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St Louis BBB Warns Consumers To Be Wary Of Air Care, Duct Cleaning Firm

St. Louis, Mo., April 23, 2013 – The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommends that consumers use caution when dealing with Air Care and Show Me Air Duct and Carpet Cleaning, two new St. Louis area businesses tied to Noach Palatnik.

Palatnik is the former owner of US Air Ducts and president of Pure Air, both companies with dozens of customer complaints with the BBB.

The BBB has received several reports in recent weeks from consumers who said they received automated “robo” phone calls from Air Care offering air duct cleaning specials at prices ranging from $30 to $59.95. Consumers who hired the firm said technicians charged them for additional work once they arrived at their homes.

“It was not a good experience,” an 82-year-old Maryland Heights woman told the BBB after Air Care charged her more than $1,000 last month for what she thought was a $59 service call.

US Air Ducts, which has also used the name US Air Duct, has logged more than 60 BBB complaints; Pure Air has been the focus of more than 30 complaints.

Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO, said Palatnik’s involvement in the new companies is reason for concern. “Mr. Palatnik has a troubling history with consumers and the BBB,” Corey said. “Consumers say US Air Ducts and Pure Air have used bait-and-switch promotions. There is no reason to believe these new companies will be any different.”

Palatnik, also known as Israel Palatnik or Aselector Palatnik, first came to the BBB’s  attention in 2011 as owner and president of US Air Ducts.  US Air Ducts reported an address on Kingsland Avenue in University City.

In November 2011, the BBB issued a news warning about US Air Ducts, noting that consumers complained they were lured by advertising flyers promising $49 air duct cleaning only to be hit with bills of $1,800 and more.

Shortly after that warning, Yogev Buskila told the BBB he had purchased the equipment and business of US Air Ducts from Palatnik. Buskila said he had set up a new, independent duct cleaning firm called Pure Air. Within weeks, customers of Pure Air began complaining of bait-and-switch marketing tactics similar to those alleged by customers of US Air Ducts.

Even though Buskila claimed that Palatnik was no longer involved with Pure Air, Missouri secretary of state records show Palatnik as the current president of Pure Air.

Buskila told the BBB earlier this month that he did not know why Palatnik is listed on the documents. “I am the owner of Pure Air,” he said.

In February, Palatnik registered Air Care as a fictitious name with the secretary of state, indicating that business was owned by Pure Air. Both companies list addresses on Tulane Avenue in University City. Buskila told the BBB he was not aware of any company called Air Care. In January of this year, Palatnik registered Show Me Air Duct and Carpet Cleaning at the same Tulane Avenue address.

The BBB has been unable to reach Palatnik despite repeated attempts.  A woman who first answered the phone at the Air Care phone number said that no one named Palatnik or Buskila worked for the business. But several days later, when a BBB investigator called the number again, another woman said that Palatnik was not available.  That woman said she did not know why anyone would say Palatnik did not work there.

Customer billing forms for US Air Ducts, Pure Air and Air Care are all strikingly similar, with virtually identical wording.

The Maryland Heights woman said she was stunned when an Air Care worker handed her a bill for $1,043. She said there had been no previous discussion about any charges above the $59 fee. “He knew I was upset,” she said of the technician.

An Air Care customer from Crestwood, also 82, said she also agreed to the $59 Air Care special, but ultimately was charged $135 for what workers said was additional cleaning.

She said her son noticed later that her dryer vent, which was supposed to have been included in the cleaning, was “loaded with dirt” after the workers left.  “They hadn’t even touched it,” she said.

She also was suspicious when the workers declined repeated requests to give her a business address.

Since Air Care came to her home, she has received several automated calls from the same company.

BBBs in St. Louis and across the nation have issued numerous news alerts on duct-cleaning companies.  Law enforcement agencies have sued some firms for defrauding consumers.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency urges consumers to be wary of any company that makes sweeping promises that air duct cleaning will improve residents’ health. The EPA suggests cleaning in cases where there is visible mold growth, vermin infestation or if the ducts are clogged with excessive dust and debris. It also says that homeowners need to fully understand the pros and cons of using chemical treatments

The BBB offers the following tips for consumers looking to hire a duct-cleaning firm:

 

  • Deal only with reputable companies, preferably businesses in your area with a good track record. Ask for references from homeowners in your neighborhood. Always contact the BBB for a Business Review by going to www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.
  • Beware of advertising offers for air duct cleaning at extremely low prices. Often, businesses use these promotions to get an appointment and then try to sell additional services once they get inside your home.
  • If a company discovers a potential problem in your furnace or ducts, do not be pressured into paying for additional services until you have contacted a heating and air conditioning professional for a second opinion. While the second company may charge you for a service call to check out the problem, the call may save you money if no service is needed.
  • Try to have a friend or family member with you during a scheduled appointment with a salesman or service technician. If that is not possible and you feel threatened or intimidated during the visit, ask the person or persons to leave your home immediately. If they refuse or hesitate, call police.

 

 

The BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior.  The BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Reviews of more than 4 million companies, 11,000 Charity Reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust.  Please visit www.bbb.org for more information.

Read more: http://interact.stltoday.com/pr/business/PR042313103612654#ixzz2RVyHZhBD

 

RCS provides NADCA trained and certified duct cleaning services for St Louis and Southern Illinois.

