What I'm Seeing Now

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Fuzzy Wuzzy Wuz A Return - HVAC Return, That Is.

What can I say but fuzzy, wuzzy wuz a return - HVAC return, that is.

The home is in its 50s.  It is proudly remodeled.

There is only one HVAC return in the house.  The return is the large register(s) where indoor air is drawn back in and returns to the unit to be conditioned warmer or colder.

In older homes the grills are often decorative. 

And this house was no exception.

Not only was the grill decorative,

it was decorated!

It was so decorated with dust that the pretty filigree of the grill could not entirely be seen!

If you are wondering how long it's been since it was cleaned off I do too.

Looking inside, though, was even more frightening.

Unfortunately I could not get a photograph, but there was dust accumulation inside the return duct work that was inches thick!  Had the return duct ever been cleaned in 50 some years?

How does the song go, "Blowin' in the wind?"

Sing with me now!

 

How many times must an inspector look up at a grill
Before on it he sees no dust?
Yes, 'n' how many years must a grill have to live
Before it's cleaned as a must?
Yes, 'n' how many breaths will it take till the we know
That too many people can't breath?

The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind...

 

The answer in this house was truly blowing in the wind.  It was amazing.  And scary.
 
To wonder why it does not occur to people to have their ducts cleaned is beyond me.  Keep in mind, what is inside there isn't simply dust.  It contains living organisms!  You can't see them, but they are there.
 
That must dust inside the ducts also affects the efficiency of the system, and it's ability to move air.
 
My recommendation:  clean your ducts!  Be proactive about your health!  Clean your house of dust!  And breath easier.  I assure you, when you sell your house the home inspector will breath easier too!
 
 
 
 
 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 17 commentsJay Markanich • September 24 2014 04:24AM

Comments

Good morning Jay,

As dust causes ne to sneeze I vacuum mine every fal and then have the system cleaned and checked.

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) about 4 years ago

The nose knows Raymond.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Cleaning the registers is part of my OCD, cleaning the ducts is an annual task, it certainly does help with my husband's allergies!

Posted by Jenna Dixon, Empowers You With a Better Real Estate Experience (DRA Homes | Cobb County Real Estate ) about 4 years ago

Good morning Jay Markanich what a funny post....I want to hear you sing that song.....  where's the video showing that "return" with you singing in the background??

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) about 4 years ago

Jenna - if you are cleaning them annually you are the champ!

Barbara - sing with me...  can you do a decent Bob Dylan voice?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Good morning Jay, I've suggested cleaning ducts to buyers, but never have done it myself.  I ususally don't live in a house more than a few years.  How often should this be done?

Posted by Sybil Campbell, REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia (Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia) about 4 years ago

If you didn't have a dust allergy to start with...you would after this

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) about 4 years ago

Sorry to be vague Sybil, but when they get dirty.  We are all different as to cleaning habits.

S&D - what people's dust allergy is usually too is the mites and other living things.  There are plant allergens in the dust though.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Jay: You touched on one of my pet peeves and a 'red flag' for all of us to be aware of when showing a home to a prospective buyer.

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (Realty National) about 4 years ago

Oh that's gross!! I flip out when there's some cat hair on my return vent. It would never get that bad in my home!

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) about 4 years ago

It's one of my pet peeves too S&N.  I like to have my client stand beside me as I shine my flashlight up inside there to show them what they have!

It is pretty gross Suzanne.  Looking inside this duct was amazing!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

I don't know why people refuse to clean the filters and grills. I clean mine every 90 days at the minimum. As a matter of fact I vacuumed both return air vents two nights ago and changed the filters.

Tenants never seem to change filters even when I am sending notices to change them!

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) about 4 years ago

Not only the grill but the inside too Than.  I bet the duct running to the furnace has never been cleaned (50 years), but that is hard to tell.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

I am going to place an offer today on a home built in the 70's.  One of the first order of business is to have the ducts cleaned among other things. 

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) about 4 years ago

If they need it do it James.  They will be metal ducts which are famously leaky.  You might want to have them sealed as well as possible with aluminum tape.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

That's a lotta dust! I've seen filters that looked like that, yuck!

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 4 years ago

Jim - the kicker is that the seller replaced the filter the day of the inspection so I would "know" he takes care of it!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

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