Do Your Research When Shopping for Duct Cleaning Services

Air vent and duct cleaning is an essential part of home maintenance that every homeowner needs to take seriously. A closeup portrait of a woman using a mobile phone.Unfortunately, many homeowners overlook HVAC cleaning for a number of reasons, and those who don’t often fail to do their homework before shelling out for the service. This can lead not only to shoddy service, but also to outright scams.

Let’s take a look at a couple of recent examples to drive home the importance of research and shopping around when getting air ducts or vents cleaned.

A Coupon Leads to a Huge Estimate

Last month ABC 7 in Washington, D.C. reported on a local man named Victor McCoy who was the target of a duct cleaning scam involving a direct mail coupon. When McCoy received a $59 coupon from US Air Duct and A.C. Company, he figured it was the perfect time to get his air ducts cleaned.

But when the technician came out to take a look at his HVAC system, he claimed there was mold in the ducts and tried to sell him a $700 UV light to kill bacteria and mold spores. Soon a $59 offer was a quote for $2,375.

The next night, McCoy called another company to deal with a furnace malfunction. While their technician was there, he asked for an estimate on the same work that US Air Duct and A.C. Company quoted for home. Their response was a mere $460. Luckily McCoy called another company before paying US Air Duct and A.C. Company’s exorbitant prices (their Yelp page is full of similar stories).

State Attorney General Goes After Air Duct Service Scheme

Meanwhile in Florida, Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office shut down an air conditioning service scheme involving almost a dozen companies, hundreds of consumers, and millions of dollars. Air Care Solutions and ten other companies were targeted by the A.G. for using “false claims, intimidation and scare tactics to coerce” their customers into purchasing expensive parts and services. Many victims were seniors.

As with the previous story in Washington, the defendants would use lowball offers advertised in weekly mailers and coupons to get into their victims’ homes, then upsell them on mold removal and other expensive services.

Reliable Air Duct Cleaning Services in CT

Preferred Hood and Duct in Monterey, Monterey is dedicated to helping residential and commercial customers avoid air duct cleaning scams by providing reliable air duct cleaning, AC coil cleaning, dryer vent cleaning, and more with honesty and integrity. While we still encourage you to shop around and do your homework, we’re confident that you won’t find a better air duct cleaning company in the state than Preferred HD.

Contact us to learn more, by calling (860) 613-1130 or using the form below:

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ACCA’s Updated HVAC System Cleanliness Standard Approved by ANSI

air duct cleaningAs with any other industry, HVAC cleaning relies on a strict set of standards. Set by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, these guidelines for the HVAC cleaning industry are called Restoring the Cleanliness of HVAC Systems standard, or the ACCA 6 QR – 2015.

New guidelines were recently approved by the American National Standards institute (ANSI) for the first time since 2007. The new guidelines have been clarified for language and streamlined for efficiency, with updated references and citations.

According to the updated ANSI/ACCA 6 QR – 2015 standards, the minimum procedures and practices for HVAC cleaning are as follows:

  • Determine when airside surfaces should be cleaned, and when they require repair or replacement;
  • Clean the airside surfaces within HVAC systems;
  • Control the spread of contaminants, which may be released as a result of the HVAC cleaning process;
  • Verify the cleanliness of HVAC systems.

More detailed standards are laid out for different areas of the HVAC industry, including refrigeration system maintenance, system installation, installation verification, residential maintenance, and restoration. More information about ACCA guidelines can be found on their website here.

The ACCA’s Quality Standards are detailed instructions for design, installation, maintenance, and repair, and have been adopted across the board by utilities, government agencies, manufacturers, and HVAC technicians across the country. If you’re looking for HAVC cleaning services, be sure to ask if the company if they’re familiar and compliant with the ACCA’s standards. If they’re not, it’s time to find someone more reputable.

If you need duct cleaning and other HVAC services in Monterey, look no further than Preferred HD. Preferred HD hold themselves to a standard in keeping with the ACCA and more. Whether it’s for a home or commercial building, if you need your air ducts cleaned in Monterey, you need Preferred HD. Call (860) 613-1130 to learn more.

Mold in Air Ducts: How to Tell if You Have It and What to Do about It

The interior of an air duct before and after cleaning.Few things in the home can pose as great a risk to the health and well-being of your family as mold growing in the air ducts – especially the notoriously harmful black mold. While mold in air ducts and vents is fairly uncommon, it does happen. If you suspect black or other molds might be growing in your HVAC systems, take the following steps to be certain before calling in a professional vent cleaner.

