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Is HVAC Air Duct Cleaning Really Necessary?

Jul 28

Duct cleaning is a popular HVAC maintenance item that gets a lot of attention. Although it seems like a natural maintenance task, cleaning your HVAC system's air ducts may not be as beneficial as you think. Let's look at some of these issues.

  • Do ducts get dusty? Yes.
  • Is this normal? Yes.
  • Do you need to clean your ductwork regularly?

Routine HVAC Duct Cleaning is Not Required

Aside from dryer duct cleaning, which should be checked and cleaned regularly, no objective organization recommends HVAC Duct Cleaning as an important part of HVAC system maintenance.

The Environmental Protection Agency says that the "EPA doesn't recommend that air ducts are cleaned except as needed because of continuing uncertainty over the benefits of duct cleaners under most circumstances."

It states that "Duct cleaning has not been proven to prevent any health problems." Studies have not shown that dirty air ducts cause an increase in particle (e.g. dust) levels in homes. This is because most of the dirt in the air ducts sticks to the duct surfaces, and doesn't necessarily get into the living space.

Although duct cleaning can be a good idea, it is not always necessary. If done correctly, duct cleaning is possible in certain situations. For example, if your ducts have been infested by mice or other vermin. You should look out for signs of mold growth on HVAC components or in the ducts. This could be a sign that you need to clean. However, cleaning ducts that are normally dusty is not of any real benefit.

Although frightening "before" and “after” photos of ducts may be great for discount coupon photos, it is unlikely that your ducts have been in poor condition. If you have ducts that are filthy enough to warrant cleaning, it is a good idea to clean the HVAC system. (More on this later).

How is Duct Cleaning Performed?

Duct cleaning involves the use of specialized tools to move dirt through the ducts and make it more loose and airborne. Sometimes, ducts may be cut to allow for tools access. These ducts must then be sealed carefully. To remove air duct contamination, a powerful vacuum is used. This can cause more damage than good if it isn't done correctly.

What is Air Duct Contamination?

Mold, bacteria, pollen, and dust mites can all be found in air ducts. Air duct contamination can be caused by a malfunctioning HVAC system, ineffective filters, poorly installed ductwork, or moisture buildup.

If the vacuum hose/containment device isn't sealed tight and is exhausting pollutants to the outside, and if a HEPA filter system is not installed in your interior vacuum system, dirt and contaminants can be released into your home's interior. Your ducts might have service holes in them that allow you to access tools or the vacuum hose. These holes may need to be sealed properly after cleaning. You might also find that HVAC system components are damaged or not properly reinstalled.

How to minimize risk when your HVAC system is being cleaned

First, find a competent contractor. A qualified contractor can perform duct and HVAC system cleaning safely.

NADCA is the largest trade association for contractors who clean air ducts/HVAC systems. It requires that all members have at least one certified Air Systems Cleaning Specialist (ASCS). They are responsible for cleaning and restoring a customer's HVAC system in accordance with the association's guidelines and standards.

Although NADCA certification does not guarantee a trouble-free experience, it can help you to improve your chances.

The bottom line

Cleaning ducts can be a difficult sell. Cleaning your ducts seems sensible if you want to maintain good air quality for your family. It can be scary to see dirty ducts in marketing photos. Ducts should only be cleaned in extreme cases of contamination. If the HVAC system is seriously contaminated, it should be cleaned all around, not just the HVAC ducts.

It is simple to make mistakes with duct cleaning. The wrong contractor could cause more damage than good. HVAC system cleaning, including duct cleaning, is not harmful if it's done correctly by a qualified technician. However, this is only true if the HVAC system cleaning is performed correctly by a qualified technician who has received the proper equipment and training.


Duct Cleaning Miami

Miami, FL

(305) 290 3290