The inside of your house is an environment all-its-own. Albeit, a little one, but because we’re becoming more-and-more aware of indoor air pollution, we know that dirty air inside can lead to health-related issues.
While people freak-out over mold, some of the stuff in our air ducts can be just as dangerous. While allergies and asthma might be traced back to what we’re breathing in our houses, there’s no proof that by cleaning your ducts you will prevent health problems.
However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) believes that we should have our systems inspected every-so-often by a pro. You might discover that there are contaminants like mold living on the walls of your home’s air circulation system. When there’s build-up, stuff like dust, bacteria, mites, fungus and mold love to make this “fluff” their nesting grounds.
Cleaning your air ducts should only be done when it’s really needed.
Hiring a professional is recommended if a couple of factors are met:
• The air ducts in your home are not easily accessible
• The discovery that mold is everywhere in the system
• You simply want the job to be as through as possible
Let’s say you decide to take on this project yourself. To make sure you’re not elbow-deep in the job when the AC cranks-up, turn off the system.
Take off the dust covers and place them outside. Hose them down after squirting them with a mild spray cleaner. Back inside, slap on a surgical mask, some protective goggles and rubber gloves.
Vacuum-out the duct with that round, little brush attachment that comes with your vacuum cleaner. It’s a good idea to use duct tape to keep the attachment from coming off while it’s deep in the vent. Once that’s done, stick a flashlight’s beam into the duct. Once you’re satisfied that you’ve sucked-up everything that was affixed to the wall, get a nice long pole, tape a moist rag to the end and finish-off the job.
Some of us just aren’t all that interested in tackling home projects. Or maybe the job is too big for you to deal with. Whatever the case, you’d rather have someone who does this type of work professionally come and clean-out your system.
Before just throwing a dart at your yellow pages, here are some things to think about when choosing a company to handle the dirty work:
• How do they actually do the job? Are they going to use biocides or other types of chemicals in performing the task? You’ll want to find out this before hiring because quite a few of these “treatments” can be harmful. Aside from the health concern, they’re mostly window-dressing and unnecessary.
• Many states require a license to perform this type of work. Check local standards with the Better Business Bureau and act accordingly.
• How long has the company been cleaning air ducts?
• Before beginning the project, will the contractor inspect the system and give you a free estimate?
• How will the company ensure that once they are finished, if they use any “wet” methods of cleaning, that mold will not grow back?
• What type of filtration system will the contractor provide so that as they do the job they don’t get dust all-over the place?
The final thing to note is that cleaning your air ducts should only be done when it’s really needed. Never trust a company who offers you a “schedule” to clean the vents at various future intervals. If that happens, the scam-buzzer should go off – loudly.