Honest UPFRONT pricing with 15+ years of experience , means you get what you pay for, a through cleaning meeting or exceeding NADCA standards.

The NADCA Guide to Proper HVAC System Cleaning

 

This time of year the money mailers and coupons are everywhere, the most important thing you can do is to compare the SERVICE not the price.

 

Cleaning your homes hvac system includes more than just the ducts. To completely clean and treat the entire system this is what should be cleaned:

Vent covers, duct work, furnace fan and fan compartment, air conditioning coil, coil compartment and drain pan, lower heat exchanger compartment.

 

This is everything air will pass through in your homes ventilation system. Some companies claim to “clean” or “air wash” the fan or blower in place……this is not good enough if you want to stop air borne particulate, removal, washing and re assembly is the correct way to ensure proper cleaning.

 

Now that you know the proper items to be cleaned we will cover the proper tools of the trade. There are specialized tools just for duct cleaning contractors these do not include:

Carpet cleaning machines, home center shop vacs, attachments for truck powered carpet cleaning machines, leaf  blowers or suckers etc.

They should include HEPA filtered vacuums, large HEPA filtered vacuums to capture the dirt or a truck powered vacuum, agitation devices powered by compressed air or brushes. The goal is to agitate the dirt and debris and capture it.

 

Complete cleaning also needs to have inspection, the company performing the cleaning should have access openings for inspection and cleaning. If a contractor says “we don’t cut into your duct work” this is most likely the wrong contractor for the job. Access openings are necessary for vacuum attachment, insertion of cleaning tools, and inspection.

 

Remember you want trained specialists working on your expensive furnace and duct system, proper training and knowledge take time to develop and to perfect.

RCS spends a considerable amount of money on training and state of the art tools to  ensure a quality job every time.

RCS is one of only a few companies statewide with a powerful gas powered vacuum truck to perform the cleaning. Equipment makes a difference and we can prove it!

RCS provides ventilation cleaning services to Missouri and southern Illinois customers. NADCA trained and certified technicians ensure that standards are being followed and met.

 

 

www.rcsstl.com

www.ductcleanstl.com

Has Duct Cleaning Been Recommended To You?

 

Where do you start? How do you hire the best contractor? Duct cleaning is not as simple as most carpet cleaning, window cleaning etc companies would lead you to believe. It takes a true specialist with proper training, education, and equipment.

 

 

 

You first starting place should be NADCA the national air duct cleaners association. They set the standards, provide education and certify companies. This alone will not guarantee a proper cleaning job.

Consult with your neighbors and friends to see who they used, and where they happy with the job performed. Many sites have contractor reviews: angie’s list, service magic, google places, yahoo, BBB etc. Read the comments left by customers.

 

I highly recommend using a contractor that only performs duct cleaning, remember you want a specialist working on your expensive heating and cooling system.

 

Ask the proper questions, who will come to my home? A sub-contractor? Are they capable of cleaning the entire air handling system?

A complete and thorough cleaning to help asthma and allergy suffers should include cleaning of the supply and return air  duct work interior , vent covers, washing of the fan and fan compartment, washing of the air conditioning coil and coil compartment.

By cleaning all of these components you have cleaned everything that air passes through in your HVAC system.

Experience plays a big part in the quality of service, how long have your technicians been cleaning air ducts?

 

 

vacuum truck

Powerful vacuum truck provides the suction for cleaning.

 

 

What type of equipment do they use? “Negative air” (under suction)  cleaning systems are considered industry standard for duct cleaning.

Roto brush, shop vacuums and carpet cleaning equipment will not provide a thorough cleaning job.

 

 

 

 

Last but not least don’t expect a thorough and professional job for $49.99!  Do you think a company can spend an entire day at your home for that? Through takes time, an average duct cleaning for a 1000 square foot home is about $400.

This may not include the furnace cleaning. Time will range from 4 hours to 6 hours or more depending on the access and dirt load.

 

RCS Air Duct Cleaning has invested thousands of dollars into training, tools and technology. This is the ONLY service we provide, and we are experts in what it takes to be done properly. Contact Us for a free estimate.

RCS Restores Air Systems in Wilson School After Fire

RCS duct cleaning technician in action.

RCS air duct cleaning technician in action.

 

 

 

On March 29th at 2am a  fire damaged a historic building of The Wilson School, a private school on DeMun Avenue.

The most significant damage was to the older portion of the school, a building that dates to 1916 and is the work of noted architect William B. Ittner.

The building was there nearly 50 years before The Wilson School moved in in 1960.

The school sustained heavy smoke and water damage, the demolition and cleaning are complete now its time for reconstruction.

 

 

 

RCS Air Duct Cleaning was called to clean and restore the remaining 7  HVAC systems in the damaged areas. These ranged from heavy smoke smell to almost none. In order to ensure the most thorough and complete cleaning and deodorization, RCS used its 20+ years of knowledge of fire and smoke damage restoration.

RCS cleaned the remaining furnaces, fans,air conditioning coils and ducts. There was a large make up air system with a desiccant wheel cleaned as well. The make up air system was wet cleaned by hand, crawling through and wiping the interior of the duct with cleaner and smoke odor counteractant.

RCS has proprietary techniques to ensure that the HVAC system won’t smell when its put back into service. Our specialized techniques  save the insurance company money by cleaning and deodorizing instead of costly removal and replacement of HVAC systems

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