QServing central Nebraska and surrounding areas.
KC Cell: 308-440-2203
Your Prescription for Better Air
Duct Cleaning Done Right
Electrostatic Filter completely plugged on a house job we did three weeks ago.
These companies know how to charge, but this doesn't exactly guarantee that you'll 'get what you pay for'. You will very often talk to an answering service or receptionist first, who asks for your street address up front. If you live in a mobile home, an older neighborhood, or at a rural address, the chances are that you won't receive a call back. Especially in the Fall busy season when each crew is cramming two houses in every day.
*Please see the "Duct Cleaning Quality Assurance Self-Test" page of this website for specific illustrated instructions on how to test the quality of a duct cleaner's work yourself.
And don't let them sell you furnace filters. Please. Some of them are still pushing Electrostatic Filters (think Paul Harvey), which I quit selling in the mid-l990's....because nobody ever cleans them often enough. The resultant restriction of air flow can cause problems for the furnace. Or, worse yet, they'll sell you bulk disposable filters. All they do is buy them online, double the price, and have them drop-shipped to your house. Just get on the internets, go to AmericanAirFilter.com, and ship them to yourself. Your duct cleaner should be able to tell you which particulate arrestance rating is best suited to your unit and the size of area it services.
The primary focus of these 'corporate culture' type companies is usually sales, not service. They often employ aggressive 'door-to-door' type sales tactics, so just know that if you invite them to your home for a free estimate....you've already hired them. They'll sit you down at the kitchen table, trick you into saying "yes" seven times before asking, flip forwards and backwards through a picture book or brochure of 'features and benefits'.....and not leave until you schedule.
All of the ductwork that they didn't get clean....was skipped on purpose. Two houses a day is one hell of a grind. Even for two well trained technicians with all the best tools and equipment. There's no way to do a quality job on most houses in 5 hours or less...unless you only do part of it.These guys are slick, and often counter this common sense aspect of the work by actually bragging about how fast they can finish a house, so be careful folks.
The certified person is usually not the person actually doing the work, but the technicians should at least be aware of the latest industry standards and practices. They use adequate equipment too, though they don't all take the time to put round brushes through the round pipe branches, so be sure to check the work yourself.*
I have re-serviced three homes, behind three of these companies, in three different cities and states in the past year. Two because the homes were sold, and the other because of the family's persistent allergy problems. The bathroom supply vent of the master bedroom was missed in all three homes (furthest pull for hose). The ceiling vents in the basement were missed in two of them, and one half of the supply trunk was missed in one of them.
ALL OF THE INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE IS IN REFERENCE TO SPECIFIC INSTANCES, AS DISCUSSED; AND IS NOT INTENDED AS AN INDICTMENT OF ANY PARTICULAR PERSON, COMPANY, MANUFACTURER, INDUSTRY, OR CORPORATE ENTITY.
Using all the right equipment and methods
'Marquee', 'Premiere', Corporate Duct Cleaner
These companies are a better option than the aforementioned services. Just know what you're getting, and make sure they deliver on what is promised. These companies actually clean the Furnace properly as advertised, so this is a definite plus. Cleaning the furnace is essential to keep it running efficiently, and can also extend the life of it.
I did not clean the ducts in this home, so there aren't as many photos. I was there looking for a rodent, but you get the picture.
The ductwork in a 60 year old home will never look brand new again, but you gotta do your best. It is always possible to get the worst of the filth out of old ducts without tearing them apart.
Slideshow:Bargain Service in Older Home (after remodel) Using 110v Portable Electric Duct Vacuum
Slideshow:Ducts in Newer Home Cleaned by Bargain Service with 110 volt Electric Portable Duct Vacuum
Slideshow: Ducts Cleaned by Handyman/Home Repair Service Using Canister Vacuum with Cable Driven Rotary Brushes
Bargain duct cleaners very often: don't pull ceiling vents, don't pull return grilles high up on the walls, don't pull the blower fan, or access the inside of the evaporator coils for proper cleaning. They almost never actually get the furnace clean, despite what they're advertising. Sometimes....they really don't do anything at all, as in the slideshows below. I photographed the ducts in these homes shortly after they were 'cleaned' by a bargain service. It appears that a whip was used in some of the ducts, but they were all still dirty.
These companies are big. You will have seen their ads on television, billboards, newspaper ads, and everywhere else.In my experience their 'duct cleaning technicians' are borrowed from their carpet, water, fire, and mold divisions; or are hired from local job services, on a temporary basis, for the Fall busy season.
Though the use of electric portables is not an automatic disqualifier, stop and consider how often the filters are cleaned or replaced when each machine is doing 10 houses a week. The methods, not the machines, are typically the weak link in this type of operation. They seem to rely heavily on a straight shot of air to do most of the cleaning. Even with gas powered compressors, a straight shot of air isn't enough. However, I've never seen a bargain duct cleaning service that employed both source removal methods AND brushes.
Carpet Cleaning/Restoration Experts...and Others
Using 110volt Electric Portable Duct Vacs (for the most part)
The job shown in the slideshow below employed the same equipment in an older home that had been heavily smoked in for years. The filth inside the ductwork was so heavy that their small machine couldn't handle it. Notice that there is a small pile of filth every couple feet or so inside the trunks. The rotating brush was sweeping the filth into piles and dumping it as it bounced back and forth inside the much larger rectangular trunks. They finally gave up and didn't finish cleaning all the trunks. I have included the photos of what the trunks looked like after I finished cleaning them using source removal methods. This company has been out of business for years now, so I'll show the sticker on this one.
These vacuums do a fine job on round pipe branches, perhaps too good of a job. These machines are known to tear apart the elbows and boot collars of the branches they are used on. The elbow shown below is one of 12 that were torn apart inside the attic of a townhome. The trunks were entirely missed and the customer was refunded her money. They also used some kind of residual disinfectant or fragrance that even coated my whips when I used them inside the ducts. The chemical they used left a soapy residue that began flaking and falling out of the ceiling vents after it dried.
Using High-Powered Canister Vacuum with Rotary Brushes
I have been called upon to redo the work of other duct cleaners dozens of times in the past couple decades. I have been careful not to name any companies specifically, but I'm showing photos of their work to illustrate my discussion. There are three main varieties of duct cleaning company that I have re-serviced homes for. This page details the type of company, the equipment used, and where they each fell short.
Apples and Pomegranates