How to Tell if You Have Mold in Your Air Vents

  • Follow your nose. The first sign you’ll probably notice if you have mold or fungus growing in your air vents is the telltale smell. Most people know what mold smells like without having to be told: think old gym clothes, bad food from the back of the fridge, or a particularly pungent European cheese. If that kind of smell pervades your entire house, or smells especially strong new vent openings or grates, it’s possible that you have a mold problem in your HVAC system.
  • Check for visual signs. If you think there might be mold in your home’s vents, open up a grate and peer inside with a flashlight. If you see mold, often in the form of black or off-color spotting or irregular splotches, the mystery is solved and it’s time to call a pro. In severe cases, mold will be visible outside the vents and AC registers on the surrounding wall, floor, or ceiling. If this is the case, call a pro right away.
  • Check for standing water or excessive moisture. Even if you can’t see mold, it thrives on excess humidity and moisture. If you see any, there’s a better than normal chance that mold isn’t far away.
  • Get your vents tested by a professional. It’s the only way to be sure of the location and scope of the problem.

What Causes Mold in Duct Systems?

Mold in duct systems is caused when it finds the three things it needs to thrive: a stable temperature, a source of food, and a source of water. Since HVAC systems are designed to stabilize temperature and dust provides a workable source of food for mold, all that’s left for most systems is moisture. Once a steady supply of moisture is available, through a leak, condensation, or improper maintenance, mold growth is a distinct possibility.

What to Do about Mold in Your Home’s Vents

Again, your first step should be to call a professional mold inspector. They will perform a thorough inspection of vents, HVAC units, AC coils, and other places that can harbor mold. If the testing team does find mold, remediation is done by air duct cleaners. Once your ducts are clean and free of mold, prevent future growth by having your ducts and HVAC systems regularly cleaned and maintained.

If you’re looking for HVAC cleaning services in Monterey, call Preferred HD at (860) 613-1130, or contact them by using this convenient online form.

National Fire Prevention Week – Dryer Vent & Kitchen Hood Fire Facts

A clip art icon of a fire extinguisher.It’s National Fire Prevention Week, originally created by Calvin Coolidge to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Every year in October, the National Fire Prevention Association and the U.S. Fire Administration team up to spread awareness about fire safety and prevention in the home. Some quick facts about home fires in America:

  • Three out of five home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • In 2013, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 369,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,755 deaths, 12,200 civilian injuries, and $7.0 billion in direct damage
  • Home fires killed an average of eight people every day in 2013.
  • Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries, followed by heating equipment.
  • In 2010, almost 17,000 home fires were reported involving washers or dryers, causing 51 deaths, 380 injuries, and $236 million in damages. This accounts for 4.5% of all home fires.
  • The leading cause of home clothes dryer and washer fires was failure to clean (32%).

Some key takeaways from this information:

  • Keep smoke detectors in every bedroom, sleeping area, and floor of the house. A 3 bedroom, 2-story home should have a minimum of five smoke alarms.
  • Be careful when it comes to cooking, most home fires are started in the kitchen.
  • Be diligent when it comes to cleaning your dryer vents and exhaust.

If you’re in Monterey, Preferred Hood & Duct can help with the latter two.

Kitchen grease hoods are a major cause of kitchen fires, caused when fire from the stove is sucked into hood ducts which are coated with flammable grease and fat. Preferred HD offers residential and commercial kitchen exhaust cleaning services throughout Monterey.

Your dryer vents should be cleaned regularly, between every six months to two years depending on how often you do laundry. If your dryer is drying worse, taking longer, or producing hotter clothes than normal, it’s likely that it needs its vent cleaned. Preferred HD also offers home and commercial dryer vent cleaning services.

More resources about National Fire Prevention Week

United States Fire Administration

Fire Safety Checklist (pdf)

How to Avoid Air Duct Cleaning Scams

A pile of signs warning of scams, like duct cleaning scams preying on homeowners with HVAC systems. As a responsible homeowner, you know that it’s necessary to have your home’s HVAC systems and ducts periodically cleaned to remove dust, mold, dander, and more. Unfortunately, like any other necessity, there are unscrupulous con-men out there who will charge top dollar for the service while providing sub-par service or worse. How do you avoid dishonest contractors or even outright air duct cleaning scams? Follow this simple advice when shopping for a contractor in Monterey – or save yourself some time and simply call Preferred Hood & Duct.

