Q: I lost one of my regular customers to a competitor this past fall because I didn’t duct cleaning. I guess my customer didn’t want to use two different companies for cleaning in her home. Is duct cleaning lucrative enough that I should consider it?

                                                — Bob, Hempstead, NY

Duct cleaning opportunities

Duct cleaning can be a very lucrative add-on service to what you already offer. But like any service you offer, you have to market it effectively and if you already have a large database of customers, it may be easy to get started.

Today’s homeowners are very concerned about allergens, and this is where you come in if you begin offering duct cleaning. While cleaning the carpet and furniture aids in keeping allergen triggers low in the home, duct cleaning is also important as pollutants can build up in the duct system and enter breathing space whenever the furnace or air conditioning system is activated.

Today’s cleaning business owners need to think about all the services their customers need. You learned this the hard way. Give duct cleaning some serious consideration.

Q: I have always cleaned carpet and upholstery with regular water. Is an acid rinse really necessary?

                                                — Larry, Galena Park, TX

Many cleaners use plain hot water as a rinse agent, and claim it works just as well as an acid rinse agent. However, there are benefits to using an acid rinse agent some have not considered.

An acid rinse agent is better at removing alkaline residues during the rinse process, which means a softer textile after cleaning. Fewer residues mean better cleaning, for both carpet and furniture.

Using acid rinse agents when cleaning furniture is very important, as it helps in stabilizing dyes and also minimizes browning.

The cost of a quality rinse agent is negligible. Give it a try.

Q: I’ve been thinking of getting a thermal imagining camera for water damage jobs. Are they difficult to use?

                                                — Jesse, Lexington, KY

You can’t go wrong with a good thermal imaging (infrared) camera if you do a significant amount of water jobs. These cameras, when used in conjunction with a moisture meter, can be used to locate specific wet areas on a loss, and enable the restoration technician to direct his drying efforts more successfully.

Operating a thermal imaging camera is fairly easy, and most cameras do not require special training. However, infrared interpretation is another story. It involves the science of thermography. You should be trained in the physics of infrared and the principles of thermodynamics to use a thermal imaging camera successfully. The training is not difficult, but it is important if one is to avoid false positives and false negatives.