The responsibility of keeping a home clean and organized can often feel like an overwhelming task. Keeping up with the proper maintenance of your home is a big responsibility. With our schedules busier than ever, sometimes upkeep can become an afterthought, and air duct cleaning is frequently the lowest on the list.
Read on to find out if and how frequently your particular system should be cleaned.
What is air duct cleaning?
Generally, duct cleaning is a deep cleaning of the HVAC system within a home. Professional-grade vacuums, brushes and blowers are used to clean out intake, return, and supply ducts. There is also a thorough cleaning of the grilles, registers, fans and cooling coils. There are a lot of moving parts that are in an HVAC system, and normal wear and tear can make some pieces ineffective, driving costs up for you and your family.
Is air duct cleaning really needed in your home?
The Environmental Protection Agency provides a fantastic resource on whether duct cleaning in necessary or not – as well as reasons when duct cleaning would be critical, such as:
- Occurrence of Mold – Especially if it is visible on the sheet metal inside of the ducts or other parts of the HVAC system.
- Pest Infestation – Rodents, birds and other various insects can make their nests in your home’s air ducts.
- Clogged Ducts – Cleaning is necessary if large dust and other debris particles are coming out of the vents.
If one of the three items listed above is present in your home, there is usually a bigger underlying problem within the walls.
There is no evidence of health risks associated with dust and debris inside air vents, as air duct cleaning is a new market and there has not been enough research conducted as yet.
However, allergies, asthma, and other illnesses can be triggered from airborne dust particles. In these cases, it would be wise to move ahead with a cleaning of your ductwork. But beware, the cost of having your air ducts cleaned can range anywhere from $400 – $1000.
Again, ductwork inside of your home doesn’t really need to be cleaned unless you have a pest or rodent infestation, mold visibly growing on the sheet metal or air vents, or large particles of dust or debris coming out of the supply registers along with your cool air or heat.
In fact, the National Association of Air Duct Cleaners (NADCA) suggests that changing the filter in the HVAC system every two months will greatly reduce build-up of allergens and other particles within the ductwork and reduce the need for regular duct cleaning.
The EPA also recommends consumers be on the look-out for scams. They have put together a handy checklist for homeowners to review before moving forward with professional air duct cleaning.
- Learn as much as possible about air duct cleaning before deciding to have ducts cleaned.
- Look for other sources of indoor air pollution if you feel that there is an indoor air quality problem in your home.
- Get multiple estimates from as many service providers as reasonable.
- Check references, review sites, and other consumer feedback.
- Make sure that your service provider gives you complete answers to all your questions, and any guarantees estimates in writing.
- Make sure that there are yearly inspections of your heating and cooling system, regular filter changes, and take steps to prevent moisture contamination.
Air Duct cleaning extends the life of your heating and air systems, though regular maintenance can reduce the need. When air moves easily through the vents and filters, your appliances do not have to work as hard to keep you comfortable.