Everybody--those who have followed this column, at least--has heard of the need to keep chimneys clean.
I've done several columns in the past seven or so years on chimneysweeps and I've also written (Aug. 30, 1987) about the need to clean the lint out of laundry dryer ducts, primarily in apartments and condominiums.
That column resulted in a telephone calls and mail from Action Duct Cleaning Co. Inc., an Eagle Rock-based firm that claims to clean virtually any duct or device that collects dirt or lint.
Jim Patterson, the firm's estimator, said the company services industrial and commercial clients which includes the cleaning of grease exhaust systems in cafeterias and company dining rooms.
"We also do a great deal of residential work, from chimney sweeping and cleaning air conditioning condenser coils, to cleaning heating and air conditioning ducts," he said. "An exclusive on the West Coast is our Duct Sweeper, developed for use by the U.S. Navy to clean ducts in extremely tight quarters.
"It ensures maximum cleaning efficiency on ducts 15 inches or less in diameter--which includes most of the ducts in a typical house."
The Duct Sweeper consists of a cable with nylon spokes on the end. It is fed into the ducts after the registers are removed and combines scrubbing and vacuuming, Patterson said.
The firm's Betty Stradford explained why it is necessary to clean out forced-air heating/air conditioning ducts: "Over the years, these ducts collect dirt and soot, which shows up as dark streaks around the edges of the registers, dirty walls near the registers, dust and dirt blowing out onto the furniture and allergies being aggravated when the furnace is turned on."
She said the Duct Sweeper keeps the handling of the duct work itself to an absolute minimum, important because many older--pre-1974 or so--houses have asbestos duct insulation.
"As you may know, there are new laws greatly restricting the handling of asbestos insulation," Stradford said.
Another service performed by Action Duct Cleaning is scouring kitchen exhaust ducts, she said. Grease buildup is visible as black "cakey" dust and dirt clinging to walls and the duct.
"Like a chimney, when these exhaust ducts get clogged with soot, the 'bad' air backs up into the house," Stradford explained. "This air is not smoke: It is carbon monoxide, a deadly poison. If your furnace pilot light won't stay on and if you see a visible buildup of soot around the water heater, you need these ducts cleaned."
The firm, at 4442 York Blvd., Los Angeles 90041, serves Los Angeles and Orange counties. It has an office at 32946 Kelly Lane, Yucaipa, to handle the Riverside/San Bernardino areas, she said.