Frequently Asked Questions

We recommend cleaning out your furnace and ductwork every 2-3 years. For heating units only you may lean more towards 3 years, however if you have air conditioning or a heat pump that is running year round we recommend closer to 2 years.
Oil furnaces, unlike gas, produce more soot, a combustion by-product that can clog up your chimney and heat exchanger, causing it to not run as efficiently as possible. We recommend cleaning this furnace every two years, as well as having them serviced annually in order to keep them burning and as clean as possible. This prevents any soot blowback into the house, which can be a costly cleaning bill.
Having your furnace and ductwork cleaned has 3 major benefits: Air quality, Efficiency, Equipment Longevity.
Having your ductwork cleaned properly by a truck mounted vacuum system ensures your ductwork has all the debris removed such as dust, pet hair, and foot traffic debris that is most commonly found in ductwork. This leaves the air quality clean and fresh and can get rid of old smells lingering in dirty ductwork.
By keeping a clean filter, clean fan, clean heat exchanger and clean ductwork, you are helping to move air throughout the house as quickly as possible. This delivers the desired hot air to each room faster. Also with a properly cleaned heat exchanger, the flame radiates heat into the burner tube and creates the hottest possible surface for the fan to blow air past.
Absolutely! During the regular operation of your furnace dust collects near and against all moving parts. Primarily the fan motor and inducer motor. These motors begin to gather dust causing the gaps around the motor that help keep the fan cool to plug up. Also, the bearing these motors spin on, collect dust and dry out causing fans to overheat and burn up. This can kill a perfectly good 20 year furnace out in 10 years or less.
It is possible when proper maintenance and cleaning haven't been performed. When filters are neglected and plugged from debris coming through the air-returns, the air flow is greatly reduced. This causes the heat exchanger to run over temperature due to the lack of airflow and may cause holes and cracks in the heat exchanger, leaking deadly gas into the house. This happens at a slow rate, typically with small cracks at first so most homeowners wouldn't even know they are breathing carbon monoxide. It's at a slow enough rate the alarms won't pick it up. Many are likely living with this currently if their furnace hasn't been regularly cleaned and their filter has not been regularly replaced.
Due to the other concerns I've noted in the other questions, we recommend servicing your furnace every year.
Yes, just because your furnace works, doesn't mean there is not a reason to have it serviced. A reputable service company could catch premature cracks in the heat exchanger which would likely be under warranty when caught early enough. Many people neglect their services only to realize later, once the old furnace is pulled out, that it could have been replaced under warranty due to heat exchangers being cracked and other manufacturer covered issues. Please call us for a list of reputable service companies in your area.
Dryer vents are a leading cause of house fires. In addition, they help your dryer run more efficiently and dry clothes better. It also helps maintain the manufacturer's warranty. This is one of our services that is consistently neglected by customers because it is not easy to see whether or not there is a problem.
If your clothes are not drying in 1 load, it is long overdue. Typically this means you have a plug in your dryer vent or your dryer is broken, commonly due to a plugged vent.
A dryer vent should be cleaned every 2 years, no matter what.
Of course. If your dryer vent vents directly through the wall to the outside, you really have no need for a company to clean it. You can manage the cleaning yourself with some tools and know how. Nothing youtube couldn't show you. I typically recommend our service when the vent is over 10ft from the dryer to the exit or it vents up high and is in a difficult location. In addition, we clean the dryer front to back to make sure dangerous lint cannot catch fire. This is commonly where all dryer fires begin, inside your dryer.
Most companies would show up with a shop vac and a brush, much like the one you would buy by yourself to clean. Our cleaning process cleans not only the dryer vent, but also the dryer where fires typically originate. Others won't even come inside to look at the dryer because they know it takes a lot more time to do a thorough cleaning of the dryer as well. We do the entire job, not just the easy job.
