Cleaning out your ducts can help clean out your sinuses

By Susan Gibbs

Spring has sprung, and many Greene County residents are coping with allergies.

One in five are probably sneezing, wheezing, are suffering from nasal congestion, coughing, itchy, watery eyes, runny noses, itchy throats and skin, stomach aches, hives, fatigue, or irritability.

The cause could be pollen – or it could be mold.

Mold and mold spores are in the environment year-round, indoors and out.

Molds feed off decomposing plant and animal matter and grow by producing filament-like clusters. Mold and fungi reproduce by giving off huge numbers of mold spores into the air, similar to plants releasing pollen.

It’s the mold spores that trigger allergic reactions. Mold allergy symptoms may grow more severe with each successive allergen exposure. Like stacking blocks, one too many blocks causes the whole stack to topple triggering an allergy flare-up.

Mold and mildew growth is obvious when it grows in bathrooms along places like tile grout in shower stalls. But it’s not so obvious when it grows – along with dirt, bugs, mites and other stuff – in the ducts in your home.

Most homeowners don’t realize that the air they breathe indoors is usually more polluted that the air outside. Homes – especially newer homes – are built so tight that once pollutants come inside, they can’t get out. Nor do most homeowners realize that their air conditioning and heating systems are a primary source of allergens throughout the year.

A cleaning and checkup of those systems will reduce the growth of stuff and keep the air inside their homes cleaner – and healthier.

The time couldn’t be better to have a Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) participating contractor get rid of all that stuff – and the only one in the county is Mack Morris Heating & Air Conditioning in Ruckersville.

Allow me to explain.

In the fall of 2009 the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County jointly applied for and won a competitive grant to fund a community-based energy efficiency organization, and LEAP was born. In 2010 it began directing home energy efficiency upgrades by launching its ENERGY STAR program, which partners people with contractors that it investigated and pre-qualified for its residential programs.

Those select contractors were then required to sign a contract which stipulates the insurance they are required to carry, customer service expectations, and references.

According to LEAP’s Web site, those selected contractors are branded as: Building Performance Institute Certified Building Analysts/Home Assessors; Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Contractors; and Better Basics.

In Greene County, Ruckersville’s Mack Morris Heating & Air Conditioning is the only firm LEAP currently lists in any of those categories.

And, to boot, Mack Morris is listed in all three.

What that means is that you can depend on Mack Morris to do a good job cleaning out your ducts.

The company employs a Total Source Removal cleaning process that enables homeowners to see all the dirt and debris removed from their system, and, via the use of remote video inspection cameras, to see how clean the system is when the work has been completed.

But that’s hardly all Mack Morris does.

The firm offers a free home assessment that tests its energy efficiency, using ENERGY STAR’s Home Performance Program.  It makes solid recommendations to guide decisions, which might include upgrades to insulation or air sealing in specific weak spots uncovered in the home. And, last but certainly not least, because it is in partnership with LEAP, some of the work done will qualify for instant cash rebates and financing opportunities.

For example, a blower door test – which will allow a technician to pinpoint nearly all the air leaks in your home — will earn a rebate that makes it, for a limited time, essentially free.

That’s a great deal, as the majority of homes consume 30 percent to 50 percent more energy than necessary and the test can help homeowners beat that cost.

To learn more about other services offered by Mack Morris, and other current financial rewards and opportunities, visit or call (434) 979-7129.

Posted in: Editorials

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