Air Duct Cleaning Process and Equipment

Now that you’ve chosen a professional to clean your air ducts-preferably one with lots of experience and certified by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA)-you may be wondering what the process will entail? Will this company be dragging lots of heavy equipment into your home? Will things need to be moved around? How long will the process take? These are good questions, and you’ll find the answers below.

First Step: Assessment

A NADCA-certified professional will first want to take a good look at your ducts and HVAC system to assess the type of cleaning necessary. This may involve removing vent covers, inserting a camera and/or a mirror, and even sampling debris and/or buildup from your ducts. What he finds will depend on the life of the inhabitants of your home (including unwanted inhabitants such as rodents), as well as the state of the ducts and HVAC system.

Particles such as dust and pollen, mold that grew during the last heavy rain when the roof leaked on the ducts, and allergens and fur from family pets or unwanted rodents are all commonly found in air ducts. Depending on the extent and type of the debris, the professional will then determine how to clean your ducts. For example, layered debris and pollutants may require alkaline cleansing agents, mold may require a special remediation protocol and EPA-registered cleaning agents, and dust may require only scrubbing and vacuuming. Your air duct cleaning professional should be able to explain what he found and how he plans to clean it.

Cleaning Equipment

Generally speaking, the equipment required to clean your air duct cleaning in St. Charles, MO should not impose too heavily on your work or living space. Cleaning equipment may include air hoses, brushes, special cleaning agents, filtration systems, and vacuums. Most companies use trucks or gas operated vacuums parked outside to power these tools. Clearing a pathway to your air vents is likely all the adjustment necessary to prepare for cleaning.

If the assessment turns up past or present moisture, and the professional suspects mold or bacteria, the air duct cleaning company may also carry equipment to collect samples (samples of the debris itself and/or of the air in your ducts) for lab analysis. If lab analysis is needed, cleaning may be delayed until the type of contaminant and appropriate cleaning agent are determined.

The Cleaning Process

A NADCA-certified professional will first will clean your vents and ducts with special air hoses and brushes. The loosen debris and dust will move toward the vacuum system and be trapped outside the home. Applying special cleaners, biocides, mold-preventatives, and/or sealants will require additional steps and are used in specific cases.

Then, depending on the plan of action you and the professional have developed to prevent future contamination of the air ducts-for example, a plan to prevent moisture intrusion, high humidity, or the growth of mold-the professional may next install a better filtration system, ultraviolet lights, and/or a dehumidifier.

Several variables determine the time the cleaning process will take-variables including the number of HVAC units and ducts, the number of workers performing the job, and the extent of cleaning necessary. Generally, cleaning the ducts of an average single-family home with one HVAC unit takes approximately three or four hours. Larger homes or businesses with multiple HVAC units-or homes whose ducts have been contaminated with mold, bacteria, or other toxic particles-may require a full day of cleaning or more, depending on the remediation protocol. In rare cases, the professional may recommend full or partial replacement of damaged or contaminated air ducts. This process may require several days and additional installation.

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