At Allgood we are always looking for new ways to enhance our client experience. Recently we have decided to offer duct/dryer vent cleaning services. While on service calls we have been asked about duct/dryer vent cleaning; the benefits of it, cost and the overall effectiveness of such a service. We hope to answer some of those questions today. We will cover ducts first and dryer vents last.
What is a duct?
In the regards to HVAC there are two types of ducts. The supply and the return. The supply ducts are located in every room of your house, they supply the conditioned air into the space for optimum comfort. The return ducts are often located in various rooms of the home, these are mostly larger rooms. When air of a certain quantity is supplied to a room, the same air of a certain quantity needs to be removed from a room to maintain the pressure in said room. The return duct removes that air and sends it back to the HVAC unit for heating or conditioning.
Why would I need to have the ducts cleaned?
According to the EPA you should consider having your air ducts cleaned if:
- There is substantial visible microbial growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system.
- Ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents, insects).
- Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.
If any of the conditions identified above exists, it usually suggest one or more underlying causes. Prior to any cleaning, retrofitting or replacing your ducts, the cause or causes must be corrected or the problem will likely recur.
Proper maintenance of your HVAC system will ensure trouble free operation and peak performance year-round. Proper duct cleaning should also involve a thorough cleaning of the air handler, registers, grilles, fans, motors, housings and coils of the HVAC system. If done properly, duct cleaning doesn’t hurt; and it is not something that needs to be on your regular home maintenance list, unless:
- Renovation: if your home has been remodeled- especially if there was asbestos abatement, lead paint removal, or significant dust- your ductwork may need to be cleaned. Ducts should be sealed off during home renovations; but if they weren’t, dangerous dust and debris may become lodged inside the duct work.
- Buying an Older Home: Having a thorough duct cleaning means you’ll have experts in your home to examine the ducts and airflow patterns to identify any problem areas.
The benefits of having your ducts cleaned are: Improved Indoor Air Quality and Energy Savings.
Through normal occupation in a home or office, a great deal of contaminates and pollutants are generated; such as dander, dust and chemicals. These contaminates are pulled into the HVAC system and re-circulated 5 to 7 times per day, on average. Over time, this re-circulation causes a build-up of contaminants in the duct work.
Dirty ducts do not necessarily mean unhealthy air in your home, school or work place, they may be contributing to larger health issues or harboring contaminants that could cause serious problems for individuals with repertory health conditions, autoimmune disorders or some environmental allergies.
According to the US Dept. of Energy, 25 to 40 percent of energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted. Contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause it to work harder and shorten the life of your system. Much of this can be prevented by regular filter use and the changing of said filters. When an HVAC system is clean, it doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain the temperature you desire. As a result, less energy is used, leading to improved cost-effectiveness.
As with any home maintenance, please do your research. There are many companies who advertise a low price and end up tacking on fee’s and services. A reputable company is a member of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), be up front concerning pricing, and also provide a free estimate and inspection. On average the cost of getting your ducts cleaned range from $300 to $500.
Dryer vents are often one of those things that are forgotten. Unfortunately neglecting this area of your house can prove to be quite dangerous. It is recommended that dryer vents should be cleaned every 3, 6 to 12 months, depending on the extent of the use of the dryer (commercial dryers need to be cleaned more often).
Regular dryer vent maintenance prolongs the life of your dryer; as the vent is imperative to the overall effectiveness of your clothes dryer. If not properly maintained the potential for restricted air flow, decreased operation, energy efficiency and fire hazard increase. Most cleaning of the dryer vents are only done in tandem with an unscheduled service.
In many older homes, the dryer vent was very short and went directly outside without covering much distance. In newer construction, however, the dryer is much longer; often with sharp turns and bends to accommodate the structure of the home. As a result, dryer vents are harder to reach, and create more places for lint to gather. When a dryer vent is improperly installed and represent a real risk of fire.
Here are 5 warning signs that it is time to clean your dryer vent:
- Drying time takes longer and longer.
- Your clothing and the outside of your dryer are very hot.
- You notice a burning smell.
- The vent hood flap doesn’t open properly.
- It has been longer than a year since your last inspection.
- Your home is on the market.
Your dryer only has the power to push that heavy, went lint so far, it’s inevitable that some of it is going to remain behind in the vent pipe.
Once again please do your research when it comes to the maintaining of your home. There are many companies who would take advantage of the unsuspecting consumer. The average cost of dryer vent cleaning is between $75 to $150, depending on the length and location of the vent.
The cost of having your dryer vent cleaned is miniscule to what a house fire caused by a clogged dryer vent has the potential to. In a report by the National Fire Protection Association published in March 2017; from 2010-2014, U.S Fire Departments responded to an estimated average of 15,970 (92%) home structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines each year. These fires caused annual averages of $238 million in direct property damage.