Is Cleaning the Air Ducts in Your Home Necessary? - Quicken Loans Zing BlogIt wasn’t until we moved into our new home that we learned that you could have your home’s air ducts professionally cleaned! Who knew? I seriously thought you could just use your vacuum cleaner to do this type of job. I know… I have much to learn about homeownership – and life, in general. But anytime there’s a chance to pay someone to do house work, I’m in!

This was actually recommended by our real estate agent and the home inspector, because our home is a flipped home that was recently completely renovated. So, there were LOTS of dust and debris in the HVAC system and ducts.

But, before you pick up the phone to schedule a professional visit, make sure you do a bit of research. You may not have to clean your home’s air ducts at all, or at least you may find that it’s not as urgent as you thought it was.

Some people are under the impression that they MUST get their home’s air ducts professionally cleaned to help reduce allergies and improve their HVAC system’s efficacy. While doing this type of cleaning may help, there really isn’t scientific evidence to prove it. According, to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), duct cleaning has never been shown to actually prevent health problems. Studies also fail to conclusively demonstrate that dust levels in homes increase because of dirty air ducts. In fact, dirt and other pollutants can enter your home from outdoor cooking, cleaning, smoking, etc. So, in other words, you’ll always have at least some dust/dirt in your home’s ducts. (I know. Gross!)

“Ok. So does this mean I don’t have to do this? Ever?”

Not quite true.  You could pay someone to get your home’s air ducts cleaned if it gives you peace of mind. However, you should definitely do it if you’re in one of the following situations:

  • There’s visible mold growth inside ducts or other HVAC components.
  • There are excessive amounts of dust or dirt. This could happen after having remodeling work done, like in our situation, for example.
  • There are insects or other small animals calling your air ducts their home. If this is the case, you may have to call an exterminator as well.

“What about cleaning air ducts to increase the HVAC efficacy? Is this true?”

Well, according to some homeowners’ anecdotal experiences and the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), air duct cleaning does help. Some people have seen a “significant improvement in air flow and air quality” after having their air ducts and HVAC components cleaned, reducing their energy bills. The NADCA recommends cleaning them every three to five years to maximize your HVAC system’s life.

Things to Consider When Choosing an Air Duct Cleaning Service Provider

According to the EPA website, here are the things your service provider should do when cleaning your home’s ducts:

  • Open access ports or doors to allow the entire system to be cleaned and inspected.
  • Inspect the system before cleaning to be sure that there are no asbestos-containing materials in the HVAC system. If asbestos is present, a special cleaning must be done.
  • Use HEPA (high-efficiency particle air) vacuuming equipment if the vacuum exhausts inside the home. Otherwise, use equipment that exhausts outside of the home.
  • Protect carpet and furnishing during cleaning.
  • Use well-controlled brushing of duct surfaces in conjunction with contact vacuum cleaning.
  • Use only soft-bristled brushes for fiberglass duct board and sheet metal ducts internally lined with fiberglass.
  • Take care to protect ductwork, including sealing and re-insulating any access holes so they’re airtight.
  • Follow NADCA’s standards for air duct cleaning and NAIMA’s recommended practice for ducts containing fiberglass or constructed of fiberglass duct board.

Have you had air duct cleaning done to your home? Let us know if you recommend it!


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This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. Hi we recently bought a used mobileho
    E. I was looking in the airvents and there is lots of dirt and things that can fall in airvents, i was comsidering proffessional cleaning and was reading information both for and against. I don’t see any mold or creatures but they did have mice under the dishwasher. I think the long trip got ridd of them. Any comments will be welcome.

  2. professional cleaners provide you good quality service and also they gives you discount. this is nice information..!

  3. Duct cleaning is not needed nearly as often as service providers say. It is a good service if they become contaminated but a properly maintained system should not need it often if ever.

  4. I agree with you that the air duct cleaning is necessary for every home. I think we should hire professionals for it because they can provide us better services at affordable prices.

  5. Thank you for sharing the importance of duct cleaning. Some air ducts require professional cleaning while others do not. This can increase the quality of air in our homes and reduce allergies. Like you said, we should inspect the system before cleaning to be sure that there are no asbestos-containing materials in the HVAC system. I have not checked my air ducts recently so this has been a great reminder. Thanks again!

  6. Interesting post. You have written this post like pro. Cheers for that! & of course NADCA certification is quite important while choosing your air duct cleaners. Especially last few tips on cleaning air duct are truly useful. We will share this easy-to-understand post with our readers too. Keep the good work up. Quite liked this post. Honestly 🙂

  7. I would recommend to anyone moving into a new home to have your air ducts cleaned by a professional before you move in. As mentioned in the above comments, there could be anything from animal hair, to actual dead animals! Although it is possible to ‘do it yourself’, professionals like Infinite air cleaning will make sure the job is done properly, and to a standard that can help to reduce your energy bill.

  8. Air ducts are cleaned and properly cared for on a regular basis, it is one important part of maintaining a clean air conditioning and heating system is making sure the filter is regularly changed.

  9. It is extremely important as it will not only save you money on your electricity bill but also keep the air clean from things like dust and dirt, which is bad for your health.

  10. You should definitely get your air ducts cleaned, think of the health issues that could evolve because mold or something got in there.

  11. I read your article with interest and think it is a good start. One service that is always talked about is fogging ductwork for sanitizing. Many companies offer this service for dis-infecting or adding a clean smell to the ductwork. Before any chemical or dis-infectant is used-please read the MSDS(Material Safety Data Sheet). You might be surprise on what you are putting into the air stream. This is a high proft service and should be explored thoroughly before purchasing.

  12. Thank you for your posting.
    We are trying to educate people about the importance of air duct cleaning in Atlanta GA.

  13. You do it yourself or hire a professional but it is important to clean the Air Duct. I have once seen dead animals in there and that is grouse!!
    Great article Gabriela!

  14. I just had the ducts in my parents’ old house cleaned and ran into the same problem as Tommi. It was probably still worth the repainting to get 30 years worth of cat hair and other crud out of there, though.

  15. It’s always a good idea to have the ducts cleaned when you first move into a new home. You mentioned mold and dust but there’s also animal hair and other things the previous owners might have had in the house. When we moved into our house and had someone come over they discovered that all the ducts hadn’t been sealed and matched up properly, which meant two rooms in the house weren’t getting proper heat or cold when either the heat or AC was turned on. That was worth the less than $100 we paid to have it done.

  16. This duct cleaning is fine and dandy unless you live in an older home or in a home whose previous owners painted over the duct covers. The cleaning service will say, “Oh, I’ll just run a razor knife around the duct cover, it’ll be fine” and then you will be left with duct covers that are decorated with cracked chunks of paint. The older the house, the thicker the chunks. Seventy-some years of dirt and dust probably made the cleaning of the ductwork a good thing……but cosmetically, it was a disaster.

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