Truck mounted duct cleaning is the strongest vacuum available to clean out residential and even commercial duct systems. Most companies will show up with a portable unit, which has less than 25% of the cfm sucking power of a vac truck. Is the truck noisier? Absolutely! However, if you are going to spend the money at all, you'd better do it right the first time rather than call us after the fact because you realized they didn't actually get much cleaned out.
Access holes are industry standard for any duct cleaning system. I would be very concerned to hear someone say "we clean ducts and don't have to cut any access holes". To me that means we'll clean your ducts but not all of them. You must have at least one 8-10 inch access hole, where possible at the furnace, in order to clean the entire duct system. Portable units will clean from the vents side only with a brush and a vacuum, but have no possible way of cleaning the main trunk line without an access hole.
Portable duct cleaning machines are very necessary and play an important role in having some systems cleaned. We carry the best portable duct cleaning systems for jobs that have no possible access from a truck mounted system. This includes buildings and apartments with limited access or units supplying air to 6 heat vents or less. For every other situation, portable is not the way to go.
This is a trickier question. We provide duct deodorizing and sanitizing upon customers request. We do not do this on every job and here's why. For many years duct cleaning companies have used this as an add on to mark up the bill. For this reason primarily, we never really supported it. In addition to the up-sale, we've never really believed 100% in the process. Ultimately, we are spraying a chemical down into your vents, leaving residue down in your ductwork for dust to stick to later. Why? So it can smell better temporarily or give the appearance of being sanitized. Let me explain a common example. Example: Customer calls saying there is a dead rodent in the vents and it smells horribly. We come out and the body is sucked out (which we cannot guarantee, by the way, depending on the situation) and the customer tells us ahead of time they want to sanitize. I say "ok" and fog the system. You now have a disinfectant substance left over the surface that was left by the decaying rodent. To put this into perspective, consider if the rodent died on your kitchen floor, would you scoop up the body and spray some cleaner on the left overs and call it good enough? No! Hopefully.... you would scrub the surface until everything was gone. Now considering the limitations of your duct work, that is not always possible. In my honest opinion, the best course of action is to locate the animal, which is often found outside the ductwork. Then you could have that ductwork removed and replaced with a brand new piece. The rest of the rodent dropping and nesting material can then be easily sucked out. An exception would be where large infestations have occured. This is why sanitizer, although not a bad thing, and in some cases is the only option, is not the best solution. By the way, we offer duct replacement, which most duct cleaners don't do.
9 out of 10 times, not likely. Mold comes from moist stagnant dark areas. Now your ductwork is dark, however, it should never be wet or stagnant because air is moving through it regularly. If you were to have water damage due to a flood or furnace malfunction you need to seriously consider replacing some or all of your ductwork. Especially if the water, even fresh water, has been sitting in the duct for more than a few days. Mold can grow quickly and needs to be removed. In addition, the insulation wrapped around your ductwork is soaked and will never dry out properly, so get rid of it. All this said, if your crawl space has flooded or been wet consistently, that can change things as well. First, solve your wet crawl space problem and then consider replacing ductwork.
Anywhere from $500 and up depending on how many units are in the house and whether or not the dryer vent or bathroom fans and other venting is being included. Anyone offering much less is planning on getting in the door with a special coupon and then upselling you to the moon once they are there. If they don't up-sale you, they probably showed up with a portable unit or shop vac and are likely not really cleaning anything. Beware! We only know this from years of customer horror stories. Do your homework... or ask your service company who they like. It's likely they will throw out our name if they have been in Seattle very long since our family has been doing this since the 80's.
Yes, bathroom fans are also a leading cause of house fires. We personally clean ours every 6 months. This can be done with a shop vac and a brush. We also offer this service for those who can't or don't want to hassle with them. These fans are fragile so cleaning needs to be gentle in order to not cause any damage. These fans are exhausting humid air from showers and bathrooms and cause dust to stick to motors and fan blades, causing them to either burn up or clog up so they become worthless. Keeping these clean often will help reduce moisture damage to bathrooms and reduce the risk of them catching on fire.