The National Air Duct Cleaners Association recommends cleaning your air ducts every three to five years. The EPA doesn't suggest a specific timeline, but recommends doing so if you have substantial mold growth, a vermin infestation or excessive amounts of dust and debris in your system.
Frequency of cleaning depends on several factors, not the least of which is the preference of the homeowner. Some of the things that may lead a homeowner to consider more frequent cleaning include:
- Smokers in the household
- Pets that shed high amounts of hair and dander
- Water contamination or damage to the home or HVAC system
- Residents with allergies or asthma who might benefit from a reduction in the amount of indoor air pollutants in the home’s HVAC system
- After home renovations or remodeling
- Prior to occupancy of a new home.
You should consider having the air ducts in your home cleaned if:
There is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system. There are several important points to understand concerning mold detection in heating and cooling systems:
- Many sections of your heating and cooling system may not be accessible for a visible inspection, so ask the service provider to show you any mold they say exists.
- You should be aware that although a substance may look like mold, a positive determination of whether it is mold or not can be made only by an expert and may require laboratory analysis for final confirmation. For about $50, some microbiology laboratories can tell you whether a sample sent to them on a clear strip of sticky household tape is mold or simply a substance that resembles it.
- If you have insulated air ducts and the insulation gets wet or moldy it cannot be effectively cleaned and should be removed and replaced.
- If the conditions causing the mold growth in the first place are not corrected, mold growth will recur.
Ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents or insects).
Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.
Key Benefits of the Service
Indoor air quality is one concern that homeowners have when they decide to investigate air duct cleaning. Your heating and cooling system is the lungs of your home. The system takes air in and breathes air out.
Through normal occupation in a home, we generate a great deal of contaminants and air pollutants, such as dander, dust, and chemicals. These contaminants are pulled into the HVAC system and re-circulated 5 to 7 times per day, on average. Over time, this re-circulation causes a build-up of contaminants in the duct work.
Creates a cleaner living environment
Reduces allergens and irritants
Removes unpleasant smells and odors
Improves air flow efficiency
Key Drawbacks of the Service
A thorough duct cleaning removes dust and other particles from your system. Performed improperly, however, duct cleaning can do more harm than good.
If the vacuum pressure isn’t applied carefully, some of the dust that settled in the ducts will be loosened by the agitation and blown into the living space after the cleaning. (This explains the results of the Canadian study in which particle levels actually rose right after a cleaning.)
Dust being woken up and not properly removed
Damage to the seals inside the air ducts
Flexible coil-style ducts being punctured
Cleaning can damage the inside insulation
Hiring an inexperienced business