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Straight Talk About Keeping Those Ducts Clean

Here are answers to some common questions related to duct cleaning:

Q: A company that gave me a quote for duct cleaning said that for an extra fee, they would apply some anti-microbial spray to keep fungus and mold from growing inside the ducts. Is this a good idea?

A: Ask any company who offers the treatment to explain what risks, if any, are associated with their recommended treatment. Ultimately, the choice is yours.

Q: Duct cleaning seems expensive. Can I do it myself for less?

A: The duct cleaning companies use very specialized equipment not normally available to consumers. However, much of the dirt in ducts accumulates near the vents or registers. You can remove the vents with a screwdriver and vacuum as far as you can reach. (Many people have lost vacuum cleaning accessories in their ducts this way, so you might want to tape the vacuum cleaner accessories together before you start sticking them into the ducts!)

Q: Will changing the filters in my system prevent the ducts from getting dirty in the first place?

A: Not only will changing your filters regularly help keep your ducts and air cleaner, it also will save you money on your utility bills and extend the life of your system. Depending on conditions in your home, replace the filters every month or two.

Q: I’ve seen some fancy filters at the hardware store that claim to clean out much more dirt than regular filters. Do they work?

A: The good news is that the “high-tech” filters are indeed effective at removing dirt from the air. The bad news is that they may cause your furnace to overheat because the furnace counts on a certain amount of airflow to cool itself. Less air gets through the high-tech filters. You can try one of the filters and see what happens. If the furnace keeps cutting on and off every few minutes, it is probably not getting enough air and the safety switch is cutting it off. If this happens to you, go back to your regular filters.

Q: My doctor suggested I get an electronic air cleaner to reduce dust and mold in the air. Where do I get one?

A: These units come in both portable and central units. Portable units can be purchased at many home centers, hardware stores and department stores. To treat the entire house, have a professional heating and air-conditioning company install a central unit.

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