It 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!