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Power Vacs Portables or Electrical

Timothyscarpet

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Aug 29, 2018
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Chris Westerman
We used to clean air ducts with a trailer mounted power vac. Now I see lots of powerful gas powered portables and these inside the home nikro plug in units. Are they really that good? Are the days of the power vac duct cleaning over? I'm looking to purchase a new set up and just wondering if anyone has experience with these systems.
 

ACP

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Bjorn Marshall
From what ive seen u need negative air machine, air compressor and the whip hoses etc.

I'm interested in it but someone else here prob knows a lot more
 

Timothyscarpet

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Aug 29, 2018
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Chris Westerman
From what ive seen u need negative air machine, air compressor and the whip hoses etc.

I'm interested in it but someone else here prob knows a lot more
I just came across hyper vac system, the portables put out 5000 cfm of filtered air that's pretty decent plus no lugging hoses all the way from the truck. Other than the compressor air line I guess. Think I might pull the trigger on one. I keep getting calls to clean air ducts so I think it's time to grow!
 

Dadio

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May 14, 2020
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Mark
dHepa is probably good if you don't do alot of residential. They're more for Commercial duct cleaning and having multiple units is a must for larger jobs. If you are going to clean ducts you should get the power vac truck. Are you planning on protecting the equipment while cleaning? How do you do that without dumping all the dirt down in the equipment? Are you going to clean the furnace while you do the duct cleaning? Many furnaces require the removal of the fan to clean properly as there is also a secondary heat exchange coil right above the furnace fan on the new 90 percent plus furnaces. Although with the filters today many fans can just be cleaned in place without removal from the furnace to clean. Ive been behind enough roto brushers to see they aren't cleaning much and often times their machine pushes the dirt down to the main duct and they take a pic of the round pipes and say they are clean when they are not. Are you going to train a tech on furnaces, air coil cleaning, humidifier cleaning and service and air filter replacement for their type of equipment. Not all equipment is the same today . Too restrictive of a filter and you could be doing the customer a dis service and cause premature wear and failure on their system. But to answer your question, Power Vac is the only way to go for residential and light commercial. How big of an air compressor will you need? Be careful of some compressors they spew alot of oil and the air is really dirty and oily and can leave your customers ducts smelling like COMPRESSOR OIL.
 

Timothyscarpet

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Chris Westerman
To be clear when I say portables in no way am I referring to the janky rotobrush....
 

Dream Clean

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Emerson Campbell
My old company did amazing work with a nikro negative air machine, a good vacuum, and a cobra 5 duct brush. For commercial they had a 3 piece negative air machine, residential a smaller 1 piece one.

Remove and wash the vents
Vacuum inside the vents
Hook up negative air
Brush from the farthest to closest vent
Clean the blower
Clean the main line
Fog sanitizer into the system

That's what I remember of the process, I never did it much except as a helper.
 

Timothyscarpet

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Chris Westerman
I guess the question would be how much cfms of suction(at the point of hooking into the trunk) is sufficient to properly clean the runs and trunks? And how much forced air? My thoughts is 3000cfms at minimum 5000 better and no less that 175 psi of forced air at the vents should do a thorough job of cleaning. Use a brush if heavy soil or forward or reverse skip line. Use a whip in the trunks and force all debris and dust back toward the point of suction.
 

Dadio

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Mark
Its not going to be much fun with a portable. How much do hepa filters cost? You're not sucking the dirty and dirty air out of the house you are sucking into a canister and distributing the smell all through the house. 3000 cfm is adequate to clean but 10000 is better, and two hundred twenty five psi to run your agitators is alot more fun. You are correct it can be done but If I'm going to clean ductsevery day I would not use a hepa portable that you bring in the house. People do it every day and It would be just fine for an Occasional duct cleaning. Lots of people like you get those hepa's and then decide while it works on some its more of a PITA than they want. You have to make the decision but the more power the better IMO.
 
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Timothyscarpet

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Aug 29, 2018
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Chris Westerman
Its not going to be much fun with a portable. How much do hepa filters cost? You're not sucking the dirty and dirty air out of the house you are sucking into a canister and distributing the smell all through the house. 3000 cfm is adequate to clean but 10000 is better, and two hundred twenty five psi to run your agitators is alot more fun. You are correct it can be done but If I'm going to clean ductsevery day I would not use a hepa portable that you bring in the house. People do it every day and It would be just fine for an Occasional duct cleaning. Lots of people like you get those hepa's and then decide while it works on some its more of a PITA than they want. You have to make the decision but the more power the better IMO.
I'm actually going with a trailer mounted power vac, its old school but there's a new Kohler in it so it should be just fine.
 

pathfindertango

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Sep 15, 2020
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Christopher Racus
I've been in the business for 30 years now and I think I've tried it all. 95% of what I do now is all commercial, industrial, and marine.
For the most part, I use a PV for boilers, wood shop dust collectors, industrial or other areas that have good access and I don't need to run more than 100' of hose.
For marine, I use the abatement 2500IV or 4500IV machines (if there is good power) because they are the only machines that can fit in and move around inside navy and coast guard ships.
I also use these machines for most of the commercial applications.
I've settled on the Viper kits for most of the actual cleaning. Although sometimes we need to get "innovative" depending on the system. Over the years I've filled my van with lots of self-made specialty cleaning tools that save lots of time. Since June things have really slowed down because of the whole covid-19. We where going crazy busy and having "growing pains" up until that point.
I guess one good thing is that I picked up and 96 F-350 Pringle for $500 at auction so I'm happy about that. I'm marketing wood stove and chimney cleaning now along with everything else. :-
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