The interior of a warehouse.

The Benefits of Commercial Air Duct Cleaning

The interior of a warehouse.While everyone knows that air duct and vent cleaning is a necessary part of every homeowner’s maintenance schedule, many business owners and building managers neglect to have the ducts cleaned in their commercial structure. There are many reasons why this might be a case, from ignorance to stinginess, but the fact remains that every building needs its ducts cleaned at some point. Remember: just because the interior of a building’s ducts are out of sight doesn’t mean it’s okay to leave them out of mind. This is especially true in Monterey, with cold winters and hot summers that make for well-worked HVAC systems.

Why Should Air Ducts Be Cleaned?

Over time, dust and other pollutants build up in air ducts. Ultimately your ducts will end up recirculating these contaminants with the air, reducing indoor air quality and posing a potential health risk to anyone who spends a substantial amount of time in the building. For commercial buildings like warehouses, factories, office buildings, and others this means one more hazard for employees to worry about. It can also mean productivity lost to workers sick from poor air quality – as much as $60 billion worth of productivity according to the EPA.An office with exposed air ducts.

In many industrial environments, accumulated dust in air ducts can also pose a fire hazard. You don’t have to be an HVAC
expert to know that a lot of dust with a direct path to a furnace or other heat source could conceivably catch on fire! Proper cleaning reduces the risk of combustion in air ducts, protecting lives, livelihoods, and property.

Finally, properly cleaned commercial air ducts can also save money. Accumulated dust makes furnaces, air conditioners, and other HVAC systems work harder. This increases energy consumption and energy spending. (In our opinion, saving money on heating and cooling shouldn’t be something anyone sold on.)

 How Often Should Air Ducts in Commercial Buildings Be Cleaned?

Required frequency of cleanings will depend on a number of factors, including how heavily used the HVAC system is and what kind of airborne contaminants are present inside. Have your ducts inspected regularly by a qualified duct cleaning professional, annually or so at first. Eventually an appropriate frequency can be established.

Contact Preferred HD in Monterey for a commercial air duct inspection and service quote.

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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Animals in Your Air Ducts? Prevention and Solutions for Vent Vermin

A rodent in a homes basement or ductworkAs the weather here in Monterey gets colder, many animals like mice, rats, squirrels and other critters start to look for someplace warm to hunker down until spring. Sometimes Mother Nature provides, but all too often these animals find refuge in a home or business’s heating or aid ducts.

Animals in air ducts can cause a lot of damage in problems down the road, so it’s best to prevent this from happening in the first place. Of course, if it’s already too late for that it’s time for a game plan to get the pests gone (and keep them away).

If you want to keep animals out of your air ducts, or think you already have them and want to know what to do about it, keep reading to get more info from Preferred Hood & Duct in Monterey, CA.

How to Prevent Animals from Getting Into Air Ducts

As with any other problem, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to animals in your air ducts. Prevent them from getting in by taking the following precautions:

  • Minimize the number of entry points. Animals, especially rodents, can often get into a home’s air ducts by crawling through small holes and crevices in the building’s exterior. Inspect your home, either by yourself or with the help of a professional, to make sure there are no holes in the siding, soffit, fascia, or other common problem points.
  • Cover vent openings with a wire mesh cover – 16-gauge, 18-gauge, or 22-gauge works best. This will prevent rodents, birds, bats, and other creatures from getting inside the only necessary openings in your home or business’s ductwork.
  • Consider purchasing an ultrasonic animal repeller to keep animals away from your home. These devices run on an AC plug or batteries and emit a high-frequency sound that humans can’t hear, but the kinds of animals that find air ducts cozy absolutely hate. They’re easily available at most hardware stores and online.

What to Do About Animals Already in Air Ducts

If you think you already have animals in your air ducts (the sound and smell is usually the best giveaway) you need to take action immediately.

First, you need to call a licensed professional pest control company to have any living animals removed from your air vents or ducts. If you’re confident in your abilities, laying down traps is also an option, but poison isn’t recommended. Once the infestation is eliminated, take the precautionary steps outlined above to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Finally, it’s time to get your ducts cleaned up and have any damage diagnosed and addressed. If you’re in Monterey, call Preferred HD for all your residential and commercial duct cleaning needs. They’ll clean up whatever mess your unwelcome guests left behind, and point out any serious damage they may have done. Get in touch by calling (860) 613-1130 or using this online form today.

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Why You Really Need to Have Your Dryer Vent Cleaned

A dirty dryer vent hose that needs cleaning.The lint trap in your dryer catches only about 60 percent of the lint. The remaining 40 percent travels up through your dryer vent and the dryer vent system and accumulates over time. This not only creates a fire hazard, but it can also make your dryer run less efficiently and raise your electric bill.

Most of the dryer vent is not visible. The only parts that can be seen are the dryer exhaust, the transition hose, and the roof exhaust vent or exterior wall vent in some multi-story buildings. Most of the vent is located inside the walls, floor joist, crawl space, and attic.

If a fire started in one of these confined spaces, you might not be aware of it at first, which means it could spread to other areas. Sprinkler systems and smoke detectors might not be triggered right away. You and your family might wake up to find a large part of the house engulfed in flames.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, clogged or blocked dryer vents cause thousands of structure fires every year in the United States. These fires are responsible for dozens of deaths, hundreds of injuries, and millions of dollars in property losses.

Cleaning your dryer vent can make your dryer work more efficiently. If the vent is clogged, warm, moist air will be trapped in the dryer, which will make it take longer for your clothes to dry. You could have to run the dryer through more than one cycle to get the clothes dry, which would add to your electric bill.

Dryer vents should be cleaned once a year to remove lint causing blockages. This can protect your home from fire and also lower your monthly electric bill. Contact Preferred Hood & Duct today to schedule an appointment to have your dryer vent cleaned.

Is Your Furnace Blowing Lukewarm Air? This Might Be Why.

A girl in winter clothing at her laptop computer. Via Justin Hall on Flickr.The weather is getting colder here in Monterey, and that means people are turning on their furnaces for the first time of the year. If you’ve turned on your home’s heat and found the air coming out of your home heating vents is lukewarm at best, you’re probably pretty frustrated.

Unfortunately, there can be many answers to the question, “Why is my furnace blowing lukewarm air?” Here are some of the most common explanations. Some are easily remedied by any homeowner, and some will require an HVAC professional to address.

Leaking Air Ducts

If your home’s air ducts are leaking, cold air could be making its way inside and mixing with the hot air produced by the furnace. This results in mild, lukewarm air emerging from the vents. Duct leaks can be caused by deteriorating seals, improper installation, and damage from pests. If you’re experiencing lukewarm are from your ducts in addition to symptoms of duct leaks like higher than usual utility bills, call a heating and cooling expert to diagnose the problem.

Problems with the Filter

If your furnace’s air filter is clogged or improperly installed, it may restrict the flow of air to the furnace burner. If the blower is still operating however, this will result in lukewarm air coming from the vents. A simple visual check should be enough to tell you if your furnace’s air filter is dirty. If it is, throw it away and replace it with a fresh one. If you’ve just done that, and there’s still a problem with the burner, the filter might be improperly installed. If you’re not confident replacing it yourself, call a professional.

The Thermostat is Set to “On” Instead of “Auto”

When the thermostat is set to “on,” the furnace system blows air whether or not the furnace is actually producing heat. This will result in lukewarm air emerging from the vents. Set the thermostat to “auto” and the fan will only run when the burner is actually producing heat.

A Problem with the Gas Supply or Furnace

If your furnace isn’t getting any or enough gas, it won’t be heating anything, much less the air coming from your air vents. Make sure there’s no problem with the gas supply. This problem could also be caused by a faulty thermocouple or flame sensor. If the burner’s not igniting and there’s no problem with the gas, contact a professional to investigate.

If your heat isn’t working and it’s cold outside, it’s imperative that you get it working as soon as possible. If self-troubleshooting isn’t doing the trick, call a professional right away.

For HVAC inspections and duct cleaning in Monterey, call Preferred Hood and Duct.

Image Credit: Justin Hall, licensed via Creative Commons

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.

Burglar Gets Stuck in Pizza Exhaust Duct for 11 Hours

A simple illustration of a burglar with striped shirt and mask.If you ever needed any more convincing that crawling around in air ducts in something best left to the professionals, this story from the lighter side of the news might be just what you’ve been looking for.

A 32-year-old man in Brandon Township, Michigan northwest of Detroit got himself into a tight spot when he tried to break into a local pizzeria through the pizza oven’s rooftop exhaust vent.

Police say the man, who hasn’t been named by authorities, was discovered when employees at the Cracker Barrel Pizza Store called the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office about a person screaming for help. He was ultimately removed from the duct – halfway between the roof and the floor – by firefighters. Authorities say the man was there for about 11 hours before being rescued. He was sent to the hospital with minor injuries and dehydration.

According to police, the man was on parole at the time of the incident, with prior convictions for drug charges and breaking and entering.

The moral of the story? We can think of two: crime doesn’t pay, and don’t go crawling through ducts unless you know what you’re doing.

While breaking into a pizza restaurant in the middle of the night is likely close the bottom of any list of reasons to spend time in a vent there are at least a few good ones, the most important of which being routine cleaning and maintenance by a professional duct cleaning service like Preferred HD.

Without routine cleaning your home or business’s air ducts can accumulate dust, mold, and other contaminants which are not only harmful to your HVAC system, but the building’s air quality as wall. For restaurants, there’s also the issue matter oven hood vent cleaning to remove highly flammable grease before some more unfortunate than a bungling burglar happens.

If you’re in Monterey, contact Preferred HD today 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