I have never had central AC before and I don't know what to do. Several places are advertising to clean the vents, but I've heard people say it is a waste since they can't get all the way up the vent. What do you do?
Are you talking about your intake and outake areas? If so, you can just clean them off yourself. You can dust them off or maybe take them off and wash them outside. If a company is saying about cleaning all the ducts...I wouldn't do that because they'll be putting chemicals into your air system that don't need to be there anyway. But if you're just talking dusting them off and keeping them clean and free of debris, I think that's ok.
EPA ventilation info
I don't clean the ducts but I do spray lysol up into it when cleaning the filters. I can tell you what I learned about the hard way. You have to use a wet vac and suck the glop and algae out from your drip pipe often. The first time my system iced up and stopped working the AC guy that came out gave me the vacuum lesson.
Sorry I wasn't clear, I meant to clean the duct work. I clean the little grates, but I can't get very far inside. Some people say you should get them done to get out dust and mold, others say it doesn't work.
katkin (hey sweetie!) If you have good heppa filters in place that will help keep the ducts cleaner. Once a year, Dennis does the guck removal with a wet vac and he practically dismantles the AC/Heating unit to make sure it is in good order and free of bung(ya know...stuff) cleans all the coils and checks all connections...it's a guy thing. His son worked in AC too so that has helped. As far as getting into the far reaches of the ducts, i would guess that would take going into attic crawl space, dismantling and cleaning as far as you can rech. I have allergies, and what Dennis does seems to help but i can't get any more technical than that.
There are companies advertise that they clean out the duct work. They have like a long vacuum hose with a brush and can go in 35 ft. Supposed to remove dust, mites and mold then they spray for the mold with it too. I wonder if anyone bothers with this. Someone else said it wasn't very effective, even maybe bad, if they were to poke a hole.
Generally, cleaning the duct work isn't a regular maintenance requirement. There will always be some dust there and once you clean it, there will be dust there again instantly. Change the filter at the AC unit and you should be fine.
However, if you and your family continually have bad allergy problems, then you may want to consider it. But have an assessment done by a certified mold company, not by the company that would be selling you the duct cleaning!
Thanks Kate and all the rest, we always keep the filters changed and buy the hepa type. I don't think we have any allergy problems to speak of so I guess we don't need to get this done. Hmmm, some extra money for plants. lol
I had my ducts cleaned last year because I developed severe allergies. I was grossed out at the amount of mold on the A/C unit up in the attic. I also run a HEPA 24/7 and it has reallly seemed to help me as well.
When we had the unit serviced last year, I asked the a/c man (who has been in the business for years and now his son does most of the work) if I needed to have the ducts cleaned and he said no. He also said the most important thing is to change the filter every month and not to burn a lot of candles. It seems that the Yankee candles are the worst ones to burn. I have also heard this from a neighbor who has been an apt. complex maintenance manager for years.
I had it done. The house had belonged to a smoker and I was trying to get the smell out (my son has allergies). It didn't seem to make any difference. I ended up having to replace everything but the ductwork a couple of months later. At that time the ACguy said some of my duct connections were lose and he fixed them. He said not to waste money on duct cleaning because most times they break the ducts apart & all the cool air goes into the attic. I asked my other A/C guy in SoFla about this and he agreeded. Both said the most important thing was to replace filters at least every month (more if you smoke) and to buy the upgraded filters (like the HEPA's) and not to be tempted to buy cheaper ones because in the end...you really end up paying for them.
Our A.C. repairman told me never to spray Lysol in the ducts, it asks as a solvent and dissolves the seals.
Beware that some companies will clean your ducts with no regard to what kind you have. By that, I mean what the ducts are made of. I was going to get mine cleaned after there was construction of a new house across the street. My trusted AC man said he would not touch them because they were made of fiberglass. He said the brushes would dislodge fibers that would then be floating in the air.
My home was built in 1984 and it was common to use fiberglass ducts (as well as many other inferior materials that we have been replacing!). I just thought I throw that tidbit into the conversation in case you have an older home.
EDIT - heck, I just realized that I responded to an 8-year old post! Well, the advice is the same ...