The question is "Can your A/C air ducts really be efficiently cleaned?"
Many disreputable Air Conditioning companies offer cheap duct cleaning. They run specials for $49.95 and claim to be able to clean the air in your home. They will scare you with warnings that you have filthy moldy ducts and the health of your family could be in danger.
One company even uses this line " The average single-family home will have gallons of dust collecting on the walls of air ducts..." They offer to clean your vents for $15.00 each. Funny enough - their ad looks like they are holding a vacuum up to an air vent. That must be one powerful vacuum to suck gallons of dust from hundreds of feet of ducts.
There have been horror stories about people spending thousands of dollars just to have an A/C company do nothing more than spray cans of Lysol into the vents while the AC is running and then claim the ducts have been sanitized.
Some companies use special brushes at the end of long poles and claim they can remove the dust, mold, and etc, that way.
So what is the truth about duct cleaning? The truth is that most residential A/C Air Ducts cannot be properly cleaned.
If you have Flexible Ducts the act of stuffing a brush through them will rip the material and create holes in the ductwork. The result: Not only are your ducts not clean - but now you are losing cold air into your attic as well as letting more contaminants (and maybe a few little critters) into your home.
If your ducts are made of fiberglass board - not only can they not be properly cleaned, but the act of trying to clean them will most likely result in filling your ducts, and your home with tiny little fiberglass particles. Some fiberglass ducts have a coating that will reduce the amount of fiberglass particles created - but there will still be more than 50% of the "dust" left remaining.
Unfortunately the only type of ducts designed to be cleaned are usually for commercial applications.
Let us repeat: Very few residential duct systems can be effectively cleaned without dismantling or replacement.
So how about sanitizing ductwork?
One of the most efficient and acceptable ways to sanitize ductwork is by using a type of fog machine that will mist a chemical that can sometimes kill mold growing in ducts. Usually you will have to completely vacate the premises for up to 6 hours while this is going on. Even then, you can only expect a 40% success rate.
Bottom line - beware of duct cleaning scams. Usually the unscrupulous contractor will use this as a means to gain access to your home and intentionally mislead the homeowner into paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for additional work.
At Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning and Heating - we want you to you be informed, and we want you to know the facts. Feel free to call or email us anytime you have a question.