If a company’s price sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Many companies will advertise with coupons in local publications for first time specials or similar “deals” for duct cleaning services as low as $50 for an entire house. When you bring them in for a consultation or cleaning, they’ll invariably insist that something is wrong with your HVAC system, and it needs a costly repair right away. A low, low introductory price doesn’t sound so enticing after a vigorous upsell. If something seems fishy, get a second opinion.

Any good air duct cleaning company should be able to answer these questions:

  • What equipment will you be using?
  • What’s included in your standard price? Does it include the entire system or just the ductwork?
  • Are you NADCA certified?
  • How long will the service take?
  • Will there be any other charges?

If a contractor hems and haws, stutters, or doesn’t seem sure how to answer, send them packing.

Check for an online presence. A good company will have a legitimate website, and listings in at least one or to reputable business directories. If a company’s name, number, and address is completely absent from the internet, it’s probably for a good reason. You can also check for reviews on many reputable sites.

Bonus! Click the video below to watch Chris Hansen confront a scam duct cleaning service on Dateline:

For a reliable duct cleaning service in Monterey contact Preferred Hood & Duct

Everything You Need to Know About Furnace Duct Cleaning

A happy family enjoying the clean air from their newly cleaned ducts. With winter weather on the way, it’s time to start thinking about maintenance for your home or business’s heating systems. That means in part having your furnace ducts cleaned.

Furnace ducts are the ducts the deliver heat from the furnace to the rooms of your home or building through plastic or metal vents in the walls, floors, or ceilings. Forced air furnaces are the most common home-heaters in the U.S., so proper maintenance is something that many Americans need to be familiar with. However, proper furnace and furnace duct maintenance is something that required professional experience and training to do properly, so when it’s time for either it’s best to call in the experts.

If you need furnace duct cleaning services in Monterey, call the experts at Preferred HD today at (860) 613-1130 or contact them using this convenient online form.

Why do I need to get my furnace ducts cleaned?

In short: because they’re probably dirty. Furnace duct-work is a buildings respiratory system. Dirt, dust, pollen, mold, hair, allergens, and other contaminants all accumulate over time inside. When you turn your heat on for the first time in summer (or after a long summer of central air use), those contaminants mingle with your home or office’s indoor air. In fact, normal HVAC systems recirculate the same air and contaminants up to seven times per day. This can have big effects on your health.

Regular cleaning of your furnace ducts removes these harmful pollutants and makes your air more healthful and pleasant to breathe (especially in the winter, when opening a window is at its least appealing).

Plus, according to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association, regularly cleaned ducts can result in money-saving energy reduction. Dust and other contaminants accumulate and clog up the proper function of your HVAC system, making it work harder and use more energy to do its job. A clean HVAC system is a happy one, and a happy one is a lot cheaper.

How often should I have my furnace ducts cleaned?

This varies depending on a few different factors. With regular use, most experts suggest every 2 – 5 years. Err toward five if you use the same duct-work for both heating and central air conditioning, if you have long-haired pets, if you have hardwood floor instead of carpets, or if you live in a part of the country with high levels of pollen or air pollution.

Get your ducts cleaned right away if you notice any of the following:

  • Mold growing inside the duct-work.
  • An insect or animal infestation.
  • A visible cloud of dust when air exits floor or wall vents.

How long does furnace duct cleaning take?

Usually the process is no more than a few hours, though with special circumstances or large or commercial sized buildings, that will naturally be extended. Contact us for an exact estimate.

To learn more about furnace duct cleaning and other HVAC cleaning services in Monterey, contact Preferred HD today!

How Often Should I Have my Air Ducts & Vents Cleaned?

If you’re a homeowner with an HVAC system that hasn’t been cleaned in a while, you may be asking yourself: How long can I go before I have to have my air ducts cleaned? The answer depends on a lot of different factors, and will be different from home to home. Here are some of the most common answers you can expect to hear when asking about HVAC and other duct and vent cleaning.

Home HVAC & Air Ducts

According to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association, most home owners should get their ducts cleaned every three to five years. If any of the following applies to you it might be wise to err toward cleaning your ducts every three years rather than five.

  • A shaggy dog on a wood floor, which may cause air ducts to need more frequent cleaning.You have one or more highly allergenic pets, like long-hair cats or dogs.
  • You or someone in your home is particularly sensitive to dust or other allergens.
  • Your ducts are made from fiberglass instead of sheet metal (fiberglass accumulates more dust).
  • You have hardwood floors instead of carpets (carpets gather dust that otherwise gets sucked into the air system).

