Alternative to Cleaning Air Ducts | Ep. 117

HVAC ductwork in an attic
Your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system needs insulation and sealing for optimal performance.
  • [1:30] The best way to apply sealer on a wooden deck
  • [7:12] Bilco tip: Maintaining your basement door
  • [9:02] Tips on leveling the surface for an above-ground pool
  • [11:09] Do you really need someone to clean and service your HVAC?
  • [13:15] Home Depot Best New Product: Ryobi One+ Electrostatic Sprayer
  • [14:44] Backyard Life Tip: Easy Flower Bed Border
  • [16:58] How to make paint on concrete last longer
  • [21:07] Simple Solution: Home-made mosquito repellant
  • [23:33] Question of the Week: What can you do about cedar siding that is bubbling and peeling?

Do you really need someone to clean and service your HVAC? That’s what our listener, Thomas, is wondering after receiving junk mail from HVAC companies.

This is a controversial subject, and while not all advertisement mail is bad, the push for ductwork service has noticeably increased over the past several years.

There is value in HVAC servicing if it’s necessary, but it is possible that this could just be a way to make money off unnecessary repairs.

Most HVAC experts say there shouldn’t be a reason to hire someone to clean your ducts. If there is actually a problem with your HVAC, such as dust or bacteria build-up, you will want to find the source of the problem to prevent future issues instead of just having it cleaned.

Another issue with hiring someone to clean your HVAC is there is no way to vacuum every area. Some places, like ducts in the wall, are impossible to reach.

Instead, make sure you vacuum your home at least once a week and make sure to clean and/or replace your air filters regularly to prevent dust from collecting in the ductwork.

Listen to the Today’s Homeowner Podcast for more home improvement tips!

Simple Solutions 

Mosquito Repellant: If you want to keep mosquitoes from ruining your evening, but you don’t want to spray pesticides all over the place, make this non-toxic mosquito repellant. Add three sprigs of fresh rosemary to an empty glass jar. Then, fill the jar three-quarters of the way with water.

Next, add 10 drops of lemon eucalyptus oil and some fresh slices of lemon and lime. Top off the mixture with a small tea candle, which should float on top. Then, light the candle.

If mosquitoes are bothering you in the garden, plant some lemon balm. The herb acts as a mosquito repellent and also helps to draw bees to pollinate your flowers. 

Watch: DIY Way to Keep Mosquitoes Away 

Garden Coffee Break— Use leftover tea leaves and coffee grounds to acidify the soil of acid-loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, gardenias and even blueberries. A light sprinkling of about one-quarter of an inch applied once a month will keep the pH of the soil on the slightly acidic side.

Question of the Week

Q: I have 23-year-old exterior cedar lap siding on my house. Three sides are okay, but due to heavy sun, the solid stain on the south side will not stay.

In the past, I have tried scraping, using an oil-based primer and then staining with a brush. I use Sikkens or Flood solid stain. Within two years, the stain will start to bubble and peel again.

I do not think I have water problems behind the cedar. However, at 23 years old, the cedar looks more dried out on the south side of my house. Any ideas?

A: Cedar can dry out and the south side usually tends to dry out because of increased exposure to the sun. This could require replacing the cedar.

Staining or priming the back of each piece of siding before installation will prevent moisture from passing through and make it last significantly longer. However, after installation, there is not much you can do about this problem.

Joe suggests power washing to get the blistered stain off and then applying a semi-transparent stain. Solid stains have more pigment, which is what blisters.

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