This blog dedicated to help the millions of homeowner and business facilities fight the constant problem of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).

Friday, March 27, 2009

Nadca Announces Winners of the 2008 Safety Awards


NADCA Announces Amistee as winner of the 2008 Safety Award

(Washington, D.C.) NADCA - The HVAC Inspection, Maintenance and Restoration Association has named Amistee Air Duct Cleaning, of Novi, MI as the recipient of the 2008 Safety Award. This honor was awarded to show that the company is dedicated to ensuring the safety of its employees and clients

Matt Mongiello, co-chair of NADCA's Education and Safety Committee, said, "The success of a company depends not only on production and sales, but also how safely each job is performed. There is no job so important - nor any service so urgent - that we cannot make time to work safely.

"Establishment of a safe environment is the shared responsibility between a contractor and its employees at all levels of an organization. Achieving the goal of accident prevention and health preservation is an admirable feat and shows the commitment of a company dedicated to excellence," added Mongiello.

The requirements for NADCA's Safety Awards are based on standards from OSHA. In order to complete the Safety Award Application, Amistee had to maintain the OSHA #300A Log in accordance with record keeping requirements under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

The National Air Duct Cleaners Association created the NADCA Safety Awards Program to recognize companies such as Amistee Air Duct Cleaning for having superior employee safety and health program results. The NADCA Safety Awards Program is awarded every year.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Cheap VS. Getting It Done Right

Everyone who has researched air duct cleaning has seen the ads for the $69.99, $99 or even $199 whole house special. This type of advertising is misleading and we call it the "bait and switch" method. This means the company advertising this will give you a low price and then once they get out to your house they know you won't send them away so they will say "our price is only for the first main duct" and then charge you a lot more to perform the work. I am writing this particular blog to help you educate yourself on what to look for in an air duct cleaner in the Michigan region.

When you hire a company that advertises a special, look right beneath the price and see what it says. A lot of the times it will say "One main cleaning and up to 10 heat vents" or "Includes one main duct" or "Includes on main supply duct and one main return duct". All of these advertisers we recently pulled from coupon magazines and I promise all of them will get to your home and change their price in most cases 5 times what they have advertised.

It is not uncommon for Amistee to go back on a job completed by one of these companies and have the customer say they kicked air duct cleaning company "A" out of their home because they wanted to charge $25 for each hole cut into the duct work, or they advertised large truck mounted equipment but showed up with a small vacuum mounted in a van. These are some of the tell tail signs you are getting taken from a bad air duct cleaner. Equipment and tools are important with any type of job your doing and air duct cleaning is no different.

There are companies that actually have other companies trucks pictured in their ads when they have nothing similar to that as their equipment. In a recent publication company "A" was advertising "powerful truck-mounted equipment, state of the art equipment and video inspected system. When you are looking at the ad everything looks great. It seems as if they have good equipment and they will inspect their work and the price is cheap. The unknown facts are that the company stole the picture of the truck from a NADCA certified companies web site and when they actually come out to do the work show up in a van. Their advertised "video inspection" means they will visually inspect your ducts. You can do this yourself right? Company "A" is not state licensed and not a member of NADCA (National Air Duct Cleaners Association). For a small ranch their price went from $69.99 to over $800 AND THEY ARE NOT EVEN DOING THE CLEANING THE RIGHT WAY!

I am using the name company "A" because we do not want to say anything bad about anyone so please just research research research. If air duct cleaning is done improperly it may cause more harm than good. Duct cleaning can limit the amount of dust coming from your heating and cooling system and help occupants with allergies but not if it is done the wrong way. Here are a few things to ask when you are calling around to local companies.

1. Are you licensed and if so what is your state license number? If they will not give you the number they are not licensed. It is not like a social security number and does not need to be private. As you can see Amistee puts our number on our website under "State Licenses"

2. Are you members of NADCA (National Air Duct Cleaners Association)? A full list of all the members is on the website at All of the current members are in good standing and I feel confident referring you to any of them for air duct cleaning.

3. What type of equipment do you use? If they say "we only use truck mounted equipment" start asking things like "does your equipment run off the engine of the truck"? If they say no then it is a smaller portable machine which will be less powerful. How many CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute) does your equipment pull? This is important because it will tell you if they are using powerful equipment. Amistee's vacuum trucks pull anywhere between 16 and 17,000 CFM. Our trucks are all lettered with our logo and name so you know you are getting who you called.

4. Will you take before and after pictures for me at no extra charge? The main thing is "no extra charge" Amistee will show you the pictures from inside your duct work date stamped so you know it is YOUR DUCT WORK and not Mrs. Jones from a year ago. Other companies that will not do this are obviously not proud of their work and have something to hide.

5. How long does the process take? I have heard of companies claiming to clean air ducts and with one guy show up and clean maybe some duct work and leave in less than half of an hour. Our process is using the most powerful up to date equipment and tools with two highly trained technicians. We tell our customers the standard air duct cleaning will take roughly 2-3 hours.

