Clean duct work can save time, money and your health

Stretching Your Dollar
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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Ever wonder what lurks behind your heating and cooling vents? Most homeowners rarely, if ever, have their systems thoroughly cleaned.  Changing out filters at the furnace is not the same, but it's a must. The filters only catch some of the particles.

Over time, the vast majority of debris and dust ends up trapped in your duct work throughout your house.

"We can use this camera in a tiny tube to run through your vents to see if you need a cleaning. If not, we'll let you know. If you do need a cleaning, you'll be able to see it and we can take care of it the same day," said Ben Walker of American Air, Inc.

Many of the homes Walker and his technicians check are full of dust. You know it's bad in your home if you are constantly dusting and seemingly getting nowhere. Often times, the dust comes from the original construction of your home when builders are doing drywall.

"Some builders run the heating and cooling while they're building a home because it's either cold or hot inside. The problem with that is the cold air returns suck up all the dust into your system and then you're left to deal with a home that's pumping out dust," said Walker.

Pet hair is also a major problem. The more pets you have and the more people you have in your house, the worse a home gets with hair, dander, and dust. To clean your system, it starts at your furnace. Most companies cut a couple holes in your duct work to be able to pull out the dust and debris, using a large vacuum type of machine. They later patch the holes which can be reused for future cleanings several years down the road.

"This is the big collar that we connect to your cold air return. Then we hook our hose to it and it's connected to a giant vacuum bag outside. There is a lot of suction. Basically it is sucking all the dust and debris out of your home to our machine. The other end of our system is cleaning and blowing the dust out of your vents," said Walker.

Companies that do a thorough job will clean both the cold air returns and registers. If a company claims they can do it in a matter of minutes, they are not doing a complete job.

"It's not a quick process. We get it done in about half a day. It usually takes four hours to thoroughly clean a normal system," said Richard Galbraith, HVAC Tech at American Air, Inc.

The cost for Walker's company to clean your HVAC system is $25 and $35 per register and return. If you have a ton of vents and returns, they cap the price at $500 per system no matter how many vents you have. It can often end up being less for a smaller home.

"Another positive aspect of a clean system is your thermostat will be satisfied quicker for whatever level you are turning it to. If your vents are dirty, your furnace is going to have to run twice as long and twice as hard, which is costing your more," said Walker.

You also save on filter costs and more importantly, the life of your expensive HVAC system. Most system are well into the thousands of dollars. And don't forget about your health.

Having a clean system really helps with your breathing. Many of our customers notice a major difference after a cleaning. A lot of people get headaches and allergies when their system is dirty, so it 100 percent helps with that," said Galbraith.

One other added benefit of the cleaning is you will not have to dust your home for at least a year or two. And if you do it won't be from a dirty HVAC system. If you want to contact American Air, their phone number is 317-654-5815. Click here to visit their website.

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