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Duct Cleaning, Believe it or Not

/Duct Cleaning, Believe it or Not
Duct Cleaning, Believe it or Not 2017-12-07T23:26:20+00:00


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By Glenn Haege (All rights reserved)

Publication date: 09/14/2002

Believe it or not, duct cleaning really does make a difference.


Dirt, dust, sawdust and construction debris can grow to be inches thick in the ductwork. This is the perfect environment for dust mites and mold.

Every fall, listeners and readers start asking if it is really necessary for them to get the ductwork in their house cleaned. I almost always say yes.

Actually, the criteria are simple: If the ducts in your house have not been cleaned in five or six years or if it has had fire or water damage or odor problems, it would be a smart idea to get the ducts cleaned.

Always remember, it doesn’t really matter if you get a recommendation from me, from a national association or from your neighbor across the street, it’s your obligation to ask for and check references to make certain that workmanship will be up to your standards.

When investigating a duct cleaning company, be sure the firm has been in the business long enough to have established some bragging rights. You also need to know that their technicians are thoroughly trained and that the firm has invested enough money in equipment to get the job done.


Clean ductwork cuts down on household dust. It permits the free passage of filtered air and improves indoor air quality.

Equipment is very important. Good portable duct cleaning equipment is available, but I prefer the big truck-mounted vacuum systems that pull 12,000 to 16,000 cubic feet per minute (cfm). By contrast, good portable units only pull 3,000 to 5,000 cfm. Ultra light, inexpensive, units that some companies use pull as little as 200 cfm and do not have the power to get the job done. 

Another question that readers often ask is whether they should pay the extra money to get the ducts sanitized. Sanitizing means either fogging in a chemical sanitizing agent such as Oxine or sanitizing the entire house with Ozone.

Oxine is the sanitizing agent of choice by the majority of duct cleaning companies.   I believe air ducts should be sanitized every other year, even if that is between duct cleanings. If your home’s ductwork has never been cleaned, or if the home has had fire or water damage, a mold problem, or if it has been standing empty for a prolonged period of time, it is a good idea to have the duct work sanitized.

I am told that Oxine destroys 99.99 percent of all mold, bacteria and spores with which it comes in contact. Though very strong, the chemical agents in Oxine become inactive within a few minutes of application.

If your home has odor problems like a house that reeks of cigarette smoke or fire damage, or there has been a great deal of sickness in the home, Ozone may be called for. Ozone molecules saturate the entire house and sanitize everything, not just the ductwork.

Don’t confuse heavy-duty Ozone generation with those 1-cubic-foot boxes you can rent or buy. When certified Ozone technologists sanitize a house, they use very large Ozone machines and it is necessary for all living things, plants as well as pets and people, to be out of the house.

The procedure uses no chemicals and usually takes a weekend. As soon as the Ozone equipment has been turned off, the house is immediately inhabitable and all plants, pets and people can come back in. The only thing you will notice is the entire house is odor free. 

Smells good, doesn’t it?

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