Are Your Ducts Ready for Fall
Having your air ducts cleaned by a professional can help prepare your HVAC system for cooler weather.
Your HVAC system has been working hard all summer, but the cooler months are just ahead. Here are five things you need to do to get your HVAC system ready for fall.
Change your air filters. Your HVAC system needs a clean flow of air to run efficiently. When your air filters are clogged, that air is not flowing freely and your energy costs are going up. Plus, it puts more wear and tear on the system, driving up repair costs and shortening its life. Once a month, change your air filters to prevent problems.
Clean the outside unit. You should remove any dust and debris from the unit. The accumulation can decrease the efficiency of the unit. Remove twigs, branches and leaves from inside and around the unit. A quick hose down will remove any pollen or dust. It is also a good time to inspect the unit for any damage. This is something you need to do in the spring also to keep the system running year round.
Get your heating and cooling system checked. At least once a year, you should have your heating and cooling system checked by a professional. Routine maintenance will keep the system running smoothly. While doing the maintenance, the technician may also find minor issues that are easily fixed. Catching small problems early will prevent them from becoming major later on. And that can end up costing you a lot more.
Program your thermostat. Autumn can bring some wild weather patterns, with some days hot and some days cool. Make adjustments to your thermostat's programming to handle these fluctuations. If you don't already have a programmable thermostat, getting one this fall is a great idea. It will save you money while keeping your home more comfortable.
Call SERVPRO of Natchez to schedule cleaning of your air ducts. The inside of your home's air ducts is likely coated with pollen, dust, dirt, debris and odors. To keep your home's air clean this winter, get a professional to come out and do an air duct cleaning. It is not something you need to do every year, but definitely something to do every couple of years. Taking a few minutes to get your HVAC ready for fall will give you the warmth you need as the cooler air set in.
For questions with air duct cleaning, call the professionals here at SERVPRO of Natchez at 601.304.5554.
Seven Fall Home Maintenance Must
1. Check for Peeling Paint:
Inspect exterior walls to see if any paint is peeling or blistering on the house or outbuildings. According to Carl Minchew, Director, Benjamin Moore Paints, "Peeling paint is a sign that the existing paint film is failing and can no longer protect the siding of the building. Left uncorrected, the siding itself will deteriorate, leading to expensive repairs in the future."
2. Clean the Gutters After leaves have fallen, clean out the gutters and downspouts, flush them with water, inspect joints, and tighten brackets if necessary 3. Seal Windows Up If you feel any drafts around windows or doors, address them now to help keep your energy costs down. And, check your attic insulation, too. 4. Check Your Smoke and Carbon-Monoxide Detectors Even ones that are powered through your home’s electrical system typically have a backup battery that might need replacing. 5. Check Your Roof Remove moss from sloped areas and clear any debris from gutters and downspouts. Additionally, look for signs of damage/wear and make repairs as soon as possible. Use binoculars if you need to. Fall is no time for a leaky roof! 6. Fall Cleaning Clean and tune your furnace, boiler and/or water heater, along with your oven and range. 7. Review Your Fire Escape Plan Every bedroom, including basement bedrooms, should have two exit paths. Make sure windows aren't blocked by furniture or other items. Ideally, each upper-floor bedroom should have a rope ladder near the window for emergency exits. Review what to do in case of fire, and arrange a safe meeting place for everyone away from the house.
NADCA had some fantastic frequently asked questions so I had to share...
Are there any health benefits that come from HVAC system cleaning?
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems have been shown to collection a variety of contaminants such as mold, fungi, bacteria and very small particles of dust that have the potential to affect overall health. The removal of such contaminants from the HVAC system and home should be considered one component in an overall plan to improve indoor air quality.
How can I determine if the HVAC system cleaning was effective?
The best way to determine if the HVAC system cleaning was effective is to perform a visual inspection of the system before and after cleaning. If any dust or debris can be seen during the visual inspection, the system should not be considered cleaned. While you can perform your own visual inspection using a flashlight and mirror, a professional cleaning contractor should be able to allow you better access to system components and perhaps the use of specialized inspection tools. In addition, following the Residential Cleaning Checklist can help to ensure a top quality
How often should residential HVAC systems be cleaned?
Frequency of cleaning depends on several factors, not the least of which is the preference of the homeowner. Some of the things that may lead a homeowner to consider more frequent cleaning include:
- smokers in the household
- pets that shed high amounts of hair and dander
- water contamination or damage to the home or HVAC system
- residents with allergies or asthma who might benefit from a reduction in the amount of indoor air pollutants in the home’s HVAC system
- after home renovations or remodeling
- prior to occupancy of a new home.
How should a residential HVAC system be cleaned?
The most effective way to clean air ducts and ventilation systems is to employ source removal methods of cleaning. This requires a contractor to place the system under negative pressure, through the use of a specialized, powerful vacuum. While the vacuum draws air through the system, devices are inserted into the ducts to dislodge any debris that might be stuck to interior surfaces. The debris can then travel down the ducts to the vacuum, which removes it from the system and the home.
