Q. Just bought an older house. When we turn on the whole house fan, even with lots of windows open, some air is still drawn through our vents. This causes severe alergy attacks for my wife. The previous owners never had the furnace serviced, weren't the cleanest people, and had several cats. I can only imagine how nast all of the air ducts are. I cleaned out a couple of the reurn ducts and they were nasty with dust and construction debris. I want to have the system cleaned out well. I've gotten several quotes that vary pretty greatly in cost $179-$450. We have a small home with a finished basement that also has heating ducts. I want to choose a service that will do a great job, but have heard that some do a much better job than others. How do I know what to look for, or ask for in a good air duct cleaning service?
The amount of time air duct cleaning takes can depend on how extensive your duct system is, how old your air ducts are, and whether they have ever been cleaned. On average, expect a standard size home (between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet) to take 2-5 hours for one to two technicians to clean. Here are the proper protocol and equipment you should expect from a professional duct cleaning service, as recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency:

Jacksonville Air Duct Cleaning Jacksonville Air Duct Cleaning Air Duct Cleaning -- A/C Vent Cleaning -- in Jacksonville JACKSONVILLE AIR DUCT CLEANING JACKSONVILLE AIR DUCT CLEANING Certified Jacksonville Air Duct Cleaning specialists serving Metro Jacksonville, and all of Northeast Florida with professional air duct cleaning  The Environmental Air Force LLC is a full service Jacksonville Air Duct Cleaning and indoor air quality provider serving the Metro Jacksonville area. We specialize in:
Ensuring your air ducts are clean is one of the most simple ways to keep a clean house and healthy body. Since dust and other contaniments pass through your air ducts five to seven times a day, they can contribute to different health problems. You may notice the most common problems include eye and nose irritation, coughing, asthma, and especially allergic reactions. The sooner you have your air ducts cleaned, the sooner you can breathe easy. It’s important to note that when air ducts are being cleaned, all components of the system should be completely inspected and cleaned, including cooling coils, fans, heat exchangers, registers, grilles, diffusers, and air ducts.
"We were very satisfied with all phases of the purchase and installation of our two new systems. The price was competitive and we appreciated the fact that Waychoff's did not attempt to markup Bryant's extended warranty as our previous company had done. We were also impressed that Waychoff's quote included modifications of the previous installation that might have added to the problems we had with our previous system. The installation was done on schedule as promised and the technicians were all excellent at their work and respectful of our property."
There is some disagreement within the industry about the best method for cleaning air ducts.  The two schools of thought are the “negative air” approach and the rotary brush and vacuum approach.  We believe that both air duct cleaning methods can achieve great results in most situations when performed properly by competent technicians.  However, our focus has always been on high quality residential service.  The type of residential duct work commonly used in homes in the South poses unique challenges to duct cleaners because it is soft, flexible, and does not go in straight lines.  Firms using the negative air approach are especially challenged by this type of duct work, as that process was originally designed to work well on the rigid metal duct work commonly found in the North and in large commercial buildings.  The tools used to agitate the duct work in negative air cleaning are very difficult to get all the way into your duct work and can damage the lining of the ducts we find in most residences in the greater Jacksonville area.
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