Household Maintenance: Cleaning Dryer Vents and HVAC Systems

Gandy Installations

Disclaimer: I was provided with duct cleaning services in exchange for a review.
As always, my opinions are my own and I pride myself on providing honest and practical reviews to fellow parents.

In the 13 years that we have lived in our house we have had our furnace ducts/furnace cleaned at least 4 times.   I distinctly remember moving in and the first thing we did, being a newly constructed home was to have the furnace ducts cleaned.  I had heard about how construction dust and debris were a common issue in a new home, so it was a top priority to me to get them cleaned out, then making it a part of our regular home maintenance routine thereafter.  After-all this is the same air that circulates throughout our home that my family is breathing.

If you search the internet you will find a multitude of articles about HVAC duct cleaning. If you know me, I am a researcher. I research large purchases and services. Especially services that require strangers coming into my home. Maybe it’s the Virgo in me, maybe it’s the “Mama Bear” coming out, maybe its because I have regretted paying for sub-par service in the past. I don’t know, I just always do my homework now.

Recently I realized we were due for a furnace and duct cleaning as well as a dryer vent cleaning.  I started to “do my homework” and found a local company, Gandy Installations that caught my eye.  They are a local family-run business servicing the Lower Mainland from Hope to Horseshoe Bay for the last 60 years.

The main reason Gandy Installations caught my eye was because of the vacuum trucks that they use for all their duct cleanings.  They use commercial-grade equipment for both residential and commercial air duct cleaning services. They have truck-mounted and truck-powered cleaning equipment that creates a heavy-duty vacuum power that proves essential for optimal cleaning results.


Gandy Installations - Duct Cleaning.

I decided to pursue Gandy for getting our duct work and dryer vents cleaned.  Gandy provided us with an email and text prior to the appointment with the name and bio of the technician that was coming to do our service, which I thought was a genuinely nice feature and is especially important for customers to know who they are letting into their home.  We received a text to say they were on route and they arrived within the scheduled time frame. After the job was complete, we received an emailed invoice after our service with a detailed explanation of what was done, any issues they came across and any recommendations they had.

The part that impressed me the most, is that despite having our HVAC system cleaned at least 4 other times (in the last 13 years) prior to Gandy coming in, they still pulled out styrofoam and wood pieces – construction debris, stuff that prior cleans should have sucked out. These items had the potential to drop and some were sitting on top of our heat exchanger, which is a huge fire risk.   They also fully inspected our system for any issues and checked our furnace outflow ability and test-fired our furnace. They even pointed out some issues they noticed with our hot water tank and thoroughly cleaned up the workspaces after themselves – leaving no trace behind.

When it came to our dryer ducts, I was also really impressed by Gandy because the last company we used, used a blower opposed to a suction system – as they shot all the lint etc out of the exterior vents and onto our back lawn. A time before that a company came in and hooked up a leaf blower to the dryer duct and blew it out – I really dont think I need to say any more on that one….

A quality HVAC duct cleaning should include supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers, heating and cooling coils, condensation pans (drip pans), fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing.


Benefits of Duct Cleaning:

  1.  It can reduce the levels of dirt, debris, and dust. So, it provides a cleaner living environment.
  2. It can reduce the level of toxins and unpleasant odours (i.e., Mold, mildew, bacteria, and germs)
  3. It can reduce symptoms of allergies and asthma. Providing for cleaner air, to help you breathe easier especially if you have pets (i.e., Pet dander, hair, fur and dust they shed) or smoke.
  4. Extends the life of your HVAC systems. A dirty system means it must work harder to push air thru the ducts. The HVAC system motor will have less wear and tear and improved airflow efficiency. Having your HVAC system maintained/cleaned periodically is much less expensive than having to replace your HVAC unit.
  5. Save on monthly utility costs. If the HVAC system is working harder due to dust/debris/rodents or toxins in the system, it will cause the unit to draw more power.
  6. ** This is the most important one for me**
    Fire Hazard – all dust can be a fire hazard as dust is flammable and a spark of energy or hot surfaces can ignite it. Every year homes catch fire because of debris that has collected in ducts. (there is an increased risk if you have an older system). With a regular quality duct cleaning, a through inspection of your HVAC system should be conducted to notify you of any potential problems/risks so that they can be caught early.

Source: Zero Reza, Todays Home Owner, Home Stars, Furnace Buying Guide


Gandy Installations - Duct Cleaning

One other area that should not get neglected is the furnace filter.  The general rule is to change a furnace filter at least once every 90 days. Depending on your lifestyle and the type of furnace filter you choose, you may want to swap it out more often. There are several different types of furnace filters. The options consist of fiberglass/synthetic filters, polyester filters, electrostatic filters, pleated filters, and HEPA filters. There are also disposable or washable filters based on the needs and requirements of your current system.

The higher the filter is rated (ie. Designed to catch more particulates) the more often it will need to be replaced.  For instance: High efficiency particulate air, or HEPA, filters provide high-end filtration by trapping up to 99% of particles 0.3 microns or larger. Even though they are excellent at eliminating indoor pollutants and create a healthier environment in your home, they can drastically reduce your system’s airflow, costing more money in energy usage, especially if not replaced frequently. Adding a change filter reminder to your calendar is a smart idea, as not changing it will do more harm than good.

Since our clean, we have noticed an increase in air flow from the furnace, the air coming from it smells cleaner (not that dusty smell), the dryer is drying faster and there is much less of a musty smell on our clothes.

I feel better knowing that this area of our house maintenance is done for the time being and our ducts are clean and clear. I feel like we are breathing cleaner air and optimizing our energy usage.  Gandy even left us with a new high-end filter for our furnace.

If you are in the market for duct cleaning, Gandy is offering Modern Mama followers a $50 coupon, off their next service.



Tina Evans

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