My wife is insisting that we have our ducts cleaned and I am curious as
to how this is done. Do the workers snake brushes through the duct work
to loosen dust/gunk? How is the debris removed? The previous owner was a
smoker so should I be concerned about smokers gunk lining the duct work?
The professionals (i.e: Steamatic, Blackmon Mooring, etc.) will use a
"rattler". It is a device on a long stiff cord that can be pushed
through the duct work and bangs around on the sides to shake loosen
debris. The rattler is more like a black tennis ball than a brush. The
debris removal comes from a large vacuum attached to the registers.
I have always wanted to examine a section of duct before and after this
treatment to see how effective it is, but have never gone to the trouble
to do so. IOW, I am a bit suspicious about how well it works.
You should probably be asking yourself (or your wife) what you expect
the duct cleaning will actually accomplish - besides lightning your
wallet by about $500.
Yeah - If there is dirt in the ducts, it should either be blown out in
normal usage, or else it just sits there and does no harm, unless it
is moist and harbors growth stuff. But then you have a bigger
problem. If there is a smoke smell, then maybe cleaning is
worthwhile. Otherwise, unless you have filters on each air outlet, I
would expect some non-removed dirt to come out into the rooms when the
system is first turned back on after the"cleaning".
Assuming you have kept up on the furnace filter changes, and have not
just sanded all the drywall in house with furnace running, main thing it
cleans is your wallet. Sure, dust and gunk builds up in there, just like
in the exhaust line from your dryer. But a month or two after they have
been cleaned, they will look just the same.
Having said that, aside from the money, it can't hurt anything, unless
they trash your grates, in-line dampers, or furnace plenum when they
cut an access hatch. They clean with big brushes (sometimes motorized)
and a monster exhaust fan. If she is insisting, you know how pointless
arguing is. Just for giggles, I'd do a few before and after swabs and
photos on your own, on biggest duct run you can get a good shot at.
Then do it again a month or two later, and lay all three baggied white
cloths and photos out side by side for her.
As to previous owner being a smoker- yes, the gunk they pull out will be
brown. If house still has that smoker smell, the cleaning may actually
help with that.
On Sunday, October 16, 2011 at 7:32:59 AM UTC-5, cj wrote:
The Horror of Blackmon Mooring Duct Cleaning Services
On the day of the service, I watched the two technicians fumble while tryin
g to find tools and other items on their truck and explaining to me that th
ey couldn't find the right tools or whips on the truck because it wasn't th
e truck they usually used. Later, while watching the technicians I became
concerned with the process, which at that time they were only using a long
ShopVac hose to remove the dust stirred up by the small whip. I called and
talked with the service manager to make sure the proper cleaning protocol
was being followed; prior to their visit I had researched best practices fr
om professionals for using duct cleaning whips and centrifugal vacuums to p
roperly evacuate dust and particles from solid HVAC ducts. I complained to
the service manager and asked him why the crew wasn't using the centrifuga
l vacuum, a few minutes later the service manager called his crew, the crew
finally brought out the large centrifugal vacuum to evacuate the dust. Th
e technicians seemed a little aggravated that they had received a call from
In combination of spraying a chemical called Microban and maybe some other
chemical not allowing the product to dry sufficiently, the product was blow
n throughout our home. I was then told I would have to leave the home for
two hours after the treatment. When I returned, I noticed a strong smell i
n the home and a dusty, slightly oily feel to the furniture in my house, ev
idently the product was blown throughout our home that left an acidic chemi
cal like odor on our furniture and walls.
We called Blackmon Mooring again to speak to the supervisor, at which time
we we're told he was out of the office and would call us back. We did not
hear from the supervisor for two more days after our call. After two days
the smell had not dissipated and seemed to get stronger throughout our home
, we were even noticing the smell on our clothing. We called Blackmon Moor
ing again and they (the general manager) told us they had never experienced
any issues with the product they used and that the cause must be caused by
something else. At this time we did not know what could be causing the is
sue but had decided that since Blackmon Mooring wasn't concerned with inves
tigating the issue. Being told that the problem was not their responsibilit
y and that it could not have been caused by the treatment Blackmon Mooring
did, we set off to find other reasons for the odor. All-Mold Pro later inf
ormed us that the problem was due to the moderate to high level of formalde
hyde and acetone, probably caused by the Microban and gave us two solutions
to remedy the situation, one was to continue cleaning the house as we had
been doing, which also included raising the temperature of the house and op
ening the windows in hopes of performing a "Burnout" of what chemical smell
there was, the second was also to have the house remediated with a product
called MDF-500 by a professional which would cost $5000.00 - $10,000.00 do
llars. We continued trying to clean the home on our own and performed the
burnout process. During that period we had also tried to hire the services
of Armstrong Forensics. After speaking on several occasions and divulging
the name of the company "Blackmon Mooring" the individual chemist/doctor a
t their location and explaining the situation and the company responsible,
we were told the company could not help us.
By this time my wife had started feeling dizzy, nauseous and forgetful and
I noticed that when she walked through the house she appeared to be stagger
ing, I had also begun to feel slightly disoriented. She and I had also sta
rted feeling a burning sensation, much like the kind you get when you have
sunburn. After a couple of more weeks of cleaning the house in this fashio
n, my wife had built up such a sensitivity to whatever Blackmon Mooring spr
ayed into the house that she could not be in the house for more than 10-15
minutes without beginning to feel ill.
We then decided to forward our complaint to the Better Business Bureau of A
rlington (the Joke). Soon after posting the complaint, the vice president
of operations called me on my cell phone and had expressed a concern with t
he complaint with the BBB and had asked if they were some type of equable s
olution we could come to. After receiving the reports the vice president s
aid that they had decided to handle the complaint through the BBB and their
insurance company, AIG.
We are now back in our home after 4 months and spending thousands of dollar
s to save our home, much of our personal belongings are gone, what we have
been able to save has cost us dearly and the company Blackmon Mooring has y
et to accept responsibility for the mishandling of the product.
Additionally my wife and I have become highly sensitive to chemicals scents
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