Breathe Easy

Dirt. Five-year-olds love it, plants can’t live without it, and you’re breathing it in every day. Not just breathing it in—you’re paying to inhale the largest cause of your home’s dust and allergy problems.You’re probably thinking that’s an exaggeration, but according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the air in your home may be up to five times more polluted than outside air.

Vincent Crocilla Jr., of Pure Aire Professional Air Duct Cleaning in Vineland, says the common reasons for poor air quality include poorly maintained heating and cooling systems: “It’s constantly circulating and cooling the air that keeps your family comfortable. Like anything else that works, it gets dirty and has to be cleaned.”

An inefficient system can possibly increase heating and cooling costs. No matter how clean your house is, contaminated air ducts can subject your family to high degrees of dust and debris. If not properly maintained, heating and cooling components can be contaminated with dust, pollen, and other debris. Unwanted moisture in ducts increases the risk of mold spores, and those with mold allergies or asthma can be seriously affected.

What’s that smell? Signs of indoor air quality problems include unusual and noticeable odors, excessive dust, stale or stuffy air, noticeable lack of air movement, dirty filters in the heating and cooling unit, excessive humidity and presence of mold and mildew. The signs that most likely trigger a call to a professional are symptoms of a resident with allergies, excessive dust or realizing that your health improves when you’re outdoors. Crocilla says even new or renovated homes may require duct cleaning because the odds of debris build-up are greater due to construction and finishing stages after ducts are installed.

“The air in most new and older homes can be greatly improved. The benefit is not only your comfort, also consider the energy savings and health benefits,” he says.

Getting a qualified professional: An important aspect of obtaining more comfort and better air quality in your home is choosing the right professional, which requires some investigation. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) is a good source to find a reputable company. Also when choosing a contractor, always verify proof of insurance; experience and background are important, find out if the contractor has worked on a unit like yours. Choosing a company that utilizes duct cleaning as their only source of income increases your chance of getting the most thorough job. You can contact Pure Aire at 856-205-9000 for a free copy of the consumer’s guide to air duct cleaning.

There are a few questions to ask before having your duct system cleaned:

• How long has it been since your HVAC system was cleaned?
• Are there pets in the home?
• Do you live in a new or newly remodeled home?
• Does anyone experience burning in the eyes, nose, or throat while in the home?
• Is there excessive dust on furniture?
• Do any family members show symptoms of mild to severe allergies?

If you answered yes, to any of these questions, you may benefit from air duct cleaning. The best way to find out if you will is to have an inspection of your duct system by a Certified Air Duct Specialist.

What to expect: Time and equipment can vary depending on the provider and the amount of work to be done. Always have your contractor provide a written agreement on cost and expected labor hours before beginning the job, especially if you are being charged by the hour.

NADCA endorses two main types of vacuums—those mounted or connected to trucks or trailers and portable units. Make sure your service does more than simply vacuum the ducts of your home. With a proliferation of services and promotional deals, it’s easy to get caught up in a great deal. But the EPA and NADCA warn not to sacrifice quality for price, which ranges from $300 to $700 per system.

Most people don’t realize how much money they can save with a system that runs efficiently. Follow these guidelines to ensure you’re dealing with the most qualified company and getting what you pay for.

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