Should I Get My Air Conditioning Ducts Cleaned?

In Canada we had our heating ducts cleaned once every two years when we had our furnace and humidifier serviced. Now that we are looking to purchase a house in Australia that has central air conditioning we are having to consider if we should be cleaning these ducts as well …

The duct work in Canada was smooth, solid duct work like in the photo above. The duct work that is connected to the central air conditioner here in Australia however is not smooth or solid, it is flexible and corrugated.

Of course the companies doing duct cleaning will recommend that you get them cleaned at regular and reoccurring intervals, but even the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that there is no scientific proof that getting your ducts cleaned actually helps with air quality. Although there is anecdotal evidence (example) that cleaning the ducts increases air quality, the EPA states that:

Duct cleaning has never been shown to actually prevent health problems. Neither do studies conclusively demonstrate that particle (e.g., dust) levels in homes increase because of dirty air ducts or go down after cleaning.

Reasons to get your ducts cleaned

The EPA does state that there are a few reasons that you should consider getting your ducts cleaned. They are:

  • There is substantial visible mould growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system.
  • Ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents or insects).
  • Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.

If there is not those factors then cleaning your ducts provides no benefit.

What is more important in the maintenance of your air conditioning unit is to:

  • Check and change or clean the filters regularly
  • Make sure that the system is well maintained
  • Have regular inspections
  • Ensure that moisture is not entering the system

How much does duct cleaning cost in Australia?

I just actually called a company here in Adelaide to find out how much it would cost to get the air ducts cleaned in the house we are buying. To say I was shocked at the cost would be an under statement!

To clean the ducts, vents and return would cost $1087!

No wonder the air duct cleaning companies will tell you that regular cleaning is needed …

Cool Your House with your Range Hood

One disadvantage with having a very well insulated home is that in the summer the house takes a long time to cool off in the evening. Often with a house that is insulated well it also means that there are fewer windows and limited cross ventilation and cross breezes.

Recently we have been hitting over 30C in Calgary. It is nice for change during the day, but it leaves us with a rather hot house come evening when it is time for bed.

Last year we installed a new vented range hood in our kitchen. The range hood we got is a NuTone Deluxe Allure® III, which is rated at about 300 CFM on the “3″ setting, and 430 CFM in boost mode. I figured that is a lot of air to be pulling out of the house, so it needs to get the air from somewhere right?

When it cools down outside I find that I can open up some windows far from the kitchen, put the range hood on the highest setting and actually feel the air being pulled into the house from outside. It really seems to help to cool down the house…

Blueway Air Conditioner Error Codes

Blueway Air Conditioner

On one of my previous posts about our Blueway Air Conditioner I have had quite a few people ask me about the error codes that people come across with the unit. Although we never had a problem with our Blueway air conditioner quite a few other people seem to have experienced problems.

Here is the list of the error codes:

  • E2 – Indoor temperature sensor failure
  • E3 – Indoor pipe temperature sensor failure
  • E4 – Outdoor unit abnormality failure
  • E5 – Indoor fan motor failure
  • df – Unit Defrosting

I hope that helps the people who are needing them…

Combat High Humidity with a Dehumidifier

Over on my previously article about “What temperature do you set your air conditioner to” someone asked me the following question:

Can someone in the know please tell me how to combat high humidity in the home. It is Jan 2011 with all this rain and humidity here in Melbourne the tiled floor in the home and the painted garage floors have taken on a film of dampness and I’m worried about it being a slipping hazard let alone any other damage that all this dampness can cause. Obviously running my evaporative AC system would increase the problem, any solutions would be appreciated.

I reckon that the best bet for removing humidity from a house that doesn’t have a dehumidifier built into the air conditioner would be a separate dehumidifier. They recommend dehumidifiers for basements here in Canada, but they also work well in other humid environments.

Dehumidifiers are available in various sizes:

  • single room units
  • apartment size units
  • small home units
  • large home units

I found a few places in Australia that sell dehumidifiers with prices ranging from $120 for a unit for a closet to $1200 for a unit for a large house (140 square metres):

The dehumidifiers are available as portable units and as whole-house dehumidifiers depending on your needs. The portable units are easy to use since they don’t need to be installed by a contractor, but you need to be aware of the size of it as some are not as portable as the name would suggest. The whole house units generally need to be installed by a specialist contractor.