You may have seen them and not even known they were supposed to be for duct cleaning.
25 years ago the main method for professional duct cleaning was the Power Vac Truck, and there of course were always the guys we called the “hack” duct cleaners trying to pass themselves off as professionals by bolting a central vac into a van and calling it a truck-mounted vacuum.
Then there were also the guys just using a shop vac and cutting gaping holes in people trunk lines. Anyone who invested the big money into the big trucks were usually infuriated when they lost a booking to the hack duct cleaners. Not all hacks were bad, some of them meant well and still managed to do a great job they just didn’t have the capital needed to buy the big trucks and for the few guys who actually might spend all day cleaning the ducts the hard way and doing a great job you have to respect them.
Fast forward 25 years and the duct cleaning industry has exploded and unfortunately so have all the various methods for cleaning ducts. Looking on the internet you will see all kinds of Hack gimmicks, theres not just the shop vac guys anymore they graduated up to a shop vac with a spinning brush on the end, these may work ok for cleaning out portions of the vent runs and maybe even some of the main trunk lines but how on earth do you clean a main trunk line when its running through the ceiling and the drywall is covering it ( think 2 story houses) or how would you clean the A/C coils, the heat exchangers & the furnace blower?
The worst Gimmick so far has to be the clear pvc boot you put over the heating register then use a $20 reverse whip to blow back the debris , and to make matters worse some cleaning techs actually run the furnace to help push out the debris out. Wow, your customers can see the debris coming out of one vent, but again how would you clean all the hard stuff like the main trunk lines hidden behind drywall or the return air ducting in a hundred your old house?
There’s nothing wrong with being entrepreneurial and starting out on a shoestring budget, its quite commendable for those willing to try, but using hack tools to get into the duct cleaning industry hurts all the hard working highly respectable companies trying to make an honest difference it really hurts the consumer who will probably never get their ducts cleaned again and the only people who benefit are the companies making the hack tools and laughing at you for buying into it. For professional duct cleaning equipment stick to the basics, you need a good vacuum, a good compressor, some good agitation tools, some decent training and the willingness to do a good job and your set, if you can’t afford new then check out the used online websites. This way you will do yourself some good and be a positive for the duct cleaning industry which is unfortunately getting bad press from the media all because of the “HACK duct cleaner”.