No matter how long it’s been since your last service appointment, you should get your ducts cleaned right away if you notice any of the following symptoms.

  • You see or have reason to suspect mold is in the air ducts.
  • You see, hear, or otherwise notice any kind of vermin infestation.
  • You find black debris around the outside of the air vent register.
  • You see a visible cloud of dust when air exits heating or conditioning vents.

When to Clean Your Dryer Vent

A clogged dryer vent in need of dryer vent cleaning services.Cleaning your HVAC vents and duct-work is important to your health and well-being to be sure, but neglecting the maintenance of your dryer ducts can by downright deadly. Don’t believe us? The National Fire Protection Association estimates that more than 15,500 house fires were caused by dryers in 2010. When too much excess lint accumulates in your dryer vent, it can easily catch fire. But how often should you have your dryer vent cleaned?

Again, this depends on a lot of variables. If you have pets and a large family that requires several loads of laundry per week, you may need to clean your dryer ducts as frequently as every six months. However, if you live alone and only do laundry every couple of weeks, you might be able to safely go for two years or more.

  • Here are some signs that your dryer vents need to be cleaned sooner than later.
  • Clothes take longer to dry than normal, or require more than one drying cycle to complete.
  • Clothing seems unusually hot to the touch after drying.
  • You notice a musty odor in clothing after they’re dry.
  • The lint trap is gathering larger amounts of debris than is normal.

If you’re in Monterey and think it may be time to have your air ducts or dryer vent cleaned, call Preferred Hood & Duct at (860) 613-1130. With free quotes, fair prices, and the customer service that’s second to none, Preferred HD is the best option for Monterey homeowners. Click here or call to request a quote today.

Clean Ducts Mean Less Allergies

If you're having symptoms of allergies at home, consider cleaning your air ducts. Are you sniffling more than usual in your own home? Have you been coming home from work to a night of sneezing, coughing, and watery eyes? If you’ve tried vacuuming, scrubbing, and wiping down every surface you can find, the culprit might be out of your line of sight. You might need to take a look at your home’s air ducts.

Air ducts which are a part of either your home heating or air conditioning systems can accumulate dust, mold, and other allergens when they’re not in use. When you turn them on as seasons change, those atmospheric contaminants get pumped into the air and can aggravate people with allergies.

How can you know for sure if your ducts are to blame for your allergy symptoms?

  • Allergy symptoms are lessened or absent when you’re out of the house. If you’re only suffering at home, you know it’s something inside.
  • You’ve tried cleaning everything else. Allergens like dust mites can accumulate on bedding, curtains, and upholstery, and bathrooms are a prime location for mold to grow. If you’ve already done deep cleaning of all those possible problem areas to no avail, issues with your ducts are likely.
  • You’ve just turned on the central air or heating system. If your allergy symptoms correlate closely with the start of hot or cold seasons, it might be because of accumulated dust or mold in the vents.
  • There’s visible mold or dust accumulation when you look inside your ducts and vents.

Pollen, dust, and other allergens can accumulate in your home's air ducts. If any of these sound familiar, it might be time to call in an expert. A certified air cleaning specialist can come in for a consultation, often free of charge, and tell you what’s going on with your duct-work, and how to take care of it as quickly and safely as possible.

But don’t take our word for it. According to the EPA you should have your home’s air ducts cleaned if:

  • The surfaces of your ducts or other components of your heating and cooling system have a substantial amount of visible mold on them. An air duct cleaning service may be able to show you this mold, if it is present.
  • You have rodents, insects, or other vermin infesting your ducts.
  • The ducts are clogged with dust and debris.
  • Dust or debris is being released into your home through your system’s air supply registers.

If you’re in Monterey and think you might need to have your home or business’s air ducts or HVAC system cleaned, call Preferred Hood and Duct at (860) 613-1130. With years of experience and full certification from HVAC Inspection, Maintenance, and Restoration Association, they’re the best team in the state for all your duct cleaning needs. Use the number above or this convenient online form to get a free, easy, no obligation quote.

Why Cleaning Your Kitchen Exhaust System Can Save Lives

Kitchen exhaust cleaning services in MontereyFires can be devastating to any business, and many people don’t know about the hazards they’ve created until it is too late. If you own a restaurant or a business with a commercial-sized kitchen, you may be putting yourself and your employees at risk without knowing it. Over time, grease builds up within the kitchen air ducts, hoods, and exhaust systems. It can accumulate to hazardous levels and easily ignite with any minor spark, causing devastating damage and potential injuries or fatalities.