6. Do you guarantee your work? Many companies put this in print ads but do not stand behind the writing. If you have a problem and call them back they will not come out or the number might be changed. If they do not publish a physical location this might be a company to steer away from. If there is a problem you would not be able to go into their shop. We stand behind our work 100% and will take care of any problem not matter if it is big or small. Your satisfaction is what we live and breathe for. Our main office location is 44485 Grand River Ave in Novi Michigan. We are here 6 days a week and not going anywhere.

7. How do you price an air duct cleaning? Does the company give you a starting price and then add on all the extras? This can get to be very expensive and quickly make the price very high. Amistee Air Duct Cleaning gives an "all inclusive" pricing structure. Our pricing is flat rate including all of the duct work connected to your furnace from every vent back to the furnace. We will also clean the air side components of your furnace. We believe you need to clean the whole system to get the true benefits of air duct cleaning. If you provided us with the correct information about your home (size & number of furnaces) our price will not change at all. You will know how much you are paying before we even show up. WE HAVE NO HIDDEN CHARGES!

8. Do you have any referrals from previous customers? Having someone give a referral who has used a company for the same service you are looking for is a tell tail sign if they are good or not. Amistee has a list of over 3000 satisfied customers. If you ask we will give you names and phone numbers of our most recent customers in your area.

9. Are you highly rated by the BBB and do you have any complaints? This might be a question you do your own research on. If you ask a company if they are members a lot will say yes even though they are not. If they are going to lie to you about being a member they will also lie about having complaints. Go to the BBB website and do a search. Amistee is in high standing and does not have any complaints.

10. Are you referred by other local contractors? A heating and cooling contractor treats their customers as their babies. They do not want to refer companies that are going to provide shoddy work and not do the proper job. Amistee works with most of the local heating and cooling contractors and restoration companies.

11. Do your workers actually work for your company? We sometimes see companies send out subcontractors to perform the work. These workers are not true company employees. They may not be in uniform or even know what they are doing. Amistee only does air duct cleaning and uses ONLY Amistee employees. We promise to you that anyone from our company will show up on time, in a clean uniform and ready and willing to provide you with the best service in the industry, you have my word

12. Is your equipment clean? You are the only one that is allowed to get your home dirty. Your home is not ours and that is why we strive to leave it cleaner than when we arrived. All of our equipment is cleaned before arrival. There will be CLEAN tarps laid down to protect your flooring. Most of the time our hoses will need to go around a corner and that is why we have protective foam pieces to place in between the wall and our hose. Are other companies going to do this? If not your wall may be scratched and nicked.

13. Are your shoes clean? Are the technicians going to walk through the home with dirty feet or leave their shoes on? This is something so simple but often forgotten about. Any Amistee employee that walks into your home will have a protective shoe cover on their feet. Even if you say no it is our policy to ALWAYS were shoe coverings.

As you can see there is a lot to look for in a qualified air duct cleaning company. All companies are not the same and duct cleaning can be done in a poor quality. Duct cleaning does make a difference but it has to be done the right way. If you cannot afford to get it done the right way then do not spend a low amount because it might do more harm than good. Call Amistee Air Duct Cleaning today and ask about our spring specials. Our prices are very fair and I promise after your cleaning you will see why.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Is That Smell Coming From My Ducts

One would think that the air duct system is a closed off system meaning nothing besides dirt and dust can enter it. This is not true and more times than you might think homeowners have to deal with animals entering their heating and cooling systems. Once an animal has entered your heating system it is a nice bet that they will not come out. The duct work is a maze with many drops and turns that will leave an animal lost without food or water. In Michigan there are all kinds of small critters that like to travel looking for warm places to live or possibly take a vacation to. We have found squirrels, birds, bats, chipmunks, skunks, mice, rats, ground hogs and even FROGS inside of the duct work system. If you do not believe me visit our main office in Novi, Michigan and one of our staff members will show you the pictures of all of them. We take pictures on all of our jobs and then file them into our system. Most of the time the homeowner is getting a very bad odor inside of their home and usually the ducts are the last place they think to look. Most recently Amistee Air Duct Cleaning professionals were on a job cleaning the duct work system of a two story home. When they opened up the duct system and inspected it they found a dead ground hog that was 15 inches long. The image above is what was inside of the duct system that we cleaned. Many times the smell will not start until the animal has been dead for at least 48 hours. Depending on the size of the animal it may take weeks before the smell vanishes. In this type of situation the only option is to have the air ducts cleaned and then sanitized to kill any type of virus or bacteria that may of been left in the duct work from the dead animal. If you are getting a smell from the duct work vents that you do not remember being there day prior, you might have a dead animal in your ducts. Call Amistee and we can send out one of our duct cleaning specialists to help you restore order to your indoor air.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Do My Ducts Need To Be Cleaned?????

