Duct Cleaning For House With Gas, Forced Hot Air Heating System ?

Hello:
Son just moved into a house that has gas, forced hot air heating (in New England) The ducts are also used for A/C system where the condenser is mounted outside the house.
Realize this is a pretty general question, but nobody in family has ever had this type of heating system before:
How often is it a "good idea" to hire a duct-cleaning company to come in and clean out all the duct work ?
Can't know for sure, but it wouldn't surprise me if it hasn't ever been done since the house was built 25 yrs ago.
BTW: how do they do this ?
Thanks, Bob
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Hello:
Son just moved into a house that has gas, forced hot air heating (in New England) The ducts are also used for A/C system where the condenser is mounted outside the house.
Realize this is a pretty general question, but nobody in family has ever had this type of heating system before:
How often is it a "good idea" to hire a duct-cleaning company to come in and clean out all the duct work ?
Can't know for sure, but it wouldn't surprise me if it hasn't ever been done since the house was built 25 yrs ago.
BTW: how do they do this ?
Thanks, Bob
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It can be worthless and temporarily harmfull to you as it was to me. My ducts are 50 yrs old with floor returns. A very expenive 10000$ I was told large Hepa vac was used, the size of a 5 ft refrigerator and sanitiser was used. It cleaned them but then I got sick for a week, I guess all the sealed in mold , cat dander, [ im alergic to cat ] , old tennants had, etc etc was loosened into the airstream even though the job was thorough.
Is it necessary, well it depends if filters were used properly and dust is hard, no. If the house is empty and there is mold maybe. Get a few pros to look.
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Robert11 wrote:

For many if not most homes the answer is NEVER for the owners. On the there hand for the duct cleaning outfits it is ALWAYS.
There are some good reasons to do this, but I fear nearly all of the times it is done it is only due to satisfy the needs of the cleaning outfits not the home owners. Most of the rest are for people with special allergy and mold problems.
You just moved in and I would guess you haven to have your HVAC system checked out by a competent HVAC tech yet. I suggest you have that done. The tech should be able to determine the need for duct cleaning.
Before the days of the franchised duct cleaners, we lived rather well without getting them cleaned. I lived about 20 years in one home and I am sure they were never cleaned, yet we all survived and did not know any better. Today those selling the service are telling us we all need something that frankly few do.

--
Joseph Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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One reason I had mine done I could never find those 2 bats , mouse and chipmunk that came in, they were not in the bag after cleaning, maybe the dog was hungry or they will turn up someday.
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There is an advice page on my website which addresses duct cleaning. Never use a sealer, but disinfection and fogging is not a bad idea if you are getting it done. Do not trust anyone that takes pictures of your returns as a reason for duct cleaning, everyone's returns are gross.
--
Bob Pietrangelo
snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net
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Pull down the registers one by one and use a shop vac and a brush for all of the areas that you can reach. If it is really dirty it will be apparent. The ~$100 specials advertised here are just that. I would not be to concerned unless the family is sensitive to allergens.
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unless you have a specific reason, never is usually often enough.
randy
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This is Turtle.
1] If you keep a clean filter in your system , you should never need to clean your ducts. Duct cleaning is for people who run systems without a filter for a year or two and then decide to put a filter back in it after the evaperator coil cleaning cost that hit them.
2] How Often to clean your ducts ? Every 100 years or everytime you run the system a year or two without a filter. Pull a discharge register closest to the furnace and inspect for build up of dust at that point and you will see if someone did not keep up with the filter or not.
3] Watch out for the $100 or $200 specials cleaning offers for if they really clean the ducts like they should. They will not do it for chump change of $100 or $200 for you will really work cleaning them properly. A Duct cleaning company that really cleans the duct properly will not talk to you for $100 or $200 . Now if you get a play around duct cleaning company. A $100 or $200 is good money to play around with. Most $100.00 duct cleaning special companys that offer it is just a come on to get to look at your cooling or heating system to sell you something.
4] Here is what I would do. Get you a shop vac and pull all the discharge registers in all the rooms. Vacuum the grills off or wash them as need be. You may even paint them if need. Vacuum out all the discharge boxes and duct as far as you can reach into them. Re install the grills. Cut the electric power to the furnace and return air grill and vacuum all the area very good in the furnace and the area under or above the furnace. put all the stuff back. Then get you a good Media filter for your system and install it. Then get you a bottle of [ Bio-Fresh cd only and not just Bio Fresh ] and spray the filter about 4 or 5 good sprays and run the fan for about 1 hour to circulate the air to get the [ Bio-Fresh cd only ]to get to your whole house. Here is a look at the stuff and look & read closely about other knock off forms of it. http://www.nucalgon/website.nsf/0/9C98E2010C614D6586256BA30062A961?OpenDocument
They also have a place to buy it is different areas of the country where it says [ Where To Buy ] Put you State in there and it will give location of places to buy it. I don't have anything in the buying or selling it but i use it in my HVAC business and it works.
So Here You Go.
TURTLE
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I noticed nobody described the process, so I'll give it a whack:
They came to our house with a truck-mounted something or other that sounded like a jet taxiing. They cut small holes in the exposed ductwork (which they later plugged), and fed in both a suction hose to remove the dust and a smaller hose-like object that writhed like a snake whose purpose was to shake things loose in the inaccessible areas. They also went in through the various vents.
My wife had this done in a futile attempt to cut down on the amount of dust that blows around the house. It didn't work. I wouldn't do it again.
--
Regards,

