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Old 04-18-2007, 02:46 PM   #11
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Depending on how often your furnace's air filter is changed, and how dusty your house is... if you have pets (hair) or not, the return air duct can get downright FILTHY with dust and brownish "fur"... all kinds ot airborne pathogens. That's no lie. I used to be a sheetmetal worker and had my head in more than a few ducts, mostly commercial, but houses can get just as dirty. Especially if there are smokers.
Take off a RA grill and use a flashlight and mirror to see how dirty the ducts look inside. It would be nice if you can cut an access hole to look in the main trunk downstairs, too. And most houses utilize the joist spaces to get from the grills to the trunk. That wood is a magnet for dust to build up on before it gets back to the filter.
Hire someone bonded and insured. They should have a dedicated van with a big vaccuum in it just for cleaning ducts. Its a special machine and not every furnace guy in the book can to a proper job.
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Old 04-18-2007, 04:58 PM   #12
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I had one duct cleaned last year but I don't remember the price. I wanted to have all of them cleaned in the condo but when the guy come he told me that the painters had painted the openings to the ducts directly on the wall.

I was so mad so the only duct that could be cleaned was the one in the living room because it had been covered with the same wallpaper as the wall and all he had to do was to unscrew it from the wall.
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Old 04-18-2007, 09:16 PM   #13
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Can't relate. Since our house was built in 1880, there was no such thing as ducts. However, we have lived in more modern structures that DID have ducts. Never had them cleaned because we didn't live in them very long.

All I can recommend is that you do your homework, especially checking out the integrity of the company you select to do your work. Doing a BBB check is good. Also, if possible, get whatever work is done in writing if there is any type of warranty/guarantee offered by the company.
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Old 04-18-2007, 09:29 PM   #14
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Old 04-18-2007, 09:36 PM   #15
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Once or twice a year, I take the furnace floor grates out and vacuum the inside area. There is usually loose small clutter in there. You can reach your hand inside the duct and check the surfaces. I was amazed that mine were so clean. You can cover these floor grates with cheese cloth or netting to filter the air further. If your house is smelling musty, you might inspect the plumbing for water leaks especially around the hot water heater and the washer/dryer. Of course some basements are just going to be musty. The one and only reason that I would consider having the ducts cleaned is low air flow and the smell of decay such as dead mice. I don't have a wood burning furnace and I would think the maintenance would be a different issue from gas/electric.
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