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5 Reasons to Clean Your Ducts and HVAC System: An Interview with Doug Long of Power VAC America

By Doug Long

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Power VAC America has been in business for 23 years and provides one service: we clean air conditioning systems and air ducts. By remaining highly specialized, we are able to provide superior services and quality results.

While our residential market covers Houston and the surrounding area, our commercial market includes the entire state of Texas.

We are a certified member of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) and have an air conditioning license (TACLA 28012 E), which is required by the state of Texas for the proper cleaning of the air conditioning system and duct work.

What are some of the biggest indoor air quality issues for homes in Texas?

While there are a variety of issues that can effect indoor air quality, there are 3 primary issues that we see most commonly in homes in Texas: mold, excess dust, and odors.

Mold: With the high humidity levels, mold and fungus are common in the supply plenums (the box that the ducts hook up to before they go out to the rooms) and register boxes (the resisted box that the ceiling register/vents attaches to).

Excess dust: Over time, dirt, debris, dust and dander builds up inside of the air conditioning system and air ducts. Besides causing allergy and respiratory problems on their own, they also act as the food source for the mold.

Odors: All of the above contribute to the odor problems. Musty and mildew smells coming from the air conditioning system when it is running.

Can you briefly explain the basics of how those issues would be professionally treated?

Power VAC America cleans in accordance with the NADCA standards, which focuses primarily on source removal. Indeed, by removing what is causing the problem, you eliminate the problem.

According to the source removal standard, every component of the air conditioning system needs to be cleaned and all of the dirt, mold, and other particulates needs to be removed. This includes the return ductwork (the area behind the filter), the air handler unit itself (typically in the attic) including the blower and cooling coils, the supply ductwork and all of the vents in your ceiling. Again, we need to remove all of the dirty, debris, dust and dander from the inside of the system.

After we remove all the dirt and particulates, we treat any areas that have mold or fungus with an EPA registered anti-microbial/anti-fungal coating. This process requires that the contractor has an A/C license and helps to prevent the mold from growing back.

If left untreated, what are some examples of how HVAC systems and people can be affected?

The Environmental Protection Agency has stated that indoor air is up to 70% more contaminated than outdoor air. Left untreated, people may experience allergy and respiratory problems. According to the American College of Allergists, 50% of all illnesses are either caused or aggravated by polluted indoor air. Indeed, one out of six people who suffer from allergies do so as a direct result of the fungi and bacteria in air duct systems.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling is wasted. Contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause it to work harder and shorten the life of your system. Although filters are used, the heating and cooling system still gets dirty through normal use. When an HVAC system is clean, it doesn't have to work as hard to maintain the temperature you desire. As a result, less energy is used, leading to improved cost-effectiveness.

Before hiring a contractor to clean their ducts, what should people be aware of?

First and foremost, hire a contractor that is certified by NADCA and licensed by the state of Texas.

Watch out for the "bait and switch" sales tactics. Don't fall for the $99.00 coupon. If it looks too good to be true, it is!

Get an estimate upfront before any work is performed and don't pay until the work is completed.

Is there anything people can do to help make sure their duct system is running optimally?

Use a good pleated filter and change it on a regular basis. Have their air conditioning contractor check the system twice a year to make sure it is operating properly.

What's the best way for people to contact your company?

Call us at 713-645-4611 or visit our website at powervacamerica.com.

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About The Author

Doug Long is President and Owner at Power VAC America.

Phone: 713-645-4611

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