Jerry Schwartz
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Robert11 wrote:

This is answered all the time in this newsgroup. The answer is NEVER. My house is more than 25 years old and duct cleaning would be a total waste. Save the money and change the filter every 3 months instead of the recommended 6 months or so. if you are worried about mold, the most likely place is the ac exchanger in the furnace unit. Cleaning that is standard as part of annual AC maintenance. Duct cleaning is basically a scam based on fear of mold which is not normally a consideration in home cold air returns (an exception would be if water is leaking into the duct system, in which case structure failure is a greater consideration).
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I would recommend checking the filter EVERY month and change it when it gets dirty. I have seen houses that need filter changes every 2 weeks and some that could 6 months and everything in between. In my area about a month seems to be the most common. As for duct cleaning, if you have unlined metal ducts it may be OK in some cases. If you do it make sure the contractor is NADC certified. I will not do it in my HVAC business because I do not believe it is worth it. Most ducts in my area are duct board and flex that are dificult to clean and can be damaged by the process. Use caution if you proceed. With 50 year old ducts, most likely they are unlined sheet metal.
Stretch
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Robert11 wrote:

In many if not most homes, it is NEVER a good idea for the home owner. It is ALWAYS a good idea for the guys selling duct cleaning.
It sounds to me that it is time for you to have a competent professional HVAC tech examine your system and make recommendations which may include duct cleaning as well as servicing of the basic systems. Since you just moved in it is not likely you have reliable information about their current condition.

I lived in a home for over 30 years and never had it done. Back then we did not have all those outfits telling us we needed it done and funny, we never suffered at all. :-)

--
Joseph Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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I actually just got a quote on that the other day. It seems that for allergies (prevalent in Oklahoma) you need to do it every 7-10 years. I personally have never had it done, but all my vents are ceiling mounted. This is different because since both units use the same work, you tend to have air blowing them consistently. Now this is assuming that you clean out your filter regularly. If you have floor vents, you probably want to get the cleaned out a little more often since that is usually one of the key places that you get mildew first (besides a basement).
Scot Lilly snipped-for-privacy@pratamortgage.com www.pratamortgage.com

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Scott , alergies are everywhere, if filters are good, not fiberglass junk and kept clean then ducts will remain clean. Im sure whoever said 7-10 yrs was the salesman. As WC fields used to say.
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I have installed a dreyer vent hose to the outside of my house and connected it to the return duct of my furnace just before the filter. When the furnace blower runs, it sucks in fresh air through the vent from outside and mixes it with the return air from the house. Keeps the house nice and fresh in the winter.
Mark
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malkober you mean you are sucking in air from thr dryer hose, that lint filled hose! And when the dreyer runs gas to! Kinda dumb.
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no,
not THE dryer house,, its a seperate hose that leads outside LIKE a dryer vent hose. It is not connected to the dryer in any way. This hose runs from outside to the return duct only. Yeah, hooking it to the dryer also would be kinda dumb.
Mark
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I had it done by the contractor, when they replaced the furnace and a/c.
There were specific problems where the ducts had been plugged up by bird debris, so it needed it.
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