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Shamrock Inspection Services kills dust mites

Kelly Evertsen, Of the Record Staff

Eric Sprague is Park City’s duct-cleaning health expert.

"I’m essentially the healthy exterminator," he said. "There are so many health benefits to cleaning out your air ducts."

Sprague hasn’t always been passionate about ridding the world of dust mites. He actually used to travel the world with celebrities as vice president of operations for "Full Swing Golf," a manufacturer specializing in high-end in-home golf simulators, made for the super rich like Donald Trump and Anthony Robbins.

But, Sprague being the free spirit that he says he is also had a family and grew weary of constantly traveling with the rich and famous. He moved to Utah two and a half years ago, where he started Shamrock Inspection Services, a home inspection-service and duct-cleaning business.

Sprague grew up in Maine and graduated from the University of Utah in history. He later moved to California to be with his girlfriend now wife Yana, and bought a home California where he said the inspector "botched" his home inspection.

Sprague said he wanted a service that would pay closer attention to the details. At that time, he decided to embark on a whole new business venture.

After moving back to Utah with his family for the skiing and great scenery, Sprague went to home inspection school and started Shamrock Inspection Services. After hearing numerous complaints from clients who were tired of not knowing if their air ducts were clean and wanted better quality air in their homes, Sprague decided to turn his company into an exclusive air duct-cleaning, mattress-cleaning and other dust-mite exterminating business.

Sprague, himself, became interested in duct cleaning after he researched the serious health implications of dust mites hidden in the nooks and crannies of people’s homes.

"Dust mites and mold are the two things in a home that wreak havoc on your health," Sprague said. "Ninety percent of 10,000 homes surveyed have indoor air quality problems."

After researching statistics presented by the American Lung Association and the Massachusetts Special Legislative Commission claiming that "indoor air pollution accounts for 50 percent of all illnesses," Sprague felt he had a special mission to serve, especially since he noticed the need for a duct-cleaning service in Utah.

"I wasn’t even passionate about this when I started," he said. "But I’ve almost become over-the-top about it because I see how happy people are after I clean their ducts."

Sprague says most people are not even aware that dust-filled air ducts irritate their allergies and can cause other serious respiratory or health problems.

"People have no idea," he said. "Air-duct cleaning is the most overlooked aspect of home maintenance Oprah has had four shows on dust mites."

So just how dirty are the air ducts in your home?

Sprague says he knows the answer. While it’s difficult to see inside those hard-to-reach spaces inside a home, Sprague has the technology to extract dust mites that daily invade a home. It’s called the Rotobrush Duct Cleaning System. It has a tiny camera hooked to the end of a high-tech vacuum and brush. It captures the dust and grime on tape and cleans it up.

"I see myself more in the health industry than anything else," Sprague said, who works with many wealthy, health-conscious individuals in Park City. "Very few duct-cleaning companies use the Rotobrush equipment and camera."

Sprague said his services are especially needed in the wintertime, when people close their doors and turn on their heaters. He said while this is typically the busiest time of year for his business, people have allergies year-round and don’t really understand the cause.

He recently cleaned the ducts and air vents of a couple’s home in Liberty. The wife had been suffering from chronic coughing for years after moving into their home. They had never had central air in a home before and the wife decided maybe the air ducts were the problem. The husband, while skeptical at first, called Shamrock Inspection. After a day of cleaning and replacing the air filters in their home, the husband called Sprague and praised him for his work.

"I would like to report that since the day you cleaned the ducts and installed the premium filter, [my wife’s] coughing, sneezing and watering eyes have completely disappeared," said Dave Scadden. "If you ever want a testimonial, just ask, because the air-duct cleaning sure has helped my wife. Thank you."

Rotobrush came to the rescue for this Liberty man and woman, Sprague said.

And he said it can help all home owners in Park City. In fact, Sprague regularly cleans the air filters, dryer filters and mattresses of hotels and condominiums in Deer Valley and other areas of Park City, making them pristine clean.

"Park City is a good place for business," Sprague said. "I sell to the Wild Oats crowd."

Sprague said it is important for people to regularly clean their clothes dryer’s air ducts, as well. He said lint can often escape through a dryer’s filter and get trapped in the tube, which can shorten the circumference of a dryer duct to less than half the regular size. In 2003, the Consumer Products Safety Commission reported that there were 15,000 annual dryer vent fires, $75,000,000 in home damages and 12 deaths because of clogged dryer ducts, Sprague reports.

Sprague also cleans mattresses, which he said is another major dust mite hang-out. Most people don’t know it, but dust mites, Sprague said, leave their carcasses and feces behind, which can cause major allergies, especially where people sleep. While it may not be the loveliest thought, Sprague said it’s a reality.

"Dust mites eat dander," he said.

Shamrock Inspection servicemen vacuum these mattress mites up with special equipment and use antimicrobial sprays and disinfectants to make sure they’re really clean.

"We swab your mattress to see how much dust mite activity is there," he said. "Everything is non-toxic The antimicrobial spray will kill mold and mildew on a mattress, in a furnace and throughout the ducts."

The inspection company can also order and install custom filters for a person’s home that can regularly be cleaned by the homeowner with the use of a hose or other cleaning device each year.

"A good filter keeps the ducts clean," Sprague said. "The custom filters use electrostatic friction from the air and draws the junk to it."

Shamrock does free in-home inspections using the Rotobrush camera, which will record dust mite activity in a person’s home to show the home owner just how dirty their ducts are so they can decide whether or not to use the service.

Sprague said the average 7,000-to 8,000 square-foot home takes about two crew men one whole day to clean.

"My closing rate is 98 percent once I get into the door," he said. "I can give instant feedback for how dirty a person’s ducts are. If you don’t have the camera, how do you know they’re clean? Ducts aren’t really installed to be cleaned, that’s what’s nice about the camera and hose, so that we can look all around."

Sprague lives in Liberty with his wife, Yana, and their two daughters, Elke, 6 and Anda, 4. He says he is still a big time skier and enjoys working in Park City, ridding the town of those nasty dust mites, one home at a time.

For more information or to get a free estimate for duct cleaning, mattress cleaning or dryer duct cleaning, call Shamrock Inspection Services at 1-800-787-0260, visit http://www.shamrockinspection.com .


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