Where Does the Grease Come From?

Exhaust systems are built to pull smoky, grease-filled air out of the kitchen, through the exhaust duct, and out into the air. Grease and other substances are carried up into the vents and ducts and collect on the inner walls. As more and more grease collects, the walls of the vent grow coated in accumulated substances.

Why Is It Hazardous?

The National Fire Protection Association says the majority of restaurant fires start on cooking appliances and flare into the kitchen exhaust. Why are greasy vents so dangerous? If not cleaned regularly, the grease and pollutants can build up within the kitchen exhaust system and become a fire hazard. Not only is the accumulation of grease extremely flammable, but if left unmaintained, grease can continue to accumulate until it restricts airflow through the vent. This not only creates a greater fire hazard, but also effects kitchen air quality.

How Is The Exhaust System Cleaned?

Professional hood and duct cleaners will disassemble areas of your kitchen exhaust system to scrape and wash out accumulated grease and pollutants. Most insurance companies require kitchen exhaust systems to be cleaned at least twice a year to avoid the accumulation of hazardous grease, but the frequency of cleanings should depend on the business’s cooking habits. The following schedule is recommended by Fire Marshals:

  • Solid fuel cooking operations should have monthly cleanings.
  • High-volume cooking operations such as 24-hour cooking, charbroiling, or wok cooking should be cleaned four times a year.
  • Moderate-volume cooking operations should be cleaned twice a year.
  • Infrequent cooking operations like churches, camps, or seasonal businesses should be cleaned yearly.

After the cleaning, the business should receive a certificate with the cleaning service’s name on it and the date of the cleaning. This documentation helps business owners keep track of when their system was cleaned and when they will need to do it again.

For hood, duct, and exhaust cleaning services in Monterey, contact Preferred Hood and Duct at 727-233-6521. Other services include HVAC system inspections and cleanings, dryer vent cleanings, coil cleanings, and more. Improve your indoor air quality and prevent hazardous conditions by properly maintaining your home and business’s air ducts and vents.

3 Important Reasons to Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned

Before and after duct and vent cleaning

Whether you are at home or at your business, air quality, energy conservation, and safety are three main concerns. Believe it or not, the cleanliness of your air ducts can affect all three of these factors. Many business and home owners put-off air-duct cleanings because the problem is out of sight and therefore out of mind, but ignoring the buildup of harmful dust and pollutants in your air ducts will only lead to more problems. It’s a scary fact that the average six-room house collects 40 pounds of dust each year, and considering that most people spend 60-90 percent of their time indoors, the accumulation of dust in your air ducts can affect your health, safety, and energy costs. That’s why we recommend cleaning your air ducts every three to five years.

1) Improving Indoor Air Quality

Your air ducts have a large impact on the air quality in your home or business. They collect dust, dander, allergens, and chemicals, all of which can be harmful to people with asthma, other respiratory conditions, autoimmune disorders, or allergies. For example, according to Total Health & Better Health Magazine, one out of every six people with allergies suffer directly because of fungi or bacteria in the air duct system. Similarly, poor indoor air quality is ranked by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as one of the top five environmental hazards to public health. By cleaning your air ducts on a regular schedule, your air will be cleaner and you will be healthier.

2) Conserving Energy

As energy costs sky-rocket, most homes and businesses are doing their best to conserve energy and save money. Some people unplug their computers at night, others shut off the lights when they’re leaving the room, but cleaning your air ducts can be another effective means of conserving energy and getting more bang for your buck. Many people don’t realize that it only takes one millimeter of dirt to decrease the efficiency of a heating or cooling coil by up to 21 percent. The accumulation of dust and contaminants forces your heating and cooling systems to work much harder, thereby causing a larger exertion of energy. Cleaning your air ducts also has the following advantages:

  • Decreased costs on technical maintenance
  • Longer lifespan
  • More efficient and effective operation

3) Preventing combustible hazards

If dust accumulates in a confined area and under the right conditions, it can become combustible. In order to combust, the dust must be the right concentration and particle size, but the dangers of combustible dust are not worth the risk. Many people have died in combustible dust explosions over the years in incidents that could have been prevented with proper cleanings. Prevent the accumulation of combustible dust in your air ducts and vents by cleaning them regularly.

For professional duct cleaning services, contact Preferred Hood & Duct at 727-233-6521. We offer residential and commercial air duct cleaning services, dryer vent cleaning, HVAC vent cleaning, coil cleaning, and many other heating and air conditioning services.