermoPride dealer. I don't have an outside air intake for it, at least not that I am aware of. The hot water tank is electric and in the basement, next to the heater. The dryer only has a outside vent. Should I have not sealed up the basement windows?

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