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Breathe Clean Air this Winter!

October 5, 2011

It’s the time of year when everyone is going to start closing the doors and turning on the heat! It’s more important now more than ever, to look at having your air ducts and dryer vent professionally cleaned. Most people spend about 90% of their time indoors on a regular basis; this percentage goes way up in the winter months due to the cold weather. Add that with the fact that the air inside your home can be up to 100 times more polluted than the air outside; and you can see why it’s a good idea to make sure the air in your home is as clean as it can be.

Along with regular air duct cleaning (typically every 3 to 5 years) it’s a good idea to have a high-efficiency air filtration system. Now, I’m not talking about the $17 to $30 filter that’s only 1″ thick. I’m talking about a 4″ or 5″ pleated filter with a high MERV rating.

The acronym MERV stands for “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value”. The MERV rating is the standard method for comparing the efficiency of an air filter. The higher the MERV rating, the better the filter is at removing particles from the air.

The MERV scale ranges from 1 (least efficient) to 16 (most efficient), and measures a filter’s ability remove particles from 3 to 10 microns in size. Filters with higher ratings not only remove more particles from the air, they also remove smaller particles. A typical fiberglass furnace filter might be rated from 1 to 4 on the MERV scale. A HEPA filter would be rated a 16.

Problem #1. We have found, through our experience; that most 1″ pleated filters with a high MERV rating will only last approximately 30 days (give or take). This is because there is not a lot of surface area for the particulates to accumulate. This problem with these filters is; they typically say “90 Days” on the packaging. Most homeowners will leave them in 90+ days before changing them. When the filter stays in for that amount of time and accumulates all of the dust and dirt; it becomes restrictive, therefore making your blower motor work harder to pull air through the filter. This is why many blower motors go out in furnaces; because the filter is too restrictive and not changed on a regular basis.

Problem #2. When you start to have the problem of restriction with a 1″ pleated filter; most HVAC companies will tell you to stick with a low-end filter that costs anywhere from $0.70 to $3. These filter do a poor job of filtering the air in your home. We call them “boulder catchers” because they catch the large debris but don’t do a good job of catching the particulates that are causing your allergies, etc.

This is why we recommend having your HVAC company install a high efficiency air cleaner; whether it’s a 4″ or 5″ pleated filter, a H.E.P.A. filtration system, or an Electronic Air Cleaner. Please note that most Electronic Air Cleaners or “E.A.C”‘s, require monthly cleaning/maintenance. If you are someone, like me, that doesn’t know if they’ll have time to clean it once a month; or remember to for that matter, then I would stick with a 4″ or 5” pleated filter with a MERV rating of 10 to 13. Some models have to be changed every 6 to 9 months; others can be changed every 12 to 24 months (don’t hold me to those averages; they can change depending on the household and the amount of activity in the home).

If you have any questions about the indoor air quality in your home or would like to schedule your Air Duct Cleaning; please give us a call at 317-733-1012. Or visit our website at www.AirDuct.info Mite-E-Ducts Inc.

 

The “M” word!

May 11, 2011

Have you ever noticed bacterial growth or fungus growing on your indoor evaporator coil or the walls around your ductwork? I know what you’re thinking, “what is bacterial growth?” This is another term for the dreaded “M” word… mold. So often in our industry the word “mold” gets thrown around and misused. What happens is people start to think that every black substance they see around their vent covers and on the carpet is mold, when in fact, most of the time, it can be something as simple as candle soot. Homeowners that burn candles frequently will have black stains on the vent covers, carpet, and sometimes the walls.

Ultraviolet Germicidal Light System

But, what if there is bacterial growth in your duct system or over your indoor coil? What can we do to help prevent it? Most people say, leave it alone, it’s not hurting you; or the old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Some homeowners are more susceptible to mold spores, bacteria, and viruses than others. Here in Indiana, it gets very humid in the summer and we see different types of growth all summer long. If it’s in the duct system, then it’s in your air stream. This is where an Ultraviolet Germicidal Light System comes in. These systems can be installed in your duct system and take care of the entire home. Now compare this the indoor air purifiers you purchase at the hardware store. You would typically have to buy one for every room in the home to help with the indoor air quality. Wouldn’t you rather just have one unit that takes care of the entire home? I know I would… wait, I do! I had an Ultraviolet Germicidal Light System installed in my home 5 years ago. I change the bulb every 2 years as recommended by the manufacturer. The great thing is, not only am I protecting my coil; it also helps with odors in the home. When my wife and I would cook fish, bacon, or something with a strong smell; it would linger for days. Now, we wake up the next morning and rarely smell anything!

Want more info? Visit our website at http://www.airduct.info/uv.html or call (317) 733-1012

There’s water in my ductwork!

April 20, 2011

Is your home on a slab or crawlspace? Have you ever found water in your duct system? If so, what have you done about it? Have you resolved the issue, or just let it be?

Rusted out plenum in slab

The problem with water in your duct system is, it can cause the metal ductwork to rust out and can become a breeding ground for mold, mildew or bacteria. If your home is on a slab and the ductwork is in the slab; chances are you have had water in your duct system one time or another. When there is water in slab ducts; most people notice little to no airflow coming out of  one or more vents; or they notice a throaty, bubbling water kind of sound. This may be a good time to have the ductwork scoped to locate the water or, if you know where the water is, you can simply rent a water pump and pump it out. How do you prevent the water from coming back? There is no guarantee that the water will not come back, but you can do some things to help the water situation. You can simply make sure the down spouts are directed away from the home. They sell extensions at the hardware store. You could have a company install a drain tile around the perimeter of the home. Or, you could abandon the air ducts and run a new duct system over head. Once you have resolved your water issues, it may be advisable to have your duct system thoroughly cleaned.

