Not All Air Duct Cleaning is the Same!

Confused about air duct cleaning

Commercial & Residential Dryer Vent & Air Duct Cleaning

Are You Confused About Air Duct Cleaning?

As a matter of fact, we were confused at one time when purchasing our air duct cleaning equipment, because there’s a lot to choose from, and a big price difference. To emphasize, not all air duct cleaning is the same! In almost every service industry there are standards, but in every industry there’s persuasion about less expensive equipment that claims to do the same job. As a consumer we may not know the differences in air duct cleaning equipment, method, and techniques. Immediately, we think it’s all the same and rationalize our decision based on the cost. 

We want you to know!

Amber’s Air Duct Cleaning wants you to know our objective in writing this is not to bash another company or their equipment. We feel it’s our job to inform and educate consumers the difference in cost, equipment, and method.

Air Duct Cleaning Machines

Ram Air!

not all air duct cleaning is the same

Where it begins, is where it ends, because this is it! A powerful shop vac with a bucket, electric air compressor, a vent cover used to seal the boot of an air line/intake, and a reverse skipper ball.

The “Ram Air” air duct cleaning method and equipment raises a lot of questions. In particular, HOW ARE THE TRUNK LINES CLEANED? Trunk lines are large collection points of the HVAV system, they branch off from the plenum which is right above the furnace, and what the air lines are connected to. For the most part, your air lines will be cleaned until the system is turned back on and the contaminants from the trunk line recontaminate the air lines.

In addition, is the negative air suction strong enough to collect all contaminants it disturbs? We can give you our opinion, but we’ll let you be the judge of that. Keep in mind, not all the contaminants in the HVAC system are airborne, but when they become lose or broken up you need at least 4,000 cfm to collect them.

In conclusion, Ram Air is better than nothing and has a place in the Air Duct Cleaning Industry, but we’re not sure where that place is. Furthermore, ask yourself “Is this the air duct cleaning I’m looking for?” Most Professionals in the Air Duct Cleaning Industry think Ram Air belongs in a garbage can! It is IMPOSSIBLE TO CLEAN AN HVAC system efficiently and effectively using the Ram Air.


not all air duct cleaning is the sameOnce again, this is it! Rotobrush consist of two small electric motors that create a strong shop vac suction, 2 1/2 inch in diameter vac hose, and a brush attached at the end that goes down air lines/intakes. Unlike Ram Air, Rotobrush can be taken in the trunk lines, but struggle to clean corners and cold air pans.

In the same fashion, Rotobrush like Ram Air raises a lot of questions. Is the Rotobrush strong enough to collect all the contaminants? How does it fit in an air line with a small boot? How can it clean in hard to reach areas?

Nonetheless, to clean the trunk lines with using the Rotobrush, multiple four inch holes are cut in the duct metal to do the best job it can. In fact, we’ve been in homes that have been cleaned by the Rotobrush system and 4 to 12 holes, it just looks very bad.

All things considered, we believe Rotobrush will not get the job done correctly. Not to mention, it’s agitation is the brush spinning and the vac sucking at the same time. Once again, you need at least 4,000 cfm of negative air to collect all airborne contaminants. 

 Electric Portable Air Duct Cleaning Machines

not all air duct cleaning is the same

Now we get into talking about electric portable air duct cleaning machines. These particular machines are what we use here at Amber’s Air Duct Cleaning. These are called “The Revolutionary 220v Hypervacs.” These electric portables are the strongest in the world using 5,000 cfm of negative air suction. The objective is to apply negative air to the entire system or whichever side of the system you’re cleaning. The picture above demonstrates us cleaning both sides (Air Distribution & Intake) at the same time.

Comparatively there are other electric portable air duct cleaning machines, but the difference is the cfm of negative air suction. Although with an electric portable you are applying the “Push-Pull” method, it still needs the strength of 4,000 cfm or more. Most electric portables are unable to produce the power to clean correctly. Remember, to clean correctly means anything you agitate, becomes loose, you break loose, that’s airborne, needs to be collected.

