They Suck!

I’m fine as frog’s hair.

Or is it, I’m fine as frog’s air?

Ever looked at the ductwork in your home and wonder what resides inside?

“It’s just crazy,” said Lane Martin, the president of Modern PURAIR®, a Kamloops air-duct cleaning company.

“We’ve developed a system where we can show the customer exactly what we got out.”

And, sometimes, it’s not pretty.

Rats, frogs, kittens, lizards, hamsters, pot, porn, diamond rings, rolled-up cash, beer bottles, rotten lunches, rodent feces and everything else under the sun — if it fits — they’ve seen.

Jeff Bazley, owner of the local Modern PURAIR® franchise, said it’s probably one of the most hilarious and interesting parts of the business.

“We had this lady, and she had some foul odours in her home,” he said, noting that, the majority of the time, it’s dust that holds and traps odours when it’s released through the air ducts, causing foul smells.

“Being her age, or I don’t know, I guess wisdom had taken the best of her. The lady had stuffed all these toilet pucks down her air ducts in every single register in her house.”

The smell that greeted the crew that entered the home was wicked.

“The house smelled like this mixture of dirt and smoke. I can’t even explain it — it smelled like some dead lilac bush,” he said.

Apparently, registers and air ducts are also a favoured hiding spot of soon-to-be separated couples.

“There’s a lot of husbands that are hiding money because they know that their wives will never put their hands down there,” Bazley said.

“It’s just one of those places that people don’t think to look or are more or less disgusted to put their hands down there.”

The company has found diamond rings, wads of rolled up cash — up to $2,800 — and expensive jewelry all stuffed inside the ducts by spouses trying to shave a little extra off their divorce settlements.

Sometimes, though, things aren’t quite as funny and require some serious gut-checking.

“We’ve found frogs and a family hamster once that had escaped,” Bazley said, adding that notifying the family of such discoveries is sometimes tough.

“A little girl was quite distraught,” he said.

“I guess it was her pet frog.”

Tyler Wright, who is contracted out by Modern PURAIR®, said it’s not uncommon for pets to be discovered inside the ducts.

“Kids’ pets get lost and they can’t find them, and the vent guy comes a couple of days later and sucks them out,” he said, noting unwanted rats and rodents are among the biggest problems they find.

“I know it’s kind of gross, but we find all sorts of rodents and gross stuff like that.”

Aside from being extremely disgusting, the debris also poses a health hazard to people breathing in the air being blown around the house.

“The biggest hazard is having rat feces in your vents and that stuff gets blown around the house,” Wright said. “They find piles and piles and piles of feces in peoples’ vents that people don’t know exist.”

Even construction workers use ducts as their own personal vestibules inside unfinished new homes.

“What we find is construction workers are eating their lunches and putting them in the holes,” he said.

“We found a half pound of chicken wings.

“It still had the hot sauce on it from the pub.”

Over the past 10 years, Wright said, as people have become more aware of the environment and the air they’re breathing, there has been growth in the indoor air-quality industry.

Over the years, Bazley said, dust, mould, mildew and other harmful chemicals and biological residue can build up inside ducts, creating a hazardous environment for people inside the home breathing in the air.

“Statistics say it’s up to 400 times worse than outdoor air because it gets recycled in your home,” he said, noting the importance of educating people about the air they’re breathing in their homes.

“There’s not one person that’s ever stepped up to the plate to educate people about the quality of their indoor air.”