Air Duct Cleaning: Scam or Worth It?
Duct cleaning has become popular in recent years, with commercial cleaning services popping up everywhere. But is the service worth it, or is it a scam? Here’s some information to help you decide whether or not your home might benefit from having the ac cleaning ducts in your house cleaned.
Duct Cleaning Services
Professional duct cleaning services use specialized blowers, vacuums, and brushes to clean out the supply, intake, and return ducts throughout your home. Duct cleaning should also involve a thorough cleaning of the air handler, registers, grilles, fans, motors, housings, and coils of the ac cleaning
There’s no research at present proving that routine duct cleaning improves the air quality or reduces dust in your home. There is, however, evidence that dirty heating and cooling coils, motors, and air handling units can make your HVAC unit less efficient.
While duct cleaning alone doesn’t seem that necessary, there are cases where cleaning the HVAC unit and ductwork could be useful.
Floor duct with cover grate removed.
Ducts in your home may be dirty and need cleaning after remodeling.
Should I Have Ducts Cleaned?
Due to growing concerns about indoor air quality, it’s easy to convince homeowners that their ducts need cleaning. But unless ducts are really dirty, there’s no reason to clean them. The EPA takes a similar stance on the issue, recommending cleaning only if the ducts and HVAC unit are contaminated.
If done properly, duct cleaning doesn’t hurt; but it’s not something that needs to be on your regular home maintenance list. You probably don’t need to have your ducts and HVAC system cleaned unless:
Renovation: If your home has been remodeled – especially if there was asbestos abatement, lead paint removal, or significant dust – your ductwork may need to be cleaned. Ducts should be sealed off during home renovations; but if they weren’t, dangerous dust and debris may become lodged inside the ductwork.
Animals: If there’s evidence of animal infestation or nesting in your ducts or HVAC system, have the animals removed then clean the ductwork and HVAC unit.
Mold: If there is visible mold growth inside the ductwork, the ducts and HVAC system should be cleaned.
Contaminants: If noticeable debris, pet hair, odors, or other contaminants are being released into the room through the ducts after the registers have been cleaned and vacuumed; then the ducts may need to be cleaned.
Illness: If someone in your family is suffering from an unexplained allergy-related illness, and you’ve taken every other possible step to decontaminate your home, you may want to consider having your ducts cleaned to see if the HVAC system was the culprit.
Cleaning Heating and Cooling Ducts
By: Danny Lipford
Special oscillating vacuum cleaner brush being inserted into ducts for cleaning.
Oscillating vacuum cleaner brush being inserted into ducts for cleaning.
Over time dust, dirt, and other contaminants can accumulate in the ductwork of the central heating and cooling system in your home. Cleaning HVAC ducts is done by removing and cleaning the vent covers, then inserting a special oscillating vacuum cleaner brush into the ducts to dislodge and suck up the dust.
When all dust has been removed, the ducts are fogged with a disinfectant solution to kill any remaining biological contaminants. This same solution is sprayed on other surfaces that could harbor germs, such as vent grills.
The cost of duct cleaning varies widely, so make sure you get several bids. Once the system has been cleaned, be sure to install a high quality filter on the air return, and change the filter every 1-3 months.
Watch this video to find out more.