Homeowners with crawlspaces; don’t celebrate too soon! Your duct systems can get water in them as well. Especially when the furnace is located in the garage. We often find that the drain line gets plugged, and the water from the indoor evaporator coil overflows into the air duct plenum under the furnace. If this happens often and the water stays for an extended period of time; this can cause the plenum to rust out and eventually cause rust to flake off into the duct system. Once it has rusted all the way through; the pea gravel and dirt underneath may enter the duct system and the air stream. We can typically locate this issue upon arrival. Your HVAC company should be able to identify this issue when they are out for your spring maintenance. Once the problem has been identified, the drain line can be easily un-clogged and you can simply drill a 1″ opening in the bottom of the duct system to allow the water to drain out. If this is a continuous problem; you may consider leaving the 1′ opening in the bottom of the plenum so if water gets in again, it can easily drain out.

If you are interested in having your duct system inspected or scoped; give us a call! 317-733-1012 or www.AirDuct.info

What’s the difference?

April 4, 2011

Often people ask us, “what’s the difference between your company and this ad that I found in the paper for $49.95?”, this is normally followed by “you guys are about $400 more than them; why would I spend $400 to $450 to have my air ducts cleaned when they can do it for $49.95?”

Let’s break this down for a second… An average single-family home, with one furnace takes approximately 3 to 5 hours to clean. (This timeframe can vary depending on accessibility, type of duct system, and how dirty the system is). Do you honestly think that a professional air duct cleaning company can come in to your home and spend 3 to 5 hours, and only charge you $49.95? You have to think; he has to pay the person that answered the phone and scheduled the appointment, he has to pay to fuel up his vehicle and drive to the jobsite, he has to insure his vehicles/equipment, he has to pay his employees to perform the air duct cleaning service, he has to pay for the materials used on the job, etc. etc. etc…

So how is it that they are only charging $49.95 to clean the air ducts in your home? The truth is; they aren’t. We have seen two sides of this. We have seen where customers would hold their ground and only agree to pay the $49.95, in which they received a cleaning of all the supply boots (only) performed with a shop vac (something you can do yourself). On the flip side, we have seen where it starts at $49.95 and then they find some kind of “mold” or “bacteria” that, they say, “must be removed immediately” or else everyone in the home could be in danger. When this happens, we have seen the invoices go as high as $5,087.00; and the ductwork is still dirty when they leave.

When we started in business in 1995, it was our philosophy to give “up-front” pricing prior to our work being performed. This is what we do on a daily basis. When we quote your air duct cleaning at, let’s say, $424; this includes driving to the job, setup, cleaning all supply & return branch ducts/main trunklines & plenums/registers; cleaning the furnace, blower compartment, & filter area. Our technicians also take before and after pictures to show you what you duct system looks like before and after the cleaning. Wouldn’t you feel better knowing your price up-front rather than playing the “haggle” game?

If you would like more information on our process; please visit http://www.airduct.info/air_duct_cleaning_residential.html 

If you woud like more information on a free estimate; please visit http://www.airduct.info/free_estimate.html

Mite-E-Ducts truck gets a “facelift”

March 30, 2011

Truck #204 after "facelift"

Mite-E-Ducts truck #204 is a 2005 Chevy C4500. It’s been in full operation for 6 years now and was starting to look a little worn down. We decided to spruce it up and update the lettering! Thanks to our friends at Indy’s Pro Graphix; our dream became a reality! We were weighing our options between repainting truck #204 or wrapping it. After weeks of discussion; we decided to go with the wrap because it had a really great look to it and can be easily maintained. We decided to stick with our standard logo because it is a clean, crisp look. This is the first wrap we have ever done and we are extremely happy with it! Let us know what you think.

How often should I clean my dryer vent?

March 23, 2011

We talk to customers on a daily basis that ask, “How do I know when my dryer vent needs to be cleaned?”. The normal recommendation is annually; but this can vary from home to home depending on the amount of people, pets, and loads of laundry done per week.

We have some customers that have 6 family members, 2 dogs, and 4 cats; that do 1 to 3 loads per day. They have their dryer vents cleaned every 3 to 6 months. On the flipside; we have customers that live by themselves that do laundry once a week. That can go upwards of 3 to 5 years before having the dryer vent cleaned again.

There was never a great way to tell customers how often to have the dryer vent cleaned; until now…

Warns you before your dryer vent becomes a hazard!

Mite-E-Ducts now offers the Lint Alert Monitor. This monitor is installed once the dryer vent has been thoroughly cleaned to a “like new” condition -or- with the installation of a new dryer vent. The Lint Alert Monitor will tell you when your dryer vent is due to be cleaned. It has 5 L-E-D lights that will go from Green, to Yellow, then to Red. When the lights get up to Red; it will sound a quiet, but noticeable alarm (which you can silence by pushing a button), and will flash until the obstruction is removed from the dryer vent.

This device is revolutionary! I have one in my home and recommend them to everyone with a dryer vent! Especially those of you with a 2nd story and/or roof dryer vent; we know you probably wont want to jump up on the roof in the middle of winter to find out if your dryer vent is obstructed.

Call Mite-E-Ducts today at 317-733-1012 for more info!