Molds photographed using a microscope.
Are your indoor mold levels higher than those outside?
How To Hire A Duct Cleaner
Duct cleaning is a way to help improve air quality and save energy costs. If not properly maintained, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning components can become contaminated with dust, pollen and other debris.
Moisture in ducts increases the risk of mold spores in your home, and anyone with mold allergies or health problems can be affected.

“If you are told you have mold, have it tested at a laboratory,” said Ken Jenniges, owner of Steamatic of Indianapolis, who’s been in business 17 years.

Do you need a duct cleaner?

Based on the individual HVAC system, the level of indoor pollution and other factors, experts usually recommend having ducts cleaned every three to five years.

The average home’s heating-and-cooling system circulates 40 pounds of dirt each year. If you’ve recently completed renovations or experienced a fire or flooding, your home may need duct cleaning because of the potentially large amounts of dirt and dust released into the air. New homes may have more debris because of ongoing construction.

Finding a qualified professional
Experience and background are important; improperly serviced ducts can cause air problems. Find out if the company has worked on a system like the one in your home and what sort of safety precautions workers will take to protect your family.

“Make sure the company you choose is regularly engaged in providing duct-cleaning services,” Jenniges said.

The system should be inspected for any asbestos-containing materials. Registers should be sealed and carpet and furnishings protected.

The EPA suggests homeowners ask to see all cleaned ducts and components — which should show no visible dust or debris — to ensure the job is done thoroughly.

What to expect Time and equipment can vary, depending on the company and amount of work to be done. Always have your cleaner provide a written agreement on cost and expected labor hours before beginning the job, especially if you’re being charged by the hour.

“Remember, you get what you pay for,” Jenniges said. “Don’t be fooled by a ridiculously low advertised price.”
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Date Posted: 2007-06-30  

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