The common question many homeowners ask themselves is "do our air ducts really need to get cleaned"? As an air duct cleaning company we see a lot of things. Since air duct cleaning is all Amistee does 6 days a weeks 52 weeks out of the year we see all sorts of duct work. Some of the duct work is 2 weeks old, some close to 100 years old and many in the middle. When someone living in any of these homes asks us the common question of "do we really need to do this" our answer is always the same, yes you do. This answer is not because it keep us busy it is because we beleive in our service 100%. The debris inside of the duct work is very different between a new home and an old home but it is still not supposed to be in your heating and cooling system. When debris settles inside of the cold air and heat ducts it will eventually release particulates into the air that you are breathing. This may be drywall dust from the sanding during a building process which will reduce your furnace efficency or pet dander from a previous pet that will increase a family members allergies. I am going to break dirty air ducts into two different catagories for you, new ducts and old ducts to try and make this easier to understand.
In the NEW DUCT WORK catagory we have a heating and cooling system that is less than 5 years old. This is a newer home that has been constructed and now is being lived in by you, the homeowner. When the home was being built one of the first things to go in was the furnace. In Michigan we have very cold winters and the builders need the warmth of a furnace to keep their workers warm and to help dry paint, plaster, drywall mud and any other projects. During this whole time air is being pulled into the duct work. 9 out of 10 times the builder is not using a filter and 9.9 ot of ten times it is a very bad filter allowing 99% of the debris and particulate to flow right through the filter. When the work on your home comes to an end and everything is cleaned, up your duct work will hold all of the dust that was in the air during the building phase waiting to release it for many years to come. Works will use the vents as a trash can as well. Many (not all) will sweep nails, molding, carpet fibers, wood flooring pieces, sawdust ciggarete buts and other debris right into the vents. When you move in to your beautiful new home and bring in your furniture you will have an excessive amount of dust for many years to come. We have seen ducts so dirty that furnaces will actually shut down from having clogged filters and blower motors. A simple air duct cleaning done by a professional will relieve any problems from dirty ductwork. Our before and after pictures will prove this to you.
In the OLD DUCT WORK catagory we have a home that is over 5 years old. The heating and cooling system has been pulling in air from the living space for 1,825 days or more. The question that you have to ask yourself is what has been in your living space during that time? Whatever has been in your living space is now in your duct work. Here are a few questions to help you understand. Have you ever had a pet? Have you ever remodeled any part of the home creating dust? Do you live on dirt road? Do you live around a lot of trees or plants producing a lot of pollen? Has anyone ever smoked in the home? Do you have old carpet that is releasing broken down carpet fibers? Is your house very dry in the winter time? Is your skin very dry? Some of these questions are obvious and others are not. Lets focus on the dry skin for a moment. Our skin as humans is naturally "shedding" and creating new skin to replace old dead skin. This is a great human feature but a bad feature for duct work. Whoever has been living in your home has been producing dead skin cells that eventually gets pulled into the duct work and will cycle through and pop back out waiting for you to inhale. Here is a great thought. If you have just bought a home, you are breathing the previous owners dead skin. Great thought huh? With all of the factors that "create dust" inside of your home, after 5 years your air duct system gets loaded down with debris reducing your furnaces efficency and providing you with poor indoor air quality.
After cleaning thousands and thousands of homes air duct systems in Michigan we have found that in both new and old duct work alike we remove an average of 25-35 pounds of debris using our powerful vacuum trucks. That debris is what you, the homeowner would be breathing without Amistee cleaning your duct work. I can not tell you exactly what the mixture of contaminents is that you are breathing but I can tell you that you are breathing very dirty air if you do not get your air ducts cleaned by a professional. To give you an answer to the title of this entry, YES if you have never had your air ducts cleaned by a professional then your air ducts do indeed need to be cleaned.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dryer Vent Awareness

According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission there are over 15,000 dryer related fires per year in the United States. This is an amount of roughly 41 mostly preventable fires each day. Amistee Air Duct cleaning performs dryer vent cleaning and we see every day why that fire rate is so high. Homeowners so commonly forget to pay attention to their venting and have it cleaned and inspected resulting in clogged lines and or improper ventilation. Some of the easiest things any homeowner should do to help prevent a dryer fire is cleaning the lint-trap after every load, keeping flammables away from the dryer, avoid over stuffing the dryer, NEVER leave your home while the dryer is on and of course have your vent inspected and cleaned ANNUALLY by a professional.
One of the services Amistee provides to our customers is dryer vent cleaning for all of our customers in Metro Detroit. In the cleaning we will make sure you have the proper air flow needed for your dryer to perform correctly and check the venting. If there is the wrong type of venting on your dryer (plastic) this could be a potential fire hazard and we will point this out to you and replace it with venting that is up to code. After making sure everything is hooked up correctly we will thoroughly clean the venting removing any buildup of lint that has collected over time. Debris collects over time and could create a kindling type situation making it very important to not avoid cleaning your dryer vent.

If you have your venting inspected every year you will reduce potential fire hazards, reduce drying time, make your dryer run more efficiently and most definitely increase the life of your dryer. If you have any questions about your dryer venting please do not put it off. Dryer vent fires are one of the most preventable fires if proper attention is paid to the venting.