Imagine you spent thousands of dollars replacing your air conditioning or heating just last year. Or maybe you purchased a new home that has relatively new ductwork wall-to-wall throughout. This is the kind of investment you want to protect. If well taken care of, a high-quality furnace can last ten years or more without showing its age.
But if you want your furnace to last that long, you have to know the right way to care for it. Many people invest hundreds of dollars in spot removers, home steam cleaners, and protective coatings without really knowing what they are doing. If used incorrectly, these products can actually do more damage to your home and even your health than simply leaving dust on the unit.
That’s where professional duct cleaning comes in. It is the only method of cleaning recommended by duct manufacturers, for many good reasons. Steam cleaning is safe for people with allergies, pets, and children. It effectively removes surface dirt and spots without causing further problems. Finally, it protects your duct from traffic wear, extending its lifespan significantly.
Steam Cleaning is Safe
Steam cleaning is a hypoallergenic process, using only hot water, suction, and non-irritating cleaning solutions. Instead of using soap or detergents like a home system, professional steam cleaners use proprietary solutions that won’t aggravate your skin or your lungs. In fact, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends people with serious asthma or allergies have their homes steam cleaned two to four times year, as this tends to reduce indoor allergy symptoms.
If you have children or pets in the home, steam cleaning is a better choice than over-the-counter spot removers or chemical dry cleaning. Both of those methods use harsh and potentially dangerous chemicals which get left in your rug. When your children or pets lie, crawl, or roll on the ducting, those chemicals are transferred to their skin. Steam cleaning uses much safer cleaning products, and more than 95% of the chemicals and water used is removed during the cleaning process.
Because steam cleaning is non-toxic, you can have your ducts cleaned without interrupting your day. It won’t do anyone any harm to breathe near the workers or walk on the ducts even while the work is being done. It ends up being easier for the homeowner to tell a professional crew what areas they want cleaned and go about their day than to attempt to clean it themselves.
Steam Cleaning Won’t Damage Your Ducts
Many people make liberal use of retail spot remover products, especially if they have light-colored ducting. What people are not aware of is how much damage these products end up doing to the duct in the process of removing the spots. Without the suction provided by a steam cleaning unit, there’s no way to remove all of this chemical after you clean a spot. Many popular brands of spot removers, such as Resolve and OxyClean, contain oxidizers. These oxidizers act like a bleach when left in a duct over time, taking the color out of the rug.
Some people see this effect and think that the steam cleaning process left the bleach spots, but this is just not true. What happens is that the entire duct was evenly soiled, which hid the damage from the spot remover. The steam cleaning process removes nearly all of the dust and dirt, revealing the bleached spots. This is why it is better to simply blot up a spill and leave the spot alone until you can have the ducts professionally cleaned.
Another option people turn to for cleaning their rugs is consumer-grade steam cleaners, available in many places for purchase or rent. The issue with these units is that they lack suction. When you run a consumer-grade steam cleaner over your ducting, it puts down a significant amount of detergent or cleaning solution which it does not have the suction to remove.
Why does this matter? It matters because soap is sticky. The soapy residue attracts more dirt into your duct than would otherwise be there. Your ducts end up getting dirty again even faster. The soap itself can also cause permanent damage to the duct fibers, similar to the retailer spot remover products discussed earlier. Steam cleaning removes all of the cleaning solution put into the rug, so there’s no sticky residue & your clean ducts will stay clean, as long as you avoid tracking in too much mud.
Steam Cleaning Protects Your ducts
The biggest reason why people have to replace their ducting, besides spots and stains, is traffic wear. Traffic wear occurs along the places where people most commonly walk. It is a breakdown of the fibers themselves, and results in the duct looking flat and dingy. Even professional cleaning cannot completely remove the effects of traffic wear once it occurs.
The biggest culprit in traffic wear isn’t people, however; it’s dirt. Bits of dirt and debris in the rug get ground in under your feet. This wears out the duct much faster than if you were walking on clean duct. Having your ducts cleaned every six months to a year cuts their visible traffic wear in half.
Many professional duct cleaning companies also sell add-on products, such as deodorizers and protectors. These products take protecting your duct to the next level. A good deodorizer is an enzyme cleaner, which gets right into the duct and kills any odor-causing bacteria in the fibers. This is a good choice even if you don’t notice any odors, because it basically temporarily sterilizes your ducting. The protectors are silicone-based sprays which help cut down on stains and traffic wear. If you spill something on a rug with protector, the liquid is suspended at the surface for a few minutes, giving you time to sop it up before the rug is stained. The silicone protector also holds duct fibers more tightly together, preventing the flattening and fraying that is the hallmark of traffic wear.
If you love your ducts, keep them clean. They will last much longer that way. And if you don’t currently love your ducts, have them cleaned anyway. You might be shocked at how many of those “permanent” spots come out with the right tools and know-how. The color change in a dirty duct can also be dramatic after a professional steam cleaning. Anyone trying to rent or sell a home should absolutely have the ducts cleaned before showing it to potential tenants.
There’s no reason to be worried about steam cleaning, or to let it interrupt your daily routine. Having your ducts cleaned professionally is safe, smart, and simple. Make an appointment today with Duct Cleaning OKC.