What are antimicrobial chemicals and why would they need to be used?
Antimicrobial chemicals are applied by some companies to the interior surface of the air ducts to treat microbial contamination such as fungi (mold), viruses or bacteria. Before any antimicrobial chemicals are used, the system should be thoroughly cleaned. It is critical that any antimicrobial treatment used in your system be registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency specifically for use in HVAC systems. The use of antimicrobial chemicals is an additional service that is not part of a typical air duct cleaning project. Review the NADCA White Paper on Chemical Applications in HVAC Systems for more information.
What criteria should I use when selecting an HVAC system cleaning contractor?
You should interview as many local contractors as possible. Ask them to come to your home and perform a system inspection and give you a quote. To narrow down your pool of potential contractors, use the following pre-qualifications:
- Make sure the company is a member in good standing of NADCA.
- See if the company has been in business long enough to have adequate experience.
- Get proof that the company is properly licensed and adequately insured.
- Verify that the company is certified by NADCA to perform HVAC system cleaning.
- Make sure that the company is going to clean and visually inspect all of the air ducts and related system components.
- Avoid advertisements for “$99 whole house specials” and other sales gimmicks.
- Ask if the company has the right equipment to effectively perform cleaning, and if the company has done work in homes similar to yours.
- Get references from neighbors if possible.
You can also use the Residential Cleaning Checklist as part of the contractor selection process.
What is the normal price range for the air duct cleaning service?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that “duct cleaning services typically – but not always – range in cost from $450 to $1,000 per heating and cooling system, depending on the services offered, the size of the system to be cleaned, system accessibility, climactic region and level of contamination” and type of duct material. Consumers should beware of air duct cleaning companies that make sweeping claims about the health benefits of duct cleaning, as such claims are unsubstantiated.
Consumers should also beware of “blow-and-go” air duct cleaning companies. These companies often charge a nominal fee and do a poor job of cleaning the heating and cooling system. These companies may also persuade the consumer to pay for unneeded services with and/or without their permission. (If you have knowledge of a practicing “blow-and-go” air duct cleaner, contact your local Better Business Bureau to report the company, and your local, federal and state elected officials to demand legislation.)
What kind of equipment is best for cleaning - truck mounted vacuums or portable vacuums?
NADCA does not endorse one kind of equipment over another. There are two main types of vacuum collection devices: (1) those mounted on trucks and trailers, and (2) portable units. Truck/trailer mounted equipment is generally more powerful than portable equipment. However, portable equipment can often be brought directly into a facility, allowing the vacuum source to be located closer to the ductwork. Both types of equipment will clean to ACR, the NADCA standard. All vacuum units should be attached to a collection device for safe containment prior to disposal. Any vacuum collection device which exhausts indoors must be HEPA filtered. A vacuum collection device alone will not get an HVAC system clean. The use of methods and tools designed to agitate debris adhered to the surfaces within the system, in conjunction with the use of the vacuum collection device(s), is required to clean HVAC systems. (For example: brushes, air whips and “skipper balls.”)
Why should I choose a NADCA member to have my air ducts cleaned?
NADCA members have signed a Code of Ethics stating they will do everything possible to protect the consumer and follow ACR, the NADCA Standard, for cleaning to the best of their ability. Find a NADCA professional near you. Air duct cleaning companies must meet strict requirements to become a NADCA member. Among those requirements, all NADCA members must have a certified Air System Cleaning Specialist (ASCS) on staff who has taken and passed the NADCA certification examination. Passing the exam demonstrates extensive knowledge in HVAC design and cleaning methodologies. ASCSs are also required to further their industry education by attending seminars in order to maintain their NADCA certification status. View the NADCA Code of Ethics.
Will HVAC system cleaning reduce our home energy bills?
Research by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has demonstrated that HVAC system cleaning may allow systems to run more efficiently by removing debris from sensitive mechanical components. Clean, efficient systems are less likely to break down, have a longer life span and generally operate more effectively than dirty systems.
Courtesy of nadca.com
Duct Cleaning Process:
- The process begins by using patented equipment including a roto-scraper, which automatically adapts to the duct's shape an diameter while traveling through the duct, removing debris and filth before vacuuming begins.
- Next, a powerful push-pull air delivery and collection system transfers the debris from the ducting to a 16-gallon container.
- Air is filtered through a HEPA filtration system, removing 99.97 percent of particles in the airstream. HEPA filters capture debris and keep the environment clean.
- As an optional process, a sealant or coating product may be sprayed to address odor to microbial concerns.
- Filters will either be cleaned or replaced to remove odor and dirt.
Duct cleaning may not always be necessary. SERVPRO of Natchez will inspect your HVAC system and ductwork and make recommendations about the best way to address any indoor air quality concerns. This inspection can save you money and provide peace of mind on the health of your HVAC system and ductwork.
In some circumstances, such as after fire, smoke or suspected mold growth, duct cleaning becomes an essential part of the cleanup process. In these cases, SERVPRO of Natchez can often restore the HVAC system and ductwork to pre-damage condition.