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Duct Cleaning: Why it’s so important

Duct cleaning has never been shown to actually prevent health problems. However, pollutants that enter the home both from outdoors and indoor activities such as cooking, cleaning, smoking, or just moving around can cause greater exposure to contaminants than dirty air ducts. Furthermore, there is no evidence that a light amount of household dust or other particulate matter in air ducts poses any risk to your health.

The things you have to consider before cleaning:

  1. a substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system.
  2. ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents or insects).
  3. ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.

Some research suggests that cleaning heating and cooling system components (e.g., cooling coils, fans and heat exchangers) may improve the efficiency of your system, resulting in a longer operating life, as well as some energy and maintenance cost savings. Meanwhile, little evidence exists that cleaning only the ducts will improve the effectiveness of the system.

Take into account having your air ducts cleaned simply because it seems logical that air ducts will get dirty over time and should be periodically cleaned. Even if cleaning is done properly, there’s no suggests that such cleaning would be detrimental. We don’t recommend that the air ducts be cleaned routinely, but only as needed. Meanwhile, we also recommend that a fuel burning furnace, stove or fireplace have to be inspected for proper functioning and serviced (if you have them) before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you do decide to have your air ducts cleaned, take the same consumer precautions you normally would in assessing the service provider's competence and reliability.

Air Duct Cleaning:What is it?

A lot of companies are marketing products and services intended to improve the quality of your indoor air. You have probably seen an advertisement, received a coupon in the mail, or been approached directly by a company offering to clean your air ducts as a means of improving your home's indoor air quality. Unfortunately such services are not so cheap, approximately from $450 to $1,000 per heating and cooling system, depending on:

  • the services offered
  • the size of the system to be cleaned
  • system accessibility
  • climatic region
  • level of contamination

If you decide to have your heating and cooling system cleaned, it important to make sure the service provider agrees to clean all components of the system and is qualified to do so.

Including the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, condensate drain pans (drip pans), fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing, duct cleaning as a rule refers to the cleaning of different heating and cooling system components of forced air systems,

But, the installation has to be done properly. Otherwise, maintained and operated, these components may become contaminated with particles of dust, pollen or other debris. If moisture is present, the potential for microbiological growth (e.g., mold) is increased and spores from such growth may be released into the home's living space. Some of these contaminants may cause allergic reactions or other symptoms in people if they are exposed to them. If you decide to have your heating and cooling system cleaned, it is important to make sure the service provider agrees to clean all components of the system and is qualified to do so. Failure to clean a component of a contaminated system can result in re-contamination of the entire system, thus negating any potential benefits. Methods of duct cleaning vary, although standards have been established by industry associations concerned with air duct cleaning. Typically, a service provider will use specialized tools to dislodge dirt and other debris in ducts, then vacuum them out with a high-powered vacuum cleaner.

Additionally, the service provider may propose applying chemical biocides, designed to kill microbiological contaminants, to the inside of the duct work and to other system components. Likewise, some service providers may suggest applying chemical treatments (sealants or other encapsulants) to encapsulate or cover the inside surfaces of the air ducts and equipment housings because they believe it will control mold growth or prevent the release of dirt particles or fibers from ducts. Such kind of practices have yet to be fully researched and you should be convinced by the information you had found out before deciding to permit the use of biocides or chemical treatments in your air ducts. They should only be applied, if at all, after the system has been properly cleaned of all visible dust or debris.