Air duct cleaning


Hello,
We're planning to have air duct cleaning done soon, and I've read through some advertisements and have more questions than answers.
#1. One guy claims that they use a 200HP "Monster Vac" - a unit on the truck of a car that stays outside the house, and is thus "mess free". They say that they're better than others because other companies use hand-held or indoor vacuums that are not as powerful and might leave some dust inside the house. Is that true?? Is the outdoor, truck-powered unit better than indoor ones?
#2. This guy (with the Monster Vac) says that in order to access the duct system from the outside, they need to create an "access door" or an "access panel" (for an additional charge). Could anyone explain what this is, please? How damaging is it to the house/duct system?
#3. They offer sanitizing for additional $40. Do you know what chemicals they use? How effective is it? Will this solution be spread around the air in the house once the AC is turned on?
#4. This same guy also told me that there is no such license for Air Duct Cleaning (in Nassau County, NY, anyway), and since their company only does Air Duct Cleaning, they are not licensed. He underlined several times that it's not because they don't want to you can't get one, but because there is no such license. He says that other companies have licenses because they offer other services that require licenses. But since this guy offers no other services, he's ok without a license. IS THAT TRUE?
Thank you so much for your replies! I greatly appreciate your help!!
Elana
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I posted a similar question about a month ago and many of the posters said is was basically a waste of money.
I had it done anyway because my house is 50+ years old and I have 2 dogs, so I find alot of hair in the filter.
My cost was $150 for a one heater unit, all ducts and returns included. Plus I did get the deodorizing/sanitizing done, but that was given at no additional charge.
For my access point they just uncrimped the seal at the end of one of my main outlets near the unit. When they were done they simply put it back on and sealed it. I would imagine if they couldn't do that they would have cut an access hole in the duct and then closed it back up when finished. If they do this to your system make sure they close AND seal it.
They also have brushes that they can put into the ducts to clean break loose anything that may be on the walls of your ducts.
After having it done he showed me the difference in the before and after and it was sufficient in my mind to put out the money. I also found less dirt in my filter the first time I changed it since I had them cleaned.

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You asked if cleaning the ducts would improve the air flow, and you were told not to expect that. As for a the cleaning itself, it is absurd to suggest that it would be a waste of money. If the ducts have an inch of dirt in them, is it a waste? Do you vacuum your house?
I posted about my experience, and I didn't think it was a waste of time at all. If you did it once every year, it would be a waste.
As far as the question of disinfecting from the OP, they shouldn't expect miracles, but the disinfectant will disinfect what it reaches. If the cause of mold or whatever remains, then the disinfectant will have a temporary effect.
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Elana; The company I used was Cunningham. The do residental, commercial etc.
The price I got from them was 300.00
Cheaper than others (at least around here) but then again they were here for about 4 - 5 hours doing their job. The really did pull allot of dirt out of the intake registers, more than I expected.
Overall I was happy with the job. I was thinking of doing the job with the shopvac but for two guys to work that long 300.00 wasnt exactly outragous.
Tom

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Elana; I am in Nassau County myself. Anywho I had the whole thing done a few years ago. The guys I had used a big vacuum outside the house on a truck. They ran big vacuum hoses to my basement cut a hole into the duct by the furnace and made some suction. They went all around the house removed the ducts and went in with to them with big brushes. Areas that they couldnt do they either removed the endcap or made a access hole. Later on they sealed everything up and that was it.
I think it was 100 and change for it.
Tom

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On May 2, 12:47 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Tom, would you, by any chance, be able to give a reference?
Thanks, Elana
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I'll check my files for the name of the company when I get home later on today.
Some say its not worth it. To me it was. After 50 years of never being cleaning the amount of animal hair, dust and dirt was worth getting out of the system. In the past the house smelled bad when the system was first used in the heating season. After the cleaning that all went away. I will say the returns are the most important vents to clean. They suck in all the stuff in the air. The heating vents themselves are basically clean air (they pass through multiple filters in my home)
Tom

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elanamig wrote:

<snip>
Absolutely, positively, definitely a waste of money. Might possibly be worth it if you're living in a remodeled sawmill or foundry. Sure you can find a smidgen of dirt in all ductwork, but it is light years away from being detrimental to your health or cleanliness. Get the best estimate you can and instead of having the work done, send that money to a charity of your choice. That way the $$ will actually do some good. Cheers,
Joe
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I guess this is more of a comfort issue. It's not that terribly expensive, and our ducts do look quite dirty from what I've seen when opening the registers. We recently bought this house, so I have no idea when/how the ducts were cleaned the last time. Having a "fresh" start will give me some peace of mind.
Elana
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elanamig wrote:

First answer this question "Why do I think I need the ducts cleaned?" While it would seem logical that they would need cleaning and certainly the duct cleaning industry makes every effort to tell everyone that they need to have them cleaned or terrible things will happen, in reality 97.52% of the time it is a total waste of time and money.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia \'s Muire duit
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If all they do is use a vacuum, then I doubt it will do much good. When I had mine done, they stuffed an air hose down the "house-end" of the air vents. On the end of the hose was a swirling head with a few pieces of rubber to spin around & loosen up the dust & dirt. At the "furnace-end" they attached some kind of vacuum that then sucked all the dirt out kicked up by the air hose thingy.
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