The majority of electric portables have a pod that contains a filter system. For an example: these Hypervac 220v have a 3 stage filtration system, 1.) A nylon bag that catches larger debris, 2.) A grid cone that goes around the last filter, 3.) A HEPA filter to catch all the microscopic debris.

All in all, electric portables apply the correct method and a few have the strength to correctly clean an HVAC system. There’s another vital component that is needed, a gas air compressor. Maybe this is starting to clear up the confusion, POWER IS NEEDED! Lastly, if the “Push-Pull” method is being used there’s a bunch of other tools that are needed.

Gas Portable Air Duct Cleaning Machines

not all air duct cleaning is the same

You can’t go wrong with the power of a gas portable air duct cleaning machine! As a matter of fact, every gas portable we know of provides not only the strength needed, but gives static lift making the cleaning easier for a technician. Now, this gas portable in this picture is what we use here at Amber’s Air Duct Cleaning and it happens to be the strongest in the world made by Meyer Machines. This bad boy is the closet air duct cleaning machine to a duct truck, having a 31HP Van Guard motor.

Together with a gas air compressor, gas portables will do an amazing job. It’s definitely not a machine you can take inside a home or business, it spews carbon monoxide. This particular gas portable is not only strong enough to clean large home, but commercial building’s too. Being portable, you can position this machine around the house wherever you want.

In the final analysis, compare this bucket, bag, and machine to the Rotobrush or Ram Air, which one would you choose to clean your home with?

Duct Truck

professional air duct cleaningFinally, “Duct Trucks,” and it really doesn’t get any bigger or stronger than this! You’re literally staring at a $100,000 dollars. As well as portable air duct cleaning machines, you have different duct trucks and some are more powerful than others. 

In some cases, a duct truck may be too powerful and can compromise a cleaning pulling drywall, studs, or spin a blower in reverse till it gets stuck. Furthermore, the cfm of negative air suction from a duct truck you’ll never have a problem with not having enough power. 

Together with a gas air compressor the job should get done right the first time. Amber’s Air Duct Cleaning does not own or clean with a duct truck. This is a random picture from the internet to display what a duct truck is. There’s no arguing that a duct truck has more cfm of negative air suction than all others, but it comes with a price. There are other alternatives to have your air ducts cleaned that won’t cost as much.

Conclusion on Air Duct Machines

We could only imagine how confusing it is to understand that, “Not all air duct cleaning is not the same.” To be honest, this is in order from worst to best and it determines the cost. The more power, the bigger the price and powerful equipment isn’t cheap. It’s that old saying, “Good work isn’t cheap and cheap work isn’t good.” 

Air Duct Cleaning Method & Process

Air duct cleaning methods and process go together like peanut butter & jelly, but they’re different. According to many reliable sources the “Push-Pull” air duct cleaning method is the most efficient and effective. 

We’re not positive that there’s a method associated with the “Ram Air” or “Rotobrush” systems. These systems could be considered to be in “the point of contact” method.  However, what we do know is that they will not do the best job. 

Ultimately, the person(s) (Technician) who is performing the cleaning determines the process. The bottomline is, you can have the right equipment, maybe the best equipment and still not clean as thorough as a company that has the right equipment, but not the best.

You may be asking, “what makes them different?” That’s a great question to ask a company you’re inquiring with and if they can’t answer it, don’t hire them. There’s more to cleaning air ducts than having powerful equipment. There’s no doubt you at least need an electric portable that provides 4,000 cfm or more, gas portable, or a duct truck and this is were you need to figure out your budget. Finally, don’t waste your money by trying to save money and not get your air ducts cleaned the right way!

You can find more information by visiting the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (N.A.D.C.A) by visiting their website:

Amber’s Air Duct Cleaning services in East Lansing, Okemos, Haslett, Williamston, Mason, Holt, Dimondale, Potterville, Charlotte, Grand Ledge, Fowler, St. Johns, DeWitt, Bath, & Lansing, Michigan.