Have You Ever Moved a Couch or Dresser Drawers and Wondered How the Heck All the Dust Bunnies Accumulated Under It?

Ok, be honest: At some point in your life, you have moved a couch or dresser and found a colony of dust bunnies or maybe even dust buffalos. Well, take comfort in the fact that everyone has, including (I’m sure) Martha Stewart and it isn’t your fault (or hers)!

dust filled air vent

Residential: Home sweet home (right?)

Dust is a part of life and sneaks into your home through doorways, windows, HVAC leaks and even hitches a ride on your scruffy little dog. When the outside air is dirty or polluted, you will most likely have even more dust coming into your home. And although I’m sure that you are doing everything within your power to reduce your carbon footprint, air pollution is a big problem.

As this dust enters your home, contrary to the popular belief of mothers worldwide, it is not all accumulating on table tops and fireplace mantles. It’s also settling into your air ducts and being circulated by moving air all through your ventilation system and back out into your living spaces. With this collection of dust and debris, dust mites have a full-blown buffet to keep them fed and ready to breed. As their families thrive, ours suffer from mite-related allergies, illness and asthma.

According to the Center for Disease Control, 18.7 million adults and 7 million children suffered from asthma in 2010. In 2008, almost 3 million individuals with asthma were living here in California. When exposed to a ventilation system that is infested with dust, debris or other pollutants, adults and children suffering from asthma are at a high-risk of having an asthma attack.

Asthma sufferers are not the only ones that will experience health problems when indoor air quality is poor: allergy-prone individuals, the elderly and those suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are also significantly affected. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that many elderly individuals spend 10% or less of their time outdoors. This means that the air they are exposed to for the other 90% of their time has the potential to significantly harm or help their health.

As we age, we tend to have more delicate respiratory systems, regardless of whether we have asthma or COPD, and the effects of polluted air on our systems can be devastating. It is for this reason that the EPA and the CDC recommend maintaining a healthy, indoor air-quality index with a clean, mold, dust-mite, and pollutant-free duct system.

commercial air vent filled with dust and dirt

Light commercial: Work makes me sick!

So you thought it was the chronically flickering, fluorescent lights making you ill Monday-Friday, 9-5? Well, it might not be the lights after all – or even your boss. It may be the very air that you breathe at your home away from home. And in reality, it’s no laughing matter. According to the EPA, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) has been linked to dust and fume exposure in the workplace. In fact, there are a whole string of illnesses that are often traced to poor workplace air quality including: Legionnaire’s disease, asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonia and humidifier fever. Add to that other common complaints, such as headache, lethargy and sore throat, and you’ve got a whole workforce of physically-drained employees.

The three most common reasons for poor air quality in the workplace are: indoor pollutants, improperly designed or maintained ventilation systems and poor building design. Some examples of indoor air pollutants are cleaning supplies, asbestos, water-damaged materials and dust. When a duct system is poorly designed and has either improperly-placed vents or ducting that is not conducive to proper air flow, these air pollutants are not properly ventilated and fresh air is not allowed in. This may also lead to exhaust and other outdoor contaminants entering the workplace consistently.

Was that you?

Have a Taco Bell-themed camping trip and you’ll quickly find out that some smells can in fact be deadly. The same goes for putrid odors emanating from your duct system. These can be indicators that you’ve got guests. Sometimes these odors are caused by animal debris or mold, but if you don’t go after the source, you certainly can’t rid your home of the stench. Mold is a huge contributor to sometimes serious allergies and illnesses and should not be left untreated. As everybody knows: mold grows! If odor is a problem in your home, a White Glove professional can discuss the treatment options with you. In some cases, an antibacterial or tobacco/mold/smoke-specific chemical treatment is necessary.

Duct Sealing and Testing: Why just treat it when you can prevent it?

Although having your system inspected and cleaned can significantly reduce allergies, unpleasant odors and other air-quality issues, preventative measures can also be taken to ensure that your air stays clean. It is important to have your ducts inspected for leaks which may be pulling polluted air from attics and other insulation-filled areas of the home and pushing it into your living spaces. Leaky or disconnected ducts can also be an easy way for animals to get trapped in the ventilation system.

air vent filled with nasty dirt and debris

In addition to bringing unwanted air and debris into the house, a leaky duct will also let the conditioned air out of the house, rendering your ventilation system inefficient and costly. Unfortunately, the average California home loses about 40% of conditioned air due to leaky ducts. If your ventilation system was installed prior to 2008 (when new mandatory sealing codes came into effect for the state of CA), your home is likely to be losing 40% of its conditioned air as well (www.energy.ca.gov). It is also possible that components of the duct system are disconnected or separating. That is why White Glove makes duct testing part of every complete cleaning job. To conduct a duct testing, we use a tool that is known as a “Duct-blaster” to measure air loss within your system. White Glove professionals are certified duct-sealers and Building Performance Institute analysts, so if a leak is found, we know what to do!

What does a duct cleaning involve?

The two most common methods of cleaning ducts are contact cleaning and negative air cleaning.

Contact cleaning involves the use of rotary spinning brushes connected to high-quality vacuums. These powerful, top-notch vacuums contain HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, which are known to greatly reduce the amount of dust, dust-mites and other debris that tend to re-enter the air through vacuum exhaust.

When a negative air cleaning is conducted, we use either spinning brushes or air whips to work the dust and debris loose. Once freed from the lining of the ducts, we use an incredibly powerful vacuum to remove the dust and debris altogether.
Although both types of duct-cleaning are effective, a White Glove professional will choose one over the other, depending on the size and needs of the ventilation system being cleaned.

See our duct cleaning comparison chart.

What else?

In addition to dust and debris removal, a thorough duct cleaning includes:

  • AC coil and heat exchanger cleaning (This will ensure that your AC and furnace are working efficiently, saving you money!)
  • A filter change (White Glove provides you with top-notch electrostatic air filters with a forever warranty. What this means is that you will never need to replace them; simply clean them monthly. We recommend that you purchase a second set for use while the other is being cleaned.)

Yes, but what will it cost?

There are many factors that go into the cost of a cleaning which is why we do not usually do quotes over the phone. Instead, a White Glove professional will check the ducts for debris and damage and then discuss your options. Your ducts may not even need cleaning; or if they do, they may have leaks that need to be fixed in order to keep them clean.

We understand that you work hard for your money, and don’t want to pay for services that you don’t need. And although we all like surprises, surprises on bills don’t tend to give quite the same thrill. With White Glove, you will have all of the information and options up front so that you can make the best decision for you and your family.

Call us today or click here to schedule your appointment online!


Clogged, dirty dryer vents not only make your dryer work harder but also present a potential fire hazard. Don’t neglect this important home maintenance and safety chore. Let White Glove put their expertise to work for you.