Keep Ducts Clean with a Whole House Air Cleaner
LESLIE: Alright, Danny in Virginia, what’s going on at your money pit? How can we help?
DANNY: Oh, it’s not bad. Lot of money going in it, though. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: Alright, well that’s what we’re here for. What’s going on?
DANNY: Oh, I was just curious. It is actually worth having the duct system cleaned? Because I don’t think it’s ever been done.
TOM: I don’t necessarily think it’s worth having it cleaned unless there’s been somewhat of a major event like there’s been a big addition put on or something else that stirred up a big stinking mess inside the ducts. More importantly, I would take that money and put it into the right kind of air cleaner. You want to make sure that you have something more than the fiberglass filter that’s sort of the basic component of most HVAC systems. What I would recommend is a whole-house air cleaner; one that’s permanently installed into the return duct; one that’s going to take out dust and mold and virus-size particles.
LESLIE: Even allergens.
TOM: Yeah, even – Aprilaire makes a really good one that was ranked tops by Consumer Reports for the last three years. It’s Aprilaire Model 5000. So you might want to look for an air cleaner like that. That’s where I’d put the money. I wouldn’t spend it cleaning the ducts unless you’ve had some major remodeling project go on that really caused them to get very, very dirty.
DANNY: And it doesn’t really matter how old the house is?
TOM: Not really. I just – I don’t necessarily think it’s a good idea. I don’t really see a reason for it. I would rather see you …
LESLIE: Do you think it can be disruptive to the whole ducting system?
TOM: I don’t know that it would be disruptive. It probably would stir up a lot – (chuckling) probably a bunch of dust that’s caked on there right now. But I just don’t see a reason for it. I’d rather make sure that you have good air-cleaning technology in the system right now so it really filters everything that you’re putting in there. I’ll tell you what. I put one of these Aprilaire units in my house and all of a sudden we weren’t dusting nearly as much, so I know the thing works very well.
DANNY: OK. Alright. Because I mean I can dust and then, you know, a day later it doesn’t even look like I’ve dusted. (chuckling)
TOM: Yeah, what kind of filter do you have right now on the HVAC system?
DANNY: Well, there was an electronic cleaner – an old one – in there and it’s not even in it anymore. So I’m just using like the – you know, the $15, $18 filter that’s supposed to be better than just your $1 filter.
LESLIE: And how often are you changing it?
DANNY: About every month or two?
TOM: Yeah, it doesn’t sound like it’s doing the job. You know, very often you get air that escapes around that; especially if you have the opening from an old electronic air cleaner. I would have one properly fit and go back to that. That’s clearly the most effective way. Because what happens is, with an electronic air cleaner, the dust particles are charged positive; the filter is negative. So it really sticks to it. It’s very, very effective at scrubbing the air clean.
LESLIE: And the filter that they use, their media is 72 linear feet of filter all stacked up into one. So it really is a ton of filtration. And you only change it once a year.
TOM: Yeah, Leslie and I got a chance to see these things made and they’re very impressive.
DANNY: OK. Alright, great. I appreciate it. Thank you.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.