Furnace & Duct Cleaning
Frequently Asked Questions
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1. How are my ducts cleaned during a furnace and duct cleaning?
First, all of the return and supply ducts are covered with magnetic register covers to prepare for cleaning. Cold air returns on the walls are covered with specially designed vent adhesives that cover only the vent, protecting your walls. Next, our vacuum (which uses 7500 cubic feet of suction per minute) is hooked up to the main plenum of your furnace. If there is air conditioning in your home there will be an air conditioning coil on top of the furnace, which will need to be bypassed, as it would be damaged if we were to pull dust and debris through it as an access point. The bypass includes a cleaning of the A/C coil itself by the serviceman while the ductwork is being cleaned, as it also requires regular maintenance.
When the high-powered compressor on the Powervac truck is turned on, a negative air pressure system is created in your ductwork as the compressor pulls air from the sealed vent system. The assistant will start cleaning the ducts at the top floor and work their way down cleaning from the point of the register to the furnace. Each individual vent cover is removed and each boot gets blown using our 200-250 PSI compressed air. The negative air pressure allows the air that is blown to get sucked down through the vent and into the main duct run. All types of vents are cleaned.
The compressor also creates a stronger air flow for the vacuum – pushing the air towards the vacuum that pulls the air. The main run is then cleaned after all of the supply and return vents are sparkling. One inch holes are drilled in the main duct run to provide access to insert the Viper Clean Sweep System®. If access holes are already present, there is no need to drill new ones. The reverse skipper head (component of Viper Clean Sweep System®) is sent into the length of the main run and spins at a high velocity, air scrubbing the interior. The serviceman uses all of the access holes to continue to push the remaining dust and debris from the cleaning out through the access point, through the hose, and out to the truck. Finally, the ductwork is disinfected with our hospital-grade air disinfectant spray to sanitize the ductwork from contaminants, mold, and bacteria.
2. How is my furnace cleaned and serviced during a furnace and duct cleaning?
While your ductwork is being cleaned, the serviceman is fully disassembling the furnace to clean and service all of its main components. The blower motor assembly, which includes the housing, blower wheel, and motor, is mechanically inspected. The blower wheel is completely removed and cleaned individually. The burner assembly is fully cleaned of carbon buildup and mechanically inspected. The ignition and safety controls are mechanically inspected and adjusted. Heat exchangers are cleaned of carbon buildup and visually inspected for cracks and defects. The pilot assembly is cleaned and burner flames are adjusted for peak efficiency. The flame sensor is cleaned and inspected. The gas valve is tested for peak performance. The furnace is inspected for gas leaks and any signs of corrosion. The control box is inspected with any associated wiring and connections. The furnace filter is assessed and replaced if needed, filters are an additional cost. All components are reassembled and tested in a full cycling of the furnace to complete the cleaning and servicing. A completed service report of inspection and service requirements is provided to you following the service.
3. What if my furnace needs repairs?
We do not have enough time on our cleaning schedule to complete additional repairs. However, we can complete a service diagnosis at the time of the cleaning at no additional charge and schedule a service truck to complete the repair at your convenience. Remember that regular maintenance with furnace and duct cleaning is just that, not repair work.
4. What if I have any issues following the service?
Because we are a mechanical contractor, we guarantee our service backed by 24-hour emergency service support from our servicemen. Our servicemen cycle every furnace they clean and service as a part of the mechanical service inspection and to ensure everything is working properly following the appointment. Any issues that may arise are always dealt with as soon as possible whether it is our friendly office staff dispatching one of our senior servicemen or the on-call serviceman assisting you directly.
5. What is the difference between a visual inspection and a mechanical inspection of the furnace?
A visual inspection is just that, visual only. Components are not removed, tested, or fully inspected. When you remove a furnace door, you can only see half of the components of the furnace – meaning only half of your furnace can be visually inspected. Anyone who has two eyes can complete a visual inspection.
Four Seasons completes mechanical inspections at furnace and duct cleanings. What this means is that our certified serviceman will fully disassemble your furnace to mechanically test and inspect all of its main components. This also ensures that a thorough cleaning of the fan and blower motor is completed. A mechanical survey is completed letting you know how all of the components on your furnace are working and whether or not anything is need of repair or replacement. Only certified servicemen can complete a full mechanical inspection, which is what is always recommended when dealing with natural gas appliances.
6. What are the main benefits of furnace and duct cleaning?
- Preventative Maintenance: furnace and duct cleaning is the best maintenance you can complete on your furnace to prevent emergency breakdowns. Most mechanical failures are due to lack of maintenance. Wouldn’t we all like to heat our home for a full 20 winters instead of 15?
- Energy Efficiency: A dirty furnace with dirty ducts will work harder than it needs to. You will notice a decrease in your gas bill on average 10-15% following furnace and duct cleaning as the furnace can cycle with less stress with clean components.
- Safety: excess carbon and dust build-up on your heat exchangers and furnace components poses the risk of a cracked heat exchanger or gas leak. Some furnaces get so clogged that the gas company will turn off the gas until the furnace is cleaned, as it is unsafe to operate.
7. What are the health benefits of furnace and duct cleaning?
Your furnace and air ducts have been shown to act as a collection source for a variety of contaminants that have the potential to affect health, such as mold, fungi, bacteria and very small particles of dust and debris. The removal of such contaminants from the heating system and home should be considered as one component in an overall plan to improve indoor air quality.
The average home generates 40 pounds of dust for every 1500 square feet of space. While regular home cleaning is an excellent measure to reduce exposure to irritants and pollutants, it’s simply impossible to remove enough of the material by hand to make your home’s air as comfortable as it can be. Not to mention most homes today are built air tight and are designed to keep air in which increases the hazards of poor indoor air quality.
8. Is there dust blown back into the home during furnace and duct cleaning?
There will be no dust blown back in your living areas as all of the registers are covered with magnetic register covers that create a negative pressure in your ducting when the vacuum is turned on. If there is an excessive amount of dust on top of your ductwork in an open basement, the vibration of the cleaning may cause dust on the OUTSIDE of the ductwork to loosen and become airborne. In finished basements this is not a problem. During a furnace and duct cleaning your duct work is a closed off system, meaning all dust on the INSIDE of the ducts is removed and vacuumed directly out to our truck and does not re-enter your home.
9. Why do you remove the fan and motor during a furnace and duct cleaning?
Removing the fan assembly is the only way to properly clean a furnace, as the fan is what moves the air and becomes the dirtiest. Removing the fan and motor allows us to give the fan a thorough cleaning as well as gain access to the burner compartment and heat exchangers of the furnace.
10. Why do I have to have all of my ducts cleaned?
It is NOT recommended to partially clean your ductwork. The ducting system in your home is all connected as a complete system and should always be cleaned in its entirety to guarantee the cleaning. For example, cleaning the duct runs upstairs in your home and not the basement means that the very first time your furnace turns on it will cycle the dirt and dust in your basement run through the clean vents upstairs. Your cold air returns are also a part of your ducting system and contribute the most dust and dirt to your household as they recycle the indoor air in your home to the furnace.
If we were to only clean part of your ductwork we might as well charge you twice! Because it will take two cleanings to get the system clean!
11. Do I need to be home for my furnace and duct cleaning?
It is preferable to have someone home during our cleaning process so that we can discuss your furnace operation and any issues you may have with your system operation and home comfort. However, our servicemen are fully bonded and insured and can be left to complete a job on their own. We do require payment information and a contact number from the homeowner for this arrangement.
12. How does the rubber whip compare to the brush method?
As a mechanical contractor for over 30 years, Four Seasons decided not to use the brush method, as the round brushes do not adequately clean the corners in square ductwork. The rubber whip has the ability to clean all surfaces of any size ductwork due to the fact that it is flexible and can travel in a straight line as it whips. The brush method also leaves scratches in the ductwork, which compromise your venting quality and create more surface area for dust to cling onto. The whip method also allows a much smaller access hole than the brush method, reusable and only 1” in diameter.
13. What are dust mites and how do they affect indoor air quality?
Dust mites are microscopic pests that create the most common indoor air allergens that can cause allergic reactions and asthma in many people. Many people don’t realize that dust mites feed on dead human skin cells found in the dust in your home. The harmful allergen they create comes from their fecal pellets and body fragments.
Dust mites are major indoor air triggers for people with allergies or asthma. They can even cause asthma. Chronic exposure to high levels of dust mites dramatically affect indoor air quality and overall health.
14. Will my house get cold during my furnace and duct cleaning?
During the spring, summer, and fall months there is no concern that your house will get cold during the cleaning. During the winter months, your house may get cooler when temperatures dip below minus ten. We recommend that you turn your thermostat up slightly 1-2 hours before we arrive if you are concerned. We will take all necessary precautions to ensure that your home returns to a comfortable temperature shortly after our service.
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