Furnace Cleaning/ Duct Cleaning

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During wintertime, the furnace air has been drying out the family sinuses. Also, we have been sick a few times. While investigating, I thought maybe it was a furnace issue.
I had a reputable furnace man out. He suggested having the furnace cleaned/AC cleaned and each air duct cleaned. For a total of $500.
I have heard that the furnace/AC cleaning is a good idea. I have also heard that duct cleaning is just a scam, because the filter picks up the dirt that would be in the duct.
Any thoughts on that?
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how will spending the $500 prevent sinuses from drying out? isn't that a humidity issue?

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Sennin wrote:

Being sick from time to time is part of life. During winter being close together and dry air tend to increase the chance of illness.
Your furnace heats air and that decreases the humidity.
I suggest you contact a doctor about what your particular health issues may be. The doctor may recommend correcting the humidity or may suggest that you may have a mold - dust issue. Right now you are just guessing and we are not doctors here and neither is your HVAC man.
It is a fact that there are cases where ducts should be cleaned, but not often. There are also many cases where people are convinced they need ducts cleaned when they don't need them cleaned.

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Joseph Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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Then again, an average family of 4 evaporate about 2 gallons of water per day. In an airtight house, the relative humidity would quickly rise to 100% in wintertime, limited by condensation on windows.
A 2400 ft^2 1-story house contains 2400x8x0.075 = 1440 pounds of air. At 70 F and 100% RH, it would contain about 0.015832x1440 = 22.8 pounds of water vapor. A family of 4 could increase the RH from 50 to 100% in 0.5x22.8/(2x8.33) = 0.68 days, ie 16.4 hours, or less, given a few more green plants and indoor window surfaces cooler than 70 F.
Forget the furnace. Caulk the house.
Nick
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snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu wrote:

An interesting thought, but I have never heard of a house coming anywhere close to 100%. It would be a very unusual home, even a very tight home to get up to a good 40-60% humidity level during winter in a cold climate without additional humidification. Homes are not even close to airtight and I sure would not want to live in one. The space station is not a very comfortable place to live.

Caulk is not going to do it for most homes. I fear the realities of home construction get in the way of your theory, even though the theory is correct.

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Joseph Meehan

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... >> ... Homes

Eggxactly one of the missing details in that anal-ysis; and besides, you wouldn't live for -long- in one! But then, you wouldn't be able to get in, either. Hmm, unless you sealed it up from the inside? <g> GAK!
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Perhaps you live in an insular world.
Some Canadian houses are very airtight (eg 2.5 cfm for a 2400 ft^2 house.) We recently saw one posting from a person in Ontario with such a house. Some of us ridiculed his "confusion" as to how to reduce the indoor RH with a small existing exhaust fan, without realizing that's a technique recommended in Canadian building codes. Right now there's some concern that people living in such houses are not aware their exhaust fans are intended to be used for DEhumidification in wintertime.

Agreed, in the US.

In the US. People in other countries are smarter :-)

You might, with a simple automatic means for positive ventilation.

Caulk is a large part of the picture, along with other means of air sealing and blower door testing.
Nick
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If you caulk the outside and make the home that tight ( which isn't going to happen in an older home unless you use a fire hose) you will encounter mold and condensation in the walls and actually increase your heating bills due to conduction. If your going to seal any structure you always do it on the warm side and not the cold side.

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On 8 Jan 2005 15:51:13 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu wrote:

Ventilator vs an Energy Recovery Ventilator (captures humidity) to deal with air exchange and freshness issues? Is there an infiltration rate that would suggest and ERV over a plain jane HRV?

Karl Pearson
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snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu wrote:

That -sounds- good; but it's a bunch of moldy bologna. Or if you prefer, BS. You might enjoy a little math work here and there but your treatment of realistic detail is dismal.
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Furnace cleaning's a good idea. They're all different, I guess, but in the two I've owned, the motors got dusty and I don't think that's good for any motor. You didn't mention what type of furnace you have, but if it's oil-fired, you DEFINITELY want it looked at once a year.
As far as the ducts, unless you KNOW you have a mold problem (and it won't only be in the ducts), it's pretty much a feel-good thing. It's cool to see all the dust come out. But, if you're using the right filters, you're in good shape.
This will generate plenty of debate: In my informal and totally unscientific research, with two furnaces in 20 years, I came to the conclusion that the middle-priced filters (around $8) seemed to do as good a job as the more expensive ones, and the cheapest ones were almost useless. I cannot document my reasons, the experiment may not be repeatable anywhere in the known universe. You also need to see what your owner's manual says about different types of filters.
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Have your furnace and A/C checked and cleaned yearly. Check your heat exchanger for cracks and/or have a CO test done. Go to your doctor and see if you are sick. Duct cleaning is always debateable. Have them show you a place or two in your ducts that is dirty then you decide if you want them cleaned. Cleaning ducts wont add humidity in your home. Id be more interested in investing that money into a humidifier, air filtering, UV light or other indoor air quality products. Those keep on working/cleaning. The duct cleaning gets finished and the dirt cycle starts all over again. Bubba
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Yeah.
You are a sucker for the charlatans and they will rob you blind.
Don't let these quacks near your home.
Fred
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wrote:

Just one exception, and a comment: First, there are companies that will actually get the ducts clean, regardless of whether it's necessary. That leads to the exception: We have a talk show here which sometimes has a home inspector as the guest. He's mentioned a few instances where he's inspected homes that sat empty for quite some time before being sold, and that somehow, mice end up in the ductwork. The clue is the mouse crap, and you don't want that gradually turning to dust and mixing with your air. If a duct inspection turns up anything other than the expected dust deposits, they're worth cleaning.
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Doug Kanter wrote:

Sidelight: When I was a kid, my folks used to drop coins into the registers so I'd clean them. It worked, and I was sure to reach in far enough to get any and all dust/paper clips, etc. that collected in there, especially that great big square return register! They had to force me the first time, but after that ... <g>
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You ever sit in your backyard and have a cool beverage? All around you are mice droppings turning to dust and you are breathing them into your lungs along with millions of decaying animals and plants. How about having your soil cleaned by your friendly reputable furnace man?
Idiot!
On Sat, 08 Jan 2005 17:10:05 GMT, "Doug Kanter"

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Any difference between the volume of air outside and the volume of air inside?
wrote:

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Of course, and presumedly also in the number of mice.
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I had my ducts cleaned, but that is because I have had a lot of birds, and they pulled a lot of debris out of the ducts.
The furnace should be inspected and cleaned every few years at least, ducts maybe after a couple of decades, they don't get much dust under normal conditions.
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'I have heard that the furnace/AC cleaning is a good idea. I have also heard that duct cleaning is just a scam, because the filter picks up the dirt that would be in the duct. Any thoughts on that?'
Seasonal furnace and a/c cleaning and maintenance is a necessity if you want to prolong the equipment life and greatly reduce a crisis . As for ductcleaning, 'if' you have allergies to dirt, spore, animal dander, mold, dustmites, etc....ductcleaning is worthwhile -- especially if your home is old. There are numerous ways which contractors clean ducts ranging from the scam way of holding a leaf blower to each register (yep !) ...to drilling 1" dia. holes every 5 feet in the main ducts then using special circulating brushes in conjunction with a super powerful vaccuum on a truck followed up by spraying the inside of the ducts with a mold killing agent. You need to find out EXACTLY HOW they do the ductcleaning so you dont get taken . If done correctly